A plan by the Federal Government to deliver electricity to about 25m Nigerians whose communities are not connected to the national grid has commenced in Jigawa State.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who performed the official launching of 100,000 Solar Home System in Jangefe community, Kazuare Emirate, Jigawa State said the project was part of a 100,000 scheme with A-SOLAR, a local solar power company implementing aspects of the ESP Solar Power Naija scheme.
He said the initiative handled by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) Limited, was part of the determination by the Buhari administration to ensure that millions more would have access to cheap and environmentally-friendly renewable power.
Coming under the Economic Sustainability Plan, Osinbajo said the launch of the Solar Power Naija programme is taking off with the Jangefe Community in Roni Local Government Area (in the Kazaure Emirate) of the State and would get to all geopolitical zones in the country soon.
The plan commenced with the flag off of the initial 5m homes with solar system.
“After Jangefe the rollout will continue across the six geopolitical zones in the country, including Edo, Lagos, Adamawa, Anambra, Kebbi and Plateau. Other Solar companies are also in the pipeline for the Solar Power Naija facility to continue the march to 5 million connections during the life of this administration,” the VP said.
The scheme, he said, would then go to the entire 36 States of thd Federation and the FCT covering 25million Nigerians in the end.
The Vice President noted that the “President had emphasised that we could no longer rely solely on the grid if we were to electrify the whole country, which means we had to develop an effective strategy for decentralizing power supply.
“Two obvious things to do were, first to think of implementing more off-grid solutions and to use renewable energy especially solar power.”
The VP described the NDPHC as a catalyst in the process of connecting communities across the country through the off-grid systems, adding that the government was determined to bring power to the un-served communities as part of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He said the project to provide power to the households would be financed under a N140 billion finance programme supported by private developers and would be paid for by the beneficiaries.
Although COVID-19 came to the country as a challenge, he said the government turned it into an opportunity to develop the infrastructure required to respond to it through ths Economic Sustainability Plan.
“The President’s vision around that plan was that rather than have situations where people lose jobs and opportunities, we could take the opportunities of COVID-19 to create more jobs. We could take the opportunities of the economic fallout to create more opportunities for the Nigerian people.
“So the President approved that we should do these five million solar home connections across the country which would mean that 25 million Nigerians would have power. “But not just that, there will be jobs around those who will manufacture, those who will assemble the solar systems, those who will install them will have jobs, those who will maintain them will have jobs and those who will also supply the payment systems and maintain the payment systems will also have jobs”, he said.
The partnership with the private sector driving the connections, he said, would be supported by concessionaire lending by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks.
The VP noted that structures have been put in place to make the connections costs affordable for all.
“In addition to the concessionary lending rates, the Government has provided subsidies and rebates for private developers to the tune of over $200 million under the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and World Bank Nigeria Electrification Programme. The programme incorporates several innovative solutions to increase affordability for the citizens while also providing sufficient comfort to investors and financiers alike,” he stated.
The Minister of Power, Sale Mamman said the programme when fully implemented will generate additional N7billion in tax revenue per annum and $10 million in annual import substitutions.
Mamman said the Ministry would supervise the programme and would ensure the expansion of off-grid connections across the country.
On his part, the Governor Baderu Abubakar thanked President Buhari for choosing the state as the starting point of the programme, and pledged the support of the state government in ensuring its success.
The Managing Director/CEO, NDPHC, Chiedu Ugbo said the company had already provided 20,000 units of solar home systems to households across the country.
“Those 20,000 are working as we speak and then the government asked us to do another five million solar connections, that will include solar home systems and mini-grid, off-grid solutions”, he added.
He said the 100,000 solar home systems launch is the second phase of NDPHC’s beyond the grid project.
The Executive Director, Generation, NDPHC, Kassim Abdullahi described the event as an important milestone in the Buhari’s administration’s quest to ensure all Nigerians have access to electricity.
Abdullahi disclosed that about 1000 units would be deployed in the Jangefe community, which is the pilot community for this phase.
The Solar Power Naija programme which is designed by the Rural Electrification Agency is an ambitious initiative that aims to create 5 million connections through a N140 billion financing programme that would support private developers to provide power for 5 million households, which means providing electricity for up to 25 million Nigerians.
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