The Federal Government said in Abuja yesterday that rural areas across Nigeria are currently being electrified with a loan of $550 million from the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB).
The Rural Electrification Agency is in charge of implementing the money, which is part of the Nigeria Electrification Projects (NEP) and targets underserved and unserved communities (REA).
Approximately 267 agreements totaling $395 million have already been assigned for the deployment of renewable electricity, according to REA, which also noted that $350 million of the loan came from the World Bank and $200 million from the AfDB.
In a briefing, the agency said that $64.8 million of the pledges had already been paid out to project partners in the private sector.
According to Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, managing director of REA, the plan would provide off-grid dependable and clean electricity supply to 705,000 households, 90,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises, 100 isolation and treatment centers, and 400 primary healthcare centers in unserved and underserved areas of the country.
Ahmad stated: “Now government money is used as an enabler to attract private investment. For instance, for the rural electrification fund, you have a capital subsidy where if a project costs N100 million, that subsidy will come in at may be 50-60 per cent and the private developer will come up with the rest of the money, deliver the service to the community and go into an agreement with the community for the rest of the money.”
“What we are used to doing is, every year, we wait and get government’s money from the budget, go to the site and then implement the projects. However, if you are to do this for the next 100 years, you will not be able to meet those targets. Hence, it became important for the agency to ensure that its mandate does end at implementation.”
According to him, REA became a hub and facilitator for the Rural Electrification Fund, a private sector-driven effort, to ensure that money comes from various sources so that it can carry out its goal.
The Nigeria Electrification Project has five components, according to Anita Otubu, head of the project management unit, including a solar hybrid mini-grid ($213 million), standalone solar home systems ($75 million), an energizing education program ($250 million), energy-efficient equipment and productive use of appliances ($20 million), and technical assistance ($37 million).
She claimed that 67 mini-grids had been finished, and that 1,151 jobs and 995,396 solar household systems had been installed.