The Federal Government has assured that before the end of 2021, about twenty-five million (25m) Nigerians will benefit from its flagship programme, Solar Naija, an initiative designed to connect 5 million homes to solar energy.
The Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy Agba, OFR, gave the assurances on Tuesday while delivering a keynote address during the UK-Nigeria Energy Transition Council Dialogue which held virtually.
Agba who convened the dialogue on behalf of the government to provide updates on the government’s priorities and efforts in resolving electricity challenges in the country to broader partners said that the country is currently at a turning point.
He maintained that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is making giant steps and is committed to undertaking the necessary reforms to make the energy market more competitive.
According to him, “this government is prioritizing private investments and is committed to creating an environment that allows the private sector to invest and achieve commercial returns while focusing on implementing plans and reforms that accelerate the pace of electrification and economic growth”.
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The Minister said that the country was looking forward to actions that will allow the government to present solutions to technical, economic and social aspects of an energy transition to low cost, low carbon, inclusive and resilient power systems especially in view of the forthcoming COP26.
While welcoming the continued support and technical assistance from development partners on plans, policies and regulations that boost investors’ confidence, he said that “we are going to industrialize and hence, technology transfer and capacity building is also a priority for the government”.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency, REA, Engr. Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad said that the Solar Naija Programme will create about 250, 000 jobs in the energy sector.
Ahmad who made the lead presentation themed “Opportunities for decentralized energy solutions in Nigeria including subsidies, data, regulatory arrangements”, said that the government was committed to increasing Nigerian access to sustainable energy.
He said that “the Solar Naija initiative will not only create about 250,000 jobs, increase energy access through 5 million new solar connections but will increase local content in off-grid solar value chain”.
The Managing Director added that “so far, a total of 10 Megawatts has been installed with an average installed capacity per off-grid consumer pegged at 40w and over 10,000 mini-grid connections have been added”.
The Deputy High Commissioner, United Kingdom, Ben Llewellyn-Jones in his closing remarks said that he has identified key areas of challenges and will work with the Nigerian government to address them with a view to improving electricity in the country.
He thanked the Minister for his continued support and leadership throughout the programme.