By Sebastine Obasi
MICRO, small and medium enterprises, M/SMEs in the country who have been complaining of inadequate electricity to run their businesses may soon heave a sigh of relief as the Bank of Industry, BoI, has launched a N1 billion solar energy fund for them.
The Acting Managing Director of BoI, Waheed Olagunju, said that for Nigeria to achieve sustainable and inclusive development, there is an urgent need to, substantially increase the supply of modern and affordable energy services from sources that are cost effective, accessible and environmentally friendly.
He stated: “A robust mix of energy sources combined with an improved end-use efficiency would be required to meet the country’s energy needs, and this is where the utilization of renewable energy sources come into play.
“Renewable energy provide healthy and sustainable alternative to the continuous use of fossil fuels, with long term cost saving advantages, especially in the absence of reliable power supply which is an essential ingredient for growth.
“It is therefore important to support the provision of sustainable and reliable energy for MSMEs, which is why the Bank of Industry has decided to provide the Solar Energy Fund to MSMEs.
The Bank is already playing an active role in lighting up and powering Nigeria through the provision of solar energy solutions for rural communities, having successfully deployed solar solutions worth N240 million to six (6) off-grid communities, one (1) each in Niger, Osun, Gombe, Anambra, Edo and Kaduna States, under its pilot scheme,” he said.
Olagunju said the N1.0 billion solar energy fund comes with interest rate of 7.0 percent under flexible terms and conditions.
“This also explains why BOI is able to partner with UNDP under which we are able to access increased level of financial support that peaked at $1.2 million USD last year. Blending the grant with BOI’s debt financing enables us to charge low interest rate,” he added.