….Targets 5m connections
….Says 25m Nigerians to benefit
…Expects N7bn annual revenue
By Chris Ochayi
The Federal Government has said that the Solar Power Naija scheme was targeted at providing five million connections that will benefit 25 million Nigerians and expected to create 250,000 jobs.
It also said the roll out of five million new solar power connections in off-grid communities will generate an additional N7 billion n in tax revenues annually to Nigeria.
Under this programme, developers can access funds as low as five per cent interest rate.”
The Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency, REA,, Ahmad Salihijo, whose agency is saddled with the responsibility of implementing the scheme disclosed this in Abuja at press briefing to formally launch the program.
Salihijo said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the Economic Sustainability Plan, ESP, to combat effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the solar scheme was part of the package.
According to him, “The Solar Power Naija will address the issue of access to financing through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for pre-qualified private companies.”
He added this could create 250,000 jobs while reducing greenhouse gas emission by 20 per cent by 2030.
Salihijo said further that the solar connection scheme would expand energy access to 25 million individuals through the provision of Solar Home Systems or connection to a mini-grid.
Salihijo said the initiative would also help address the challenge of access to affordable finance through a Central Bank of Nigeria facility
He said the facility would make low-cost local currency debt available to qualified companies, adding that the programme would increase local content in the off-grid solar value chain and facilitate the growth of the local manufacturing and assembly industry.
“Private companies will be supported to employ more Nigerians to be able to provide services in the area of manufacturing, distribution, installation and other project management and after-sales services.
“The programme also supports manufacturers and assemblers of solar technology to set up production facilities in Nigeria, in order to support the off-grid energy sector with about 250,000 new jobs”, he said.
In his remarks, the Director, Development Finance at CBN, Yusuf Yila, said “If we do what all the stakeholders are supposed to do, it will be the most important programme for solving such challenges.
”As we speak, we have started receiving applications for the upstream.”
The Technical Lead for the scheme at REA, Suleiman Babamanu, said it’s a N140 billion funding project from CBN. While he said the programme is in three phases, in the first 12 months and first phase, 750,000 connections will be done with 37,500 jobs created.
Babamanu said REA hopes to disburse to the first set of developers by December 10, and have the first connection on December 15, 2020.