***Hails NDPHC’s leading role
By Chris Ochayi – Abuja
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has reiterated the present administration’s commitment to provide electricity to 25 million Nigerians through off-grid connections to 5 million homes.
Professor Osinbajo, who spoke at the launch of 100,000 Solar Home System in Jangefe community, Kazuare Emirate, Jigawa State, said the government was determined to bring power to un-served communities across the country.
The Vice President speaking further, applauded the management of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, NDPHC, Limited for playing a leading role in the Federal Government’s plan to provide electricity to 25 million Nigerians through off-grid connections to 5 million homes.
He described NDPHC as a catalyst in the process of connecting communities across the country to off-grid systems.
Prof. Osinbajo said the government was determined to bring power to un-served communities as part of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan of President Muhammdu Buhari’s administration.
He explained that the project which would be financed by a N140 billion fund would be paid for by the beneficiaries.
According to him, “Another challenge which became an opportunity for us was the Covid-19 and our response to that which as many knows was 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 explained that the N140 billion finance programme will support private developers to provide power to the households.
Prof. Osinbajo stressed that the initiative is a partnership programme with the private driving the connections, supported by concessionaire lending by the Central Bank of Nigeria and commercial banks.
“The power provided is not free but we have put in place structures to make sure that the connections are affordable to all those who will use it”, he added.
Speaking on NDPHC role, he said: “Then the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, ably led by Chiedu Ugho, who has been an important catalyst for off-grid solar systems such as we have here today.”
Also speaking at the launch, the Minister of Power, Engr Sale Mamman said the programme when fully implemented will generate additional N7 billion in tax revenue per annum and $10 million in annual import substitutions.
Engr. Mamman said the Ministry will supervise the programme and would ensure the expansion of off-grid connections across the country.
On his part, Governor Baderu Abubakar thanked President Buhari for choosing the state as the starting point of the programme.
He pledged the support of the state government in ensuring its success.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director/CEO, NDPHC, Mr 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 explained that the 100,000 solar home systems launch is the second phase of NDPHC’s beyond the grid project.
Also earlier, the Executive Director, Generation, NDPHC, Engr. Kassim Abdullahi described the event as an important milestone in Buhari’s administration, in the process of ensuring that all Nigerians have access to electricity.
Engr. Abdullahi disclosed that about 1000 units would be deployed in the Jangefe community, which is the pilot community for this phase.