The Federal Government yesterday disclosed that about 30 million Nigerians especially at the rural areas are yet to be connected to electricity national grid therefore there was need for private sector financing to improve electricity supply in the country.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo gave the statistics in Abuja while declaring open, the Nigerian Renewable Energy Private Equity Seminar organised to sensitise investors, fund managers, policy makers and other stakeholders on the need to support the development of renewable energy.
The minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali said according to United Nations Report on access to power, there is still a wide gap in power. Sadly for us here in Nigeria, we still have about 30 million people that do not have access to power at all.”
“This is the reason the federal government is focusing on Renewable Energy (RE) particularly off-grid solar and small hydros that would not need to depend on the national grid,” he said.
Nebo said the training was meant to sensitise and mobilize stakeholders to initiate an equity fund through private sector participation to promote sustainable energy.
Describing the federal government’s efforts in developing hydroelectricity, Nebo disclosed that government is now rounding up on financing process for the 3050mw Mambilla hydro dam and would soon be flagged off by President Goodluck Jonathan.
“There are 264 hydro dams which have not been fully utilised, so in this first quarter, government did a study and is fixing the turbines and other components in 12 of them to increase their generation
capacity,” Nebo added.
The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who was represented by Hajia Lare Shuaibu said there is a need to supplement mainstream power generation through the harnessing of renewable energy.
She disclosed that the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Plc (NBET) has received proposals and enquiries on developing the vast renewable energy in Nigeria. “Giving the national resources of
sunlight, wind, biomass among others, we need to start thinking of how they can be harnessed for the power sector,” she added.
In his goodwill message, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Sen. Philip Aduda said despite the vast renewable energy sources, Nigeria still experience acute inadequate power supply.
He maintained that the Renewable Energy section is a new frontier that needs to be developed to boost supply.
“This is a new frontier in the sector, so it needs political will and financiers for this. We must set up codes and standards to create solar power, solar PV among others and this is up to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to hasten it.”
Meanwhile the Chairman, House Committee on Power, Hon. Patrick Ikhariale said, “I am happy that aside the conventional energy generation, we are now joining other country to talk of renewable
energy. As legislators, we have to look at its legal impediments of developing renewable energy which we will continuously give our assurance.”
“If we can fix the power problem, we must have fixed more than 60 to 70 percent of the problem we have in Nigeria. We are going to have more employment, business, increased GDP and an improved FDI,” he added.