… N7bn tax revenues, job creation, empowerment of health, educational systems in view

The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has held its first investor matchmaking for the Solar Power Naija Programme.

The purpose is to provide opportunity for potential investors to pitch their financial offerings to developers.

Such projects typically lead to the creation of new jobs, the sustainance of existing ones, empowerment of small and medium enterprises and support for health and educational delivery in rural and urban areas, among others.

A statement from REA in Abuja on Thursday said the event was organised in collaboration with the Power Africa Nigeria Power Sector Programme (PA-NPSP, USAID).

REA said the event also provided a networking and matchmaking forum that brought together key investors and high-performing developers pre-evaluated by the Solar Power Naija team in the power sector, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The agency explained that the programme was launched as part of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) to achieve the roll out of five million new solar connections in off grid communities in Nigeria.

”This programme is expected to generate an additional N7 billion increase in tax revenues per annum and 10 million dollars in annual import substitution.

“The objectives of the programme are to expand energy access to 25 million individuals (five million new connections) through the provision of Solar Home Systems (SHS) or connection to a mini grid.

“Increase local content in the off grid solar value chain and facilitate the growth of the local manufacturing and assembly industry and incentivise the creation of 250,000 new jobs in the energy sector,’ ‘it said.

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of REA, Mr Salihijo Ahmad, encouraged partnerships to boost energy access in communities.

“As the implementing agency for Nigeria’s off-grid strategy, the REA has been working to support private developers by creating an enabling environment to facilitate investments in various ways,” Ahmad stated.

He said that this partnership included access to data, policy support, grants, capacity development, stakeholder management and most importantly financing developers.

The Acting Deputy Missions Director, USAID Nigeria, Mr Stephan Menard, said: “I encourage the private developers to take advantage in accessing financing towards improving the lives of Nigerians by delivering sustainable energy access.”

Barbara Izilien, Head, Solar Power Naija Programme, , said the match making event would build quick partnerships that could lead to new connections.

According to her, the partnership will further count towards the country’s target of electrifying a minimum of five million households, serving a minimum of 25 million Nigerians.

“The Solar Power Naija Programme implemented through REA is actively working on catalysing access to financing for developers in the off-grid sector to achieve the programme targets,” she said.