The Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Malam Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, has said the agency would require $2.482 billion (about N942.95bn) to provide access to electricity for about 80 million Nigerians by 2030.
Giving a breakdown of the energy access projections, he said 72.7m people would have access to electricity through 23,457 power grid projects, 7,882 mini-grids, and 14,117 SHS units.
Speaking on Wednesday at a REA and National Assembly (NASS) workshop on ‘Rural Electrification Programmes: Legislation, Implementation and Sustainability’, in Abuja, Salihijo, said the agency’s Rural Electrification Fund (REF) targets this goal from this year to 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, which calls for deployment of affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy to close the energy gap and end energy poverty by 2030
The REA head said there are impacts of key projects: 13,000 shops have been energized across economic clusters in four states under Energizing Economies Initiative (EEI); 12 communities energized with 19,000 Solar Home Systems (SHS) through REF and more will be done.
Its Energising Education Programme (EEP) is powering 37 federal universities and seven university teaching hospitals along with the training 180 interns from nine universities. REA has also constructed 1,052 projects.
Salihijo however called for improved budgeting. “There is a need for better funding of the agency, as well as the strengthening of financing and business models,” he noted.
The Minister of State, Power, Mr. Goddy Jeddy-Agba, lauded the federal lawmakers for the support to the agency and the Ministry of Power. “If you give this agency all the support it requires, I can assure you distinguished senators that I will not disappoint you; you will be proud of the agency and its mandate will be delivered as required.”
Senate President Ahmad Lawan who was represented by the Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, declared the two-day workshop open. He said: “Though we have recorded successes, I must confess that we are still quite far from our desired destination with millions of Nigerians having no access to reliable electricity.”
Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswam, said the committee was ready to support the programmes of the agency.