REA Flaunts Score Card, Worries Over Scrapping Proposal

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     …Says Nigeria Needs Private Funding to Close $2.5bn Electricity Gap
The Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund (REF) at the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Dr Sanusi Ohiare, has said that it is quite surprising that despite the performance of the REA, and notwithstanding the several review of the Oransanye merger report, the Agency is still part of the agencies penciled for scrapping.

Addressing lawmakers at a workshop organised for members of the House of Representatives by the agency in Abuja last Saturday, after it held a similar one for the Senate, Banire said since 2016, the REA has connected 103,500 homes, impacted 460,720 people, created 5,042 jobs and sourced $561 million investments.

In his speech, the managing director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mr Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, said $2.5 billion is the investment required to provide access to the current 80 million Nigerians without electricity.

[Also Read] REA Initiates 619 Rural Electrification Projects

“India used to be the country with the highest people without access to electricity but I am sad to say that Nigeria has overtaken it and recently the figure is at 80 million Nigerians without access to electricity,” Ahmad said.

While calling for an improved budget for REA to realize this, he said it is very risky to rely on government budget as that is not enough. “We need to device policies where we can get more private sector investments,” he said.

The REA used the opportunity of the workshop to inform that Nigeria needs more private sector funding to close an energy gap of $2.48 billion that will enable about 80 million Nigerians to have access to electricity.

The Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jedy-Agba, who was represented by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Mr Chinyeaka Ohaa, called for the lawmakers’ support to REA.

[Also Read] FG Allocates $6.3m to Kick-Start Rural Electrification Fund

The minister stated that to change this narrative, Nigerians must continue to strategically deploy renewable, off-grid technologies to power the country, one community at a time.

Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, represented by Chairman, House Committee on Power, Magaji Da’u Aliyu, who declared the workshop open said the workshop was strategic and could not have come at a better time than this time.

On his role, Aliyu said with the workshop, the members would do the needful and to consult with REA to ensure proper budgeting. He said over N200 million projects are uncompleted in the portfolio as he urged the REA to be better guided towards providing more access to rural electricity.

By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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