FG Boosts Energy Service in Rural Areas to Grow SMEs – Minister
The Federal Government has said that it is making concerted effort to provide electricity more in the rural areas, and use the presence of energy to grow the small and medium income enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
The Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jedy-Agba, who spoke on Tuesday in a meeting with some stakeholders and newsmen in Abuja on the plan, said giving more attention to the electrification of rural areas in the country will offer great opportunity to small-scale businesses to survive.
According to him, investigations have shown that it is easier to recover electricity bills from rural dwellers than urban dwellers. “Travelling by road from here through Nassarawa State, you see fruits and food on the road wasting. If there’s power, industries can be cited to process those fruits and sell them.
“If you go to Korea, you see these things. The woman who sells roadside food can grind pepper. If artisans have light, their trade will improve.
“There’s a community in Niger State that we electrified last year. When they saw the light, it was like, permit me to say, Jesus came down to them. The villagers pay for light, but you and I don’t. We consume and complain,” the minister narrated.
Jedy-Agba said that the federal government would continue to provide power for under-served communities in Nigeria so as to encourage people who live outside the towns and cities to engage in small businesses and preserve farm produce by processing them. Adding that it would also to discourage rural/urban emigration.
Present at the meeting were the Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mr Ahmad Salihijo; Managing Director, Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), Mr Peter Ewesor; and Director General, National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), Ahmed Nagode.
In his remarks, the MD of Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency, Peter Ewesor, restated the ban on the misuse of the 33KV lines in the country, noting that it was one of the major causes of load shedding. He said NEMSA would continue to monitor all categories of electrical installations to ensure safety in the industry, insisting that no electrical installation in Nigeria can be constructed without the certification of the organisation.
Ewesor confirmed that NEMSA had carried out the inspection of over 5,652 new electrical installations nationwide in the last few months. “When we test transformers, they should be able to transfer voltage from 330 KVA to 132 KVA or 132kv to 33kv and 33 to 11 which we use in houses. They need to meet requirements.
“A lot of transformers are imported whose specifications are at variance with regulations. Somebody will install 500kv transformer, then use 150 mm as the output cable. What that means is that if the transformer is utilised to highest capacity it’s expected to deliver, it will cause disaster.
“This has led us to issue directives in the power sector for the enforcement of technical standards, specifications and regulations. One of them is that you can no longer use 33kv primary feeder line that’s supposed to carry power from transmitting station to 33/11 kv injection substations.
“They are supposed to carry power to substations, which will produce 11/415. We have issued a directive. In line with regulations and resolution of the National Council on Power, there are minimum sizes of conductors for primary and secondary distribution.
“People in the 11 kv platform don’t have more than two or three hours of supply. No matter the effort, if power don’t get to the people, then all efforts are in vain. The regulation does not allow 33kva line for secondary distribution.”
Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja