The Managing Director/CEO of Rural Electrification Agency, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad,has emphasized the need for state governments to support his agency in deepening rural areas .
He said such support includes fast-tracking land approvals, and other associated permits and approvals, provision of data of unserved & underserved communities within the States, creating an enabling environment for private sector developers and providing an interface between the REA, the states and the developers towards ensuring the sustainability of projects in their states.
He spoke at a recent workshop organized by the REA in partnership with the Africa Clean Energy- Technical Assistance Facility (ACE-TAF) and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
The workshop served as a platform for the REA to convey its programmes and initiatives to the state governments and critical stakeholders at the workshop for a better understanding of its operations, and to achieve implementation sustainability and enhanced performance across all its programmes.
It provided an avenue for the REA to listen to the challenges faced by the States and proffer solutions that are critical in advancing the course of the REA Mandate and improving the energy sector.
Declaring the workshop open, Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, said “I believe that a stakeholder engagement such as this, beyond helping to stimulate growth in our critical sectors, ultimately enables the exchange of valuable ideas targeted at national development.”
The chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi through his representative, Dr Abdulateef Shittu, the Executive Director, Nigeria Governors Forum, commended the management of REA for living up to its mandate of expanding rural electricity access across the rural frontiers of the country.
He stated that “the states are committed to the success of rural electrification programmes and emphasized that the rural economy is central to the overall national economy which is predicated on effective and robust rural electrification scheme.
He added: “This stakeholders’ workshop is coming at a very critical time when all hands must be on deck to solidify and improve on the gains that have been achieved in the energy sector.”
The Team Leader for Economic Development, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Gail Warrander mentioned “States have a critical role to play in developing policies and plans to support offgrid energy; through easy access to land for minigrids and simplified permits but also, they are best-placed to match potential locations for minigrid and stand-alone solar systems with households and businesses.
The United Kingdom (UK) is supporting the sector through the Africa Clean Energy – Technical Assistance Facility (ACE-TAF), and a 10 million pounds facility to InfraCredit to de-risk insurance and pension funds invested in the sector, as well as other programmes.”
The Nigeria Country Manager for ACE-TAF, Chibuikem Agbaegbu while giving his presentation stated that “We are positive that this collaboration between the Federal Government through the REA and the State Governments will accelerate energy access delivery in States especially in the rural un-served and under-served communities. We are happy to be partners to both REA and the state governments on this initiative, and will continue to support both parties in ensuring Nigeria meets its electricity targets”
The resolution at the workshop was outlined to include: Nomination of a Focal Person in each State for synergy between REA and State Governments; Timely information sharing with State Focal Persons on REA’s programmes and projects in planning, implementation and monitoring of projects; REA to create a centralized data repository for Rural Electrification data with State-level access for seamless data sharing of planned, completed, and ongoing projects.