Launch Of Deployment Of 100,000 Solar Home Systems Under Solar Power Naija Programme In Jigawa State

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Let me say how very happy I am to be here in Jigawa State especially in this Emirate. I want to thank my brother, the Governor of Jigawa State especially for his warm hospitality and his great friendship. And also, I must thank His Royal Highness, the Emir of Kazaure, Alhaji Dr Najib Hussaini Adamu. Many people may have forgotten that HRH is a lawyer since he has settled down here in Kazaure. HRH and I were classmates at the Nigerian Law school in 1979.

So, I think it is very appropriate for us to begin this very important project of electrification of Nigeria which the President approved just last year. Mr President approved the electrification of 5 million homes, so, it is important that we start this project here in Jigawa State and in particular here in Kazaure emirate.

Today marks another critical milestone in the Buhari Administration’s focused efforts to ensure that every Nigerian has access to electricity. The President had emphasized that we could no longer rely solely on the national grid if we were to electrify the whole country which meant that we had to develop an effective strategy for decentralizing power supply.

Two obvious things we could think of were, first to implement more off-grid solutions and to use renewable energy especially solar power. But a happy coincidence that occurred at that time was that the cost of solar panels and batteries had been falling, so, we could therefore support the deployment of solar power cheaper than ever before.

So, if there was ever a time in the history of our country when the dream of electrification for all was possible, that time is now.  The Rural Electrification Agency, REA, had always been the vehicle for rural electrification, what has changed is the fresh mandate it now has to add renewable energy in particular, solar power, to its repertoire of solutions for electrification.

Another challenge that became an opportunity for us was COVID-19 and our response to the economic fallouts of the pandemic—the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP). The ESP enabled us to create jobs and opportunities for Nigerians because the President’s own vision around the plan was that rather than have a situation whereby people lose jobs, we could take the opportunity of COVID-19 to create more jobs, and take the opportunity of the economic fallouts to create more opportunities for the Nigerian people.

Mr President approved these 5 million Solar connections across the country which will mean that 25 million Nigerians will have hope. But not just that, there will be jobs around this; those who will manufacture, those who will assemble the solar systems will have jobs, those who will install them will have jobs and those who will maintain them will have jobs and those who will supply and maintain the payment systems will have jobs.

Mr President approved what came to be known as the Solar Power Naija programme in the Economic Sustainability Plan enables us to connect homes to electricity. It is an ambitious initiative that aims to create 5 million connections through a N140 billion financing program that will support private developers to provide power in all of the households that I mentioned which means providing electricity for 25 million Nigerians.

The Solar Power Naija project will provide cheap and environmentally friendly renewable off-grid power for millions of Nigerians and we are starting here today in Jangefe.

The initiative’s brilliance is that it is a partnership programme with the private sector driving the connections supported by concessionary lending via the Central Bank of Nigeria and Commercial Banks.

The power provided is not free, but we have put in place structures to make the connection costs affordable for all.  In addition to the concessionary lending rates, the Government has provided subsidies and rebates for private developers to the tune of over $200 million under the Rural Electrification Agency and World Bank Nigeria Electrification Programme.

The programme incorporates several innovative solutions to increase affordability for the citizens while also providing sufficient comfort to investors and financiers alike.

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child, therefore, the success of this programme has required partnerships from government agencies, private sector players, and our traditional institutions and they all deserve special mention. First is the excellent overall leadership provided by the Hon. Ministers of Power; Engr. Sale Mamman and Gody Jedy-Agba . The Ministry has created an environment and support structure that enables the REA to continue to thrive and excel.

Then is the REA itself led by Ahmad Sahlijo Ahmad who as we have heard have very creatively developed the complex components of the entire program from financing to production and installation and payment systems. Then the Niger Delta Power Holding Company ably led by Mr. Chiedu Ugbo has been an important catalyst for off-grid Solar Home System such as we have here today. They were the first to launch the 100,000 systems which A-Solar, the same group that is providing this had provided in several states of the federation.

Our efforts here today will not happen without the exemplary leadership espoused by my dear friend and brother, HE the governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru. He is a leader that wakes up every day focused on the development and economic growth of the people, and his style has helped a great deal in ensuring that this project works and several similar projects.

I also want to commend His Royal Highness, the Emir of Kazaure, the Emirate Council, and the Local Government of Roni. They have been outstanding exemplars of the progressive leadership that our communities require for development. The Emir has been involved with the process of bringing electrification to Jangefe Community all the way. His role has been critical in supporting the developer A-Solar in the sensitization of the community around the understanding that the power from the systems will be paid for at a rate of around N3,500 per month while ownership will revert to the community over time.

The Emir himself has directed the community engagements and is sponsoring the down-payment for all 1000 homes in the community, thereafter the community will take over the payment of the monthly fees. This is unprecedented anywhere and we commend your Royal Highness for this profound expression of love and concern for the welfare of your people.

I must finally say that this is only the beginning of what we will do for Jigawa State. HE the governor had recanted the various things that the President has planned and has done for Jigawa State as well as several other States and I know that there is every opportunity for us to do even more, and I know that Jigawa State will experience even more from the Federal Government.

So, let me thank all of our collaborators, the Ministry of Power, the Rural Electrification Agency, the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sterling Bank, A-Solar, the Jigawa State Government, the Kazaure Emirate Council, and the Roni Local Government Authority.  The Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure and San-Turaki of Kazaure – Ahmad Rufai Zakari has also been very diligent in coordinating with all the relevant parties to lead us to the successful launch of the program today.

God bless Jigawa State

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.