President Muhammadu Buhari, in a bid to bring government closer to the people, has through the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed plans to spend $150 million on rural electrification.
Fashola, who made this known in Abuja, at a Business Forum on “Financing Opportunities in the Nigerian Power Sector”, on Wednesday, November 16, said the money would be deployed towards providing Independent Power Plants, IPPs, to supply electricity to Tertiary Institutions, and Rural Communities. According to him, government would use 44 Tertiary Institutions, and small hydro dams in the rural areas, as anchors for the electrification programme. Explaining further, he said, 37 out of the 44 Tertiary Institutions audited for the project were Universities, while seven were Teaching Hospitals. He added, that his Ministry will deploy 37 IPPs, made up of nine gas plants, and 28 solar plants, with a combined generation capacity of 120 megawatts, to power all the Universities The 37 IPPs will replace 1,105 generators, that were hitherto serving the Institutions, and generating 210 megawatts of inefficient, and unclean energy. The total sum would cover capital expenditure, operations, and maintenance. On how to generate more funds to finance the Power sector, Fashola, called on all interested private sector investors, to come and partner with the Ministry in achieving 24 hours power supply across the country. He said the Distribution Companies, DisCos, required financing for the supply of meters, upgrading distribution equipment like transformers, ring mains units, feeders, and funding, especially in foreign exchange. For the Generating Companies, the Minister said adequate liquidity was acquired to procure turbines, parts, and accessories, which were largely imported. He said, “They (DisCos) need a lot of operating capital to buy meters, to change transformers that are old, to extend access to their customers, to replace transformers, and so on and so forth. “They need operational capital, and they need it in mix of foreign exchange, because some of the things they want to buy are not made in Nigeria, and there are some made in Nigeria,” Fashola said. The multiplier effect of the investment according to him, would benefit the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, as it will boost more power supply to Nigerians.