Rural electrification’ll cost FG up to N50bn – Expert

A Sustainable Energy Expert, Mr. Kerry Ebi Nanakumo, had disclosed that over 80 million Nigerians are without electricity, and said it would cost the Federal Government about N50 billion to cover the cost of rural electrification.

Nanakumo spoke in Abuja recently at a two-day stakeholder engagement organised by Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) to deliberate on many challenges around the renewable energy sector and how to access more intervention funds via alternative funding channels.

Presenting a survey report titled” Exploring Sources of Funding for Off-grid rural electrification”, he said rural-urban dwellers depend on power generators for 60 percent of their power needs.

“Sometimes paying as much as N50 per KW of electricity, the situation is worse in the rural areas, where just a little are connected to the national grid,” he said.

According to him, over 80 million Nigerians are without electricity, and it is estimated that the government will need to spend about N50 billion to cover the cost of rural electrification.

“India has one of the most subsidies and biases for rural electricity compared to other Asian countries, some other countries like Ghana and Rwanda are pushing for reforms that place them to achieve their rural electrification targets by 2024. Although Rwanda and Ghana do not have the kind of population that we have, the idea is trying to learn from the models that have worked for them.

“The Rural Electrification Agency down to the Rural Electrification Fund are the main drivers of rural electrification; REA has been trying in terms of service delivery and manpower development, but there is nothing wrong with `rejigging’ your strategy,” he added.

Also speaking, Technical Assistant, Executive Director, REF, Mrs. Tobiloba Okoli, while making a presentation, said that funds were used to promote the cost-effective expansion of electricity access in un-electrified rural areas.

She said this is usually done using renewable off-grid and on-grid electrification solutions through partial one-off capital subsidies and technical assistance to ensure access to reliable and affordable electricity.

“The target is to increase national electrification by 90 percent both in the rural and urban areas. Currently, we have 60 in urban and 40 in rural areas. The plan at REF is to increase these by 75 percent in 2025,” she added.

Meanwhile, stakeholders also discussed broadly on the theme, “Innovative Funding and Accessibility of Government Social Intervention Funds for the Renewable Energy sector.”

Also, some insights were shared by key playing financial stakeholders from both local and international DFIs.

Among them are Development Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Industry, Access Bank, Sterling Bank, International Finance Corporation, Blue Camel Energy, All On Hub, and more.

An Investment Professional, Mr. Toju Eyetsemite, who gave a presentation titled “Development Partners Funding: The Size and What is Needed to Make the Fruits Fall,” said the Organisation provides non-financial support for developers usually during ideation-investment directory.

“We also provide market entry support including office space for start-ups to receive access to funding to bridge the energy gap.

Also speaking, REAN President, Dr. Segun Adaju, stated that the discussion was on leveraging access to financing to deliver more renewable energy projects in bridging the access to electricity gap.

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