The federal government said it is committed to meeting the target it has set to energise 340,000 micro, small and medium enterprises SMEs) across the country through adequate and affordable off-grid electricity supply.
Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, speaking at the weekend while inspecting the Iponri Market Solar Electrification Project in Lagos, said government was using the off-grid option to reach millions of SMEs to enhance their productivity and create new jobs.
The initiative he said, aims to assist over 80,000 shops within a year, empower over 340,000 micro, small and medium sized enterprises, create over 2,500 jobs with the initial 16 economic clusters while serving over 18 million Nigerians.
According to the minister, the people that drive the nation’s economy deserve reliable electricity. “They are in markets, they are in shopping malls, they are in corners, and they are in small shops. They constitute the best in any economy. This administration understands energy is an important component of their business.
Fashola, noted that the initiative was already transforming businesses across the country with the steady power supply increasing economic activity, spurring business growth, fostering job creation and enhancing the business experience.
He said government was further committed to the promotion of viable economic environment that would add more value to the lives of Nigerians and boost ease of doing business in the country.
The minister said the development informed the government’s introduction of N-Power programme, TraderMoni and the Energizing Economies Initiative, which is geared towards supporting the rapid deployment of off-grid electricity solutions to provide clean, safe, affordable and reliable economic clusters across the country through private developers.
He expressed optimism that the Iponri Market Electrification Project would turn out to be a success story by connecting more power consumers in the industrial clusters in the area, just as he said the government through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) would connect more market places, shopping centres and industrial facilities in the country.
Earlier, managing director of REA, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, observed that Iponri electricity project further underscores the federal government’s commitment to the deployment of clean, reliable and affordable energy solutions in our markets by providing the enabling environment for targeted economic growth through private sector partnerships.
Ogunbiyi, said the Iponri market and 12 more markets under the Energizing Economies Initiative Phase 1 were at various stages of development and construction in the country leveraging solar home solutions and gas-to-power.
She disclosed that 450 shops in Iponri market were currently metered and energised, while the rest would be completed later in the year.In his remarks, Ademola Adesina, chief executive officer, Rensource/Iponri Market Energy Solutions Limited, which drives the project, said, Iponri Market Energy Solutions Limited was honoured that the minister was visiting Iponri Market Energy Solutions here at Iponri market.