By Onu Okorie
Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in its bid towards fulfilling its mandate of providing electricity to unserved and underserved rural communities across the country held a 2-day Stakeholders Workshop with State Governments and their designated Focal Persons to strengthen the collaboration and sustainable acceleration of rural electrification. The two-day workshop occurred on the 9th and 10th of May 2022. The workshop was 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.
Delivering the welcome remarks at the workshop, the Managing Director/CEO of REA, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad said “It is important that the state governments support us in some key areas such as fast-tracking land approvals, environmental & social 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.”
While declaring the workshop open, Honourable Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, OFR, 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, His Excellency 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. 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”