VICE president Professor Yemi Osinbajo has launched an ambitious green energy programme aimed at providing electricity to 25m Nigerians through the federal government’s Solar Home System (SMS) programme.
Under the terms of the plan, five new connections in off-grid communities will be launched across the country. In February, Professor Osinbajo announced ambitious plans to ensure that about 30% of Nigeria’s electricity supply is generated from clean energy and renewable sources by 2030 as part of the nation’s contribution to cutting greenhouse gases.
Nigeria is a signatory to the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change which committed the nation to limiting global warming and achieving a climate neutral world by mid-century. Signed by 196 countries, the agreements commits them to generating more power from clean energy sources such as solar, wind and biofuels.
Despite pledging to help cut greenhouse gases, Nigeria has done very little practically, as she has not moved towards the mass-use of clean energy, has no electric car programme and is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels. However, Nigeria faces a sever power generation problem and Professor Osinbajo said that this will be met by reverting to renewables, mainly solar power.
Speaking at the launch of the 100,000 SHS programme in Jangefe community in Kazuare Emirate in Jigawa State, Professor Osinbajo said the government was determined to bring power to unserved communities as part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan. He explained that the project which would be financed by a N140bn ($367.24m) fund.
However, Professor Osinbajo noted that the government will be providing $200m in subsidy to support the programme. According to the vice president, Nigeria was working hard to curb emissions by 20% immediately and 45% in collaboration with its international partners.
Professor Osinbajo said: “Another challenge which became an opportunity for us was Covid-19 and our response to that was the Economic Sustainability Plan. The president’s vision around that plan was that rather than have situations where people lose jobs and opportunities, we could take the opportunities of Covid-19 to create more jobs.
“We could take the opportunities of the economic fallout to create more opportunities for the Nigerian people. So the president approved that we should do these 5m solar home connections across the country which would mean that 25m Nigerians would have power and not just that, there will be jobs around those who will manufacture, those who will assemble the solar systems, those will install them, those who will maintain them and those who will also supply the payment systems and maintain the payment systems will also have jobs.”
He explained that the initiative is partnership programme with the private sector driving the connections, supported by concessionaire lending by the Central Bank of Nigeria and commercial banks. Professor Osinbajo praised the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, for taking the lead and becoming an important catalyst for off-grid solar systems in Nigeria.
Minister of power, Sale Mamman said the programme when fully implemented will generate additional N7bn in tax revenue per annum and $10m in annual import substitutions. He added that his ministry will supervise the programme and would ensure the expansion of off-grid connections across the country.