August 19, 2014

Government Establishes N33b Credit Line for Consumer Metering in Nigeria

THE Presidency has stated its concern over the huge metering gap in the electricity sector and wants it bridged immediately for a progressive growth in the direction the Federal Government intends it to.

   To that that end, Vice President Namadi Sambo said in Abuja Thursday that government was sourcing various funding avenues, including an initial N33 billion soft credit line to enable the distribution companies acquire smart metres and make them more available to consumers.

   Speaking at the formal inauguration of the National Council on Power, Sambo, who was represented by the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, also stressed that a total of $4.7 billion has been earmarked for transmission expansion in the next five years.

   “As it pertains to the overall funding of the power sector, a number of efforts are being made to leverage resources from various funding agencies to ensure that all participants in the sector have access to funds under soft and long term conditions,” he said.

   Similarly, government is looking to generating 5,000 megawatts of electricity from its abundant coal deposits, as part of its energy mix. According to Sambo, “available studies show that Nigeria’s coal belt covers over eight states and is capable of generating 5,000MW of power if fully developed.

   “The Ministry of Power and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development have therefore been directed to ensure that the first scale of coal-to-power project takes off soonest, following the model of partnership between government and the private sector.

   “Still on improving the sources of our energy mix is our commitment to scaling up investments in the development of our renewable resources, especially small, medium and large hydros, solar and wind. 

   “This administration has taken steps to ensure the take-off of the 700MW Zungeru hydropower project, which is now under construction, and the 3050MW Mambilla hydropower project, as major commitments in this direction.

   “We will go further down to ensure the realization of other hydro projects such Gurara II, Itisi Dam and the full realization of the hydropower from Gurara I and Kashimbilla Dam, as well as all the existing small dams around the country.”

 According to him, “solar energy is going to form the hub of our future rural electrification programme, particularly for off-grid communities, all of which must be carried along in our efforts at ensuring that no Nigerian community and family is left in darkness. 

   “This is why I also call on state governments to scale up their annual budgetary provisions for the power sector, as this will have cumulative impact on the overall development of their respective states.

   “It is in relation to all these that we have also taken measures to promote our sub-regional efforts to ensure sustainability of power. In this direction, in July 2013, ECOWAS Heads of State renewed its commitment to the provision of access to energy by adopting the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy (EEEP), as well as the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP). 

   “As a follow-up, in March 2014, the 15 ECOWAS countries validated the templates and the process of the development of National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Action plans, as well as sustainable energy for all (SE4ALL) agenda.” 

 Nebo explained that the Council on Power is vehicle for harmonizing and aligning the dispersed stakeholder-groups, comprising the Ministry of Power, commissioners of power/energy in the 36 states and the FCT, and would act as an advisory and decision-making body to review pertinent recommendations from all stakeholders.

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