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Institution harps on bridging electricity gap to upscale economic empowerment

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The Nigeria off Grid Market Acceleration Programme(NoMAP) says there is the need to bridge electricity gap to accelerate economic activities in Nigeria, particularly in the rural areas.

Mr Adedotun Eyinade, the Programme Director, NoMAP said this at a stakeholders meeting organised by NoMAP, a market building institution on Thursday in Abuja.

The theme of the event was, “Productive Use of Energy: Beyond Mini-Grid Viability”.

The event was organised in partnership with the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) with funding from Shell Foundation, UKAid and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Oice (FCDO).

Eyinade said in view of the electricity gap in Nigeria, the institution had been working on ensuring access to energy.

He said this would help address barriers around access to finance, data and helping unbanked customers pay for solar.

He said the meeting was organised to find out how best to finance productive use assets,

According to him, productive use assets are appliances that consume electricity and also help improve livelihood.

The programme director said, “in communities that are newly electrified, you have already existing businesses like shops,  saw mills, and agro processing mills among others.

“So, the question is, how do you provide access to financing for people who want to buy new assets like refrigerators to sell drinks, irrigation pumps to water their farms and the likes.

“The idea is to bring all stakeholders, commercial banks, investors, mini grid developers, appliance distributors to reduce barriers to financing.”

Eyinade said people do not only use electricity to power their homes but to power economic activities that would increase their income.

“We are particularly interested in conversations around gender, internally displaced people and all of that.

“So, we are happy that for the first time, some people are accessing financing and it has potential for jobs to be created,” he said.

According to him, NoMAP is carrying out a pilot programme in three states, Oyo, Delta and Nasarawa to assist customers have access to finance for appliances.

He said the pilot was being undertaken in 21 communities in the three states.

Mr Ahmad Salihijo, the Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency (REA), commended efforts made by NoMAP and other stakeholders in helping to bridge electricity gap in Nigeria.

He said NoMAP had impacted lives by investing resources  in the productive aspect of energy access.

The managing director, who, delivered the keynote address, said the agency on its part had explored projects that would have direct impact on end users.

“Under the Nigeria Electrification project, we have successfully inaugurared full roll out of our productive use equipment component.

“Under this project, we offer up to 60 per cent grant for cost of equipment.

“We have projected potential disbursement of 2.4 million dollars in the first round of application to four shortlisted firms.

“This will impact the lives of end users across eight existing mini grid sights,” he said.

Salihijo said the agency would continue to support stakeholders to accelerate off grid electricity, particularly in rural areas.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that various stakeholders in their goodwill messages said they would continue to support access to renewable energy to meet growing demand.

Mr Wim JonkerKlunne, Household Solar Funders’ Group Coordinator, Shell Foundation, and Mr Akachukwu Okafor, UK PACT Senior Climate Change Officer, UK FCDO, said the meeting was apt.

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