Rural electrification: power minister, REA boss seek UN’s financial support

Solomon Ezeme

The Minister of State for Power, Mr. Goddy Jedy-Agba and the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mr. Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, have sought the assistance of the United Nations (UN), in helping Nigeria attain its rural electrification goals, as set by the Presidency.

During a recent courtesy visit to the UN Deputy Secretary -General, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, in New York, the minister along with the REA boss, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad and other members of the Nigerian delegation for the ongoing 76st Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, called on Mrs. Mohammed to assist the country in developing its power sector; in form of more financial interventions from the international body.

The minister stated that, in line with the directive of President Buhari to Power ministry to lay more emphasis on rural electrification through renewables, there was more than any other times, need for rural electrification in order to assist Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in rural communities to grow through improved energy supply.

“In the past two years, the government has completed several projects in the renewable energy sector while several others are at different stages of completion.

“The President has directed us to focus more on rural areas because we need to give the lives of those who reside in rural areas a meaning. We need to help their small and medium scale businesses grow,” Mr. Jedy-Agba said.

He commended the UN Deputy Secretary who he described as a ‘good ambassador’ of the country, for her efforts towards the growth and development of the country since her assumption of office at the UN.

“Once again, I want to congratulate and commend you for all you’ve been doing since your appointment especially for your dear country, Nigeria.

“You have really made the country proud and we’re happy we’ve a good ambassador like you out here,” he said.

He also noted that funding is a major setback to the growth of the Nigerian power sector, stating the country needed the continued support of the UN to address the problem of electricity which he described as the biggest challenge facing the Nigerian economy.

“Our power challenges are not new to you because you have been part of the system and have been working with relevant authorities to address them. But permit me to add to what you already know about the issue that funding is our major issue.

“We want to appeal to you and UN to please, support our country with more funds. Electricity is the biggest driver of the economy. We believe that if we fix our power sector, every sector of economy will take shape. Investors will troop in, our GDP will grow and our teeming youths will be gainfully employed,” he said.

He further noted that the present administration has begun massive investments in the renewable energy sector because of its belief in the renewable as the future.

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