President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commissioned the Ariaria International Market Independent Power Project in Aba, Abia state.
Addressing guests at the event, the President said his administration identified that decentralized power supply was a critical part of the power sector recovery programme to serve the citizens with constant power supply.
He said the Ariaria Independent Power Project is part of the Energizing Economies Initiative developed to increase energy access and economic growth by assisting private sector developers to provide clean, reliable and affordable power to economic clusters, such as markets, shopping complexes and agricultural/industrial clusters.
President Buhari disclosed that over the next 4-5 years, his administration’s aim is to reach 500,000 small businesses within 350 economic clusters.
He pledged his administration’s commitment to continually promote made in Nigeria goods.
He however lamented that some artisans paid much money for power that doesn’t last up-to four hours, thereby affect their level of productivity.
He assured that the remaining 35,000 shops in the market that are yet to be connected to the independent power project that they will be connected in a short while.
Also speaking, the minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said “there are many things happening in Nigeria as a result of your policies, programmes and approval you have midwife and championed in order to make Nigeria a better place.”
He said Nigerians can access good roads across the country, adding that there are several Housing Estates across the country.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency, Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi said in a bid to empower small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), the Energizing Economies Initiative (EEI) seeks to address any power deficiencies experienced by economic clusters such as markets, industrial clusters and shopping complexes through off-grid solutions.
She said the independent Power Project is a fulfilment of a commitment made by this administration to increase energy access through sustainable and renewable energy solutions.
To date almost 10,000 shops have been electrified as part of the initiative within Ariaira Market, Sabon Gari Market in Kano, Sura Market complex and Iponri market in Lagos, Ediaken market in Ondo, she said.
The managing Director said the pre-paid meters mean that there is no more estimated billing and that traders only pay for what they consume. “Therefore, we encourage energy conservation and payment of power supply,” she said.
Daily Trust recalls that the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) under the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is the implementing Agency for this FGN initiative.