President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, reiterated his administration commitment, in enhancing the growth of the power sector in the country, by using the sector as the main driver of the envisaged development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
This was contained in a statement signed in Abuja, by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Power, Timothy Oyedeji.
Making this assertion at the opening ceremony of the 5th Nigeria Alternative Energy Expo (NAEE 2015),Buhari, who was ably represented by the Permanent Secretary, Power, Amb. (Dr.) Godknows Igali, noted that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the bedrock for the development of any society, hence the performance of the power sector therefore is paramount to the survival of the industrial sector.
Buhari expressed optimism that opportunities abound in the power sector, despite the challenges that the sector has been faced with over the past years.
He said that the government is doing everything possible to attract massive involvement in the power sector, adding that he will ensure regular and steady electricity supply for a viable and sustainable development.
Buhari said, “The government is committed to establishing a level playing ground for all interested investors, with encouraging policies and incentives that would leap frog socio-economic growth and development of the country and to complement and support the global investors interest shown to issues around energy, through the provision of infrastructure that meet internationally standard and sustainable.”
Buhari further promised that the Government will continue to encourage genuine would-be investors with generous duty free repine for all power project components, in addition to tax-holiday and restriction reparation of profits by investors.
He said Investors should “go into renewal energy projects, so as to help fill the gap by lighting up our homes, environment and our businesses”.
He also stressed that in line with international best practice, “renewable is the way to go, although it might be expensive initially, the near nil maintenance cost will make renewable cheap in the long run”.
Buhari averred that renewal energy offers enormous business opportunities for young people especially in the rural areas.
He said “As Electro Entrepreneurs, young people should take advantage of Government initiatives designed to assist them.”
The president added that the Bank of Industry is already working with the Ministry to fast-track credit lines for renewal energy projects.
“Also, Total Oil has a robust plan to develop solar powered equipment that would be used more in the rural area that are off the grid system,” he said.
The French Envoy in Nigeria, Ambassador Denys Gauer, also speaking at the occasion, said that France is poised to assisting the continent in increasing access to electricity, so that African women can give birth to children in the light.
He added that children will as well be able to do their home lessons using light, and vaccines can be stored with electricity
“The target is for the French to improve access on the continent in 15 years to about 80%, through assistance from multi-lateral and Bi-lateral donor agencies,” he said.
Gauer further reiterated the determination of his government to continue with the various capacity-building initiative already in place with power sector institution like National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), while equally lending support in clean and renewable energy production, transmission and distribution value chain.