The Federal Government will spend an estimated $150million on the proposed rural electrification programme in the country, the Ministry of Power announced Tuesday.
In a statement by Hakeem Bello, the Special Assistant on Communication to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, about 44 tertiary institutions and the small hydro dams in the rural areas of the country, will serve as anchors for the programme.
The minister who spoke at the 2016 European Union-Nigeria Business Forum with the theme, “Financing opportunities in the Nigerian Power Sector”, pledged to uphold all contractual obligations entered into with investors.
He said the funds would be used in providing Independent Power Plants (IPPs) to supply electricity to the tertiary institutions with a view to extending same to the rural communities in their environs.
Fashola explained that 37 out of the 44 tertiary institutions audited were universities while seven were teaching hospitals. He added that the government would deploy 37 IPPs made up of nine gas plants and 28 solar plants with a combined generation capacity of 120 megawatts to power all the universities.
He noted that the 37 IPPs would replace the existing 1,105 generators currently serving the institutions and generating 210 MW of “inefficient and unclean energy,” and according to him the amount would cover Capital Expenditure (Capex), operations and maintenance.
He said the government will power generation and power distribution, but will however retain transmission through the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), which ultimately restricts government’s role to policy making through the ministry.
The minister declared, “I will like to weigh in on some reports where there are calls allegedly being made for us to “Revisit the privatization”. While I would love to have some more clarification about what is meant by “Revisit”, let me be clear that we would probably not be here talking about financing opportunities in power without privatisation”.