Before the year runs out, a multimillion naira Rural Electrification Fund (REF) set up to support investments in rural electrification across Nigeria would be activated, the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has disclosed.
Speaking at the August edition of the monthly power dialogue of the Nextier Advisory, an Executive Director at REA, Dr. Sanusi Ohiare, stated that the agency would activate the REF and subsequently request operators to submit proposals for potential project funding.
“We now have the mini grid regulations which was recently launched. NERC has organised a workshop to enlighten operators of the regulation which allows for a different set of price different from what we have on-grid.
“For REF, before the end of the year, we will be doing a call for proposal. So, people that are interested and have these sorts of projects can start working out their proposals because we are trying to partner with the private sector to bring some sorts of grants to support you while you bring some equity,” said Ohiare.
Providing details on the likely process for selection of projects for funding, Ohiare stated: “What we intend to do was that we wanted to allow developers come up with some proposals for these communities, but we also want to reduce the burden by doing some of them by ourselves.”
“We have some promoters that have gone to some communities to do some sort of demand studies – they can come up with it when we call for proposals.
“But, it is going to be an open book process, and so we won’t just take any proposal you bring. Of course, we want you to make some profits but we won’t allow you exploit the rural populace,” he added.
Recently, the REA released a Rural Electrification (RE) Strategy and Implementation Plan, with which it hopes to meet Nigeria’s national target of providing electricity to all its citizens. In the plan, the government said it will need about N1.4 trillion to accomplish the target.
Also, contents of the strategy document stated that within the periods 2020 and 2040 the government will attempt to achieve electrification rates of 75 and 100 per cents respectively.
Similarly, the strategy document stated as regards the REF: “The design of the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) and regulations for RE schemes were made specifically to encourage participation and funding contributions by a broad range of stakeholders. In its administration of the REF, the REA will strive to maintain transparency and accountability in its management and allocation of funds.”