United Nations International Development Organisation secures $2.6 million from Global Environment Facility to support rural electrification in Nigeria
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Feb 8, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE United Nations International Development Organisation, UNIDO, has slated $2.6 million as support fund for rural electricity programme in Nigeria. Philippe Scholtes, managing director for programme development and technical cooperation division of UNIDO, said the fund was secured for Nigeria from Global Environment Facilities, GEF, to improve its electricity generation in rural communities across the country.
Scholtes, who disclosed this in Abuja, when he visited Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of science and technology, explained that the fund will be used to generate power through small scale hydro power to ensure electricity get to rural areas in the country. “We made the case; we obtained funding for 2.6 million dollars to help us demonstrate the small scale hydro power to powerhouse and factories in places that have not been reached by the electricity. This project funded by Global Environment Facility funds is meant to help countries address environment issues that can benefit the global communities,” he said.
With the fund, Scholtes said investors in Nigeria would be encouraged to execute the project and expand it to disseminate the kind of technology needed. He, however, expressed UNIDO’s interest to strengthen its relationship with Nigeria to grow necessary areas that would contribute to the growth of the nation. “UNIDO will work to support inclusive and sustainable industrial development and also find a way to help Nigeria build green technology through skills development and innovation.”
Responding, the minister commended UNIDO for its support and contributions to Nigeria and the global community with the partnership to grow energy and on agro-business. He solicited for more support from UNIDO to further increase its efforts to boosting agriculture to ensure food security in the country.
With this financial support, it is expected that the federal government would complete the operation light-up-rural Nigeria introduced by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Jonathan had in 2013 inaugurated operation light-up-rural Nigeria in Durumi community, Bwari Area Council of Abuja with a pledge to ensure constant power supply to Nigerians.
The project was aimed at using renewable energy to get electricity across to rural communities in all the 36 states of the federation, especially communities not connected to the national grid. “We are starting the year by giving light to our people, especially in the rural communities. Operation Light up rural Nigeria has been initiated under the second phase of our power sector reform programme planned for the post privatisation period,” he said.
According to Jonathan, the initiative was conceived primarily to promote the use of renewable energy, thereby assisting the vision of providing reliable electricity supply to all Nigerians. He said the project would go a long way in providing clean, cheap and reliable renewable energy that would address some of the challenges of climate change in the country. The former president said the project would be launched in at least three communities in each of the 36 states of the federation, under the first phase of the programme.