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SMEs to benefit as REA moves to implement AfDB funded off-grid project

SMEs to benefit as REA moves to implement AfDB funded off-grid projectThe Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has said arrangements are being concluded for the implementation of component two; ‘Productive Use Appliances and Equipment in Off-Grid Communities of the African Development Bank (AfDB) financed Nigeria Electrification Project.

Being implemented with collaboration with the Power Africa Nigeria Power Support Programme, Managing Director/CEO of REA, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, who spoke in an online meeting said the organisation has reached a milestone in the implementation of the funded project.

He said the project supports mini-grid developers through the productive use subsidy programme to encourage the use of low-cost productive appliances at solar mini-grid electrified communities in order to improve economic activities.

According to him, the component uses a result-based framework for investors and energy access companies to incorporate the distribution and sale of energy-efficient productive use appliances in their regular line of activities.

“The objective is to increase the productive use of energy in rural communities by facilitating access to efficient, electric productive equipment.

“The Component also serves to activate the productive use appliance market and make productive uses of power a critical enabler to sustainable economic development while scaling up energy access,” Ahmad said.

He added that the development would also encourage developers to make productive use of power and energy-efficient appliances a part of their overall strategy for mini-grid viability.

The Director added that the component would target operating private mini-grid developers and prospective energy access businesses in Nigeria preparing business plans and incorporating the pre-determined Performance-Based Grant in their financial projections.

The grant would be available for existing businesses who have developed sustainable business plans for the deployment of their systems with productive appliances and equipment for off-grid communities, Ahmad added.

Speaking at the event, Chief Regional Program Officer of African Development Bank, Mamadou Diagne who was represented by a representative of the bank, Chukuwdozie Okpalaobieri, reiterated the importance of the component in achieving Nigeria’s development objectives/

“It is well known that Energy access can be a critical enabler of economic development, particularly when coupled with productive uses of energy. The Bank is pleased with the level of participation during the webinar and critical inputs to build on the design of the component,” Diagne stated.

The Head of NEP-AfDB Project Management Unit, Kenny Anuwe, stated “We implore developers to use this opportunity towards stimulating economic growth of beneficiary communities”

Energy Advisor and Acting USAID Power Africa Team Lead, Narlene Egu, said: “Mini-grid developers play a key role in what is set to be achieved with this component of the programme. We will continue to interact with key stakeholders to ensure its sustainability.

A participant, who is the Chief Executive Officer, Nayo Tropical Technology Limited, Anayo Okenwa, stressed that the event exposed developers to understand the requirements and expectations of delivering quality services to project beneficiaries and the practice of encouraging smart economic returns for rural electricity users through the use of energy-efficient productive appliances.

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