Traders at AbibatMogaji Model Market Iponri in Lagos will enjoy uninterrupted power supply as the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) under the ministry of Power and charged with ramping electricity access in rural areas has taken the Federal Government Energizing Economies scheme to the market.
It is expected that Iponri traders will join others in Sura, to enjoy stable off-grid power without recourse to deafening generators after the project was inspected on January 19 by Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing.
Fashola said the Micro, Small Medium Enterprise (MSME) operators are the engine of growth in any economy,are hard working and the government’s ease of doing business targets them specifically.
“First, we understand that energy is an important component of their businesses. They pay between N2,000 to N5,000 just for supply of energy. Now the solution we have brought for them has reduced that cost.”
The minister also that the initiative was part of the Federal government’s resolve in ensuring an inclusive government.
“The other thing is that we are now implementing also the policy that no government before us was committed to developing energy through mini grid.
“So, Iponri, for example is now being powered by solar, it is also renewable. For those who asked, where is renewable policy? Come and see it in Iponri. It is in Sabon-gari and it is still also coming up in many other markets.
“You will have heard that from the shop owners that they now have the right and privilege to choose between the solar and the grid because they have both.
“There are traces of where the grids and generators were and you have heard from some of them saying that they have left their generators behind because they are too noisy and were too unhealthy because there are carbon emissions.
Damilola Ogunbiyi ,Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency (REA), said the mini-grid currently served 450 shops out of 1700 shops at Iponri.
Ogunbiyialso said that the shops were in different tiers depending on their level of consumption on the solar hybrid power system which has 700kw capacity.
The Iponri market is being electrified by high capacity solar stand-alone systems installed across the market with an on-site state-of-the-art customer service shop managed by a private sector developer, Iponri Market Energy Solutions Limited run by Resource Energy.
Iponri market is a shopping complex located in Surulere, Lagos. Businesses in Iponri market are mainly souvenir shops, electronic products, tailoring services, financial services and printing services and over 450 shops will benefit in the scheme.
Iponri market, Lagos is one of many phase 1 markets under FG’s Energizing Economies Initiative which aims to provide constant and reliable power to economic clusters across the country. The project is billed to be replicated in about 300 market clusters across the country.
The 450 shops in Iponri market benefiting from the programme are currently metered and energized. IMESL has set up and manages a customer service shop which has an extensive remote sensing network.
The government has said over 200,000 small businesses will enjoy 24 hours power delivery through the initiative starting with the completion of one of the pilot projects, the Sura Shopping Market Complex.
The complex which has 1,047 shops has been metered and energized, leading to the decommissioning of over 700 generators and a 15% increase in occupancy rate REA said.
Ogunbiyi in a recent press conference said these off-grid solutions arise to find a solution to the challenge of inadequate power which is haemorrhaging small business in Nigeria.
The project will be executed in Sura Shopping Complex in Lagos, SabonGari Market in Kano and Ariaria market in Abia State. The customers buy power at N50 per kilowatt hour rather than N32 DisCos are compelled to sell.
The projects are constructed by the private sector with the government agency merely providing enabling environment, says AyangOgbe, director of promotions at the REA.