By Kingsley Jeremiah;
The Guardian: 22 October, 2016
As consortium of energy companies recently unveiled plans to power 10 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises with solar energy, just as the Federal Government through the Ministry of State, Industry, Trade and Investment reinstated its commitment to providing strategic action plans for the diversification and growth in the sector.
Speaking at a news conference in Lagos to unveil the project roadmap, the Minister of State Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, said the country must develop a national entrepreneurship that would acquire suitable technology and build competitive production capacities.
The project is being championed by Africa Clean Energy Summit, Africa Clean Energy Group Inc. USA, Always Green Power & Systems Limited and The Environment Communications Limited, and aimed at empowering MSME in Nigeria through the installation of solar generator as alternative to the recently banned mini electricity generating sets, popularly known as “I better pass my neighbour”.
Abubakar, commending the initiative said clean energy remained critical to the survival and growth of small businesses in the country, adding that the plan would aid actualisation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
She noted that the country’s unemployment rate may not see reduction if efforts are not made to develop entrepreneurial opportunities and capacities, which would lead to national economic growth and social wellbeing.
“MSME needs new processes, procedures and automation of activities to be competitive. We must develop a national entrepreneurship that will acquire suitable technology and build competitive production capacities,” Abubakar said.
Abubakar, who was represented by one of the ministry’s acting directors, Francis Alaneme, disclosed that government would soon address the challenge of sub-standard product in the country through its trade partnership across the world.
Stating that the ministry had started the implementation of the NIRP, Abubakar said government has planned key policies that would mitigate challenges faced by MSME in the country.
Director General, Africa Clean Energy Summit, Victor Fodeke, said the project, which, would, in the first phase empower about five million members of the National Assocation of Barbers and Association of Saloon Employers in Nigeria, would address climate change challenges affecting the country.
The project, which is also supported by Sterling Bank Plc and Covenant University, would provide a pocket friendly finance options to the group.He said it was high time for the country to take advantage of renewable energy particularly solar to reduce poverty and move away from the dangers of fossil fuel.
According to him, the solar panel, which is adequately insured, will generate at least five kilowatt of energy per unit, depending on demand, and last for nothing less than 25 years.