The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) says it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oando Clean Energy Limited (OCEL) to boost renewable energy access the country.
Mr Mukhtar Ibrahim, acting Director, Promotions, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, said that the MoU signing is aimed at boostimg collaboration between the private sector and government agencies.
Ibrahim said that the signing of the MoU was as a result of the recently held Solar Power Naija Programme (SPN) Investors’ matchmaking event.
He said that the collaboration between the two agencies marked the beginning of another timely and strategic partnership targeted at exploring new approaches to clean energy development for socio-economic impact in post-subsidy Nigeria.
“A key player in the energy space, the Oando brand activated its clean energy subsidiary, Oando Clean Energy Limited (OCEL) in 2021.
“As the agency continues to play a key role in the nation’s off-grid, renewable energy space, it has maintained a strong history of drawing in private sector investment.
“Facilitating inter-sectorial collaboration and ultimately, aiding the implementation and delivery of fit-for-purpose off-grid solutions nationwide,“ Ibrahim said.
Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of the agency, Mr. Salihijo Ahmad, said the best way to mitigate the effects of subsidy removal was through exploitation of opportunities to optimise the critical role of renewable energy.
Ahmad said that the REA-Oando partnership would bring about mutually beneficial collaboration, knowledge exchange and experiences all targeted at achieving the common goal of optimising renewable energy.
”REA has the history of ensuring that whatever kind of financing is available, there are programmes and initiatives it implements that can be used to deliver impact across the nation,” the director said.
Ahmad commended REA for its approach on understanding and leveraging the role of the private sector players to deliver on the task of sustainable energy access across the country,
Mr Alex Irune, the President of Oando Clean Energy Limited, said that it was keen on renewable energy and excited on the opportunity to create value that the country needs.
Irune expressed confidence on the collaboration with REA, saying that what the agency had effectively done was to take the bull by the horn.
“I would not be signing this MoU today if there wasn’t the enabling environment provided by the REA.
“I commend the REA on its approaches, programmes and achievements over the years and these approaches are sustainable,” he said.
Mr Barka Sajou, Executive Director, Technical Services, REA, explained that the agency’s shift in paradigm on the delivery of fit-for-purpose electrification was to ensure that it delivers on sustainable energy access across the nation.
“And also go beyond just connections and serve as an enabler of growth in communities while targeting electrification projects to people’s sources of livelihood,” he said.
Ms Barbara Izilien, Head of Solar Power Naija Programme, said that the agency had continued to deepen private sector engagements targeted at drawing in funding sustainably while expanding access across the nation.
Izilien said that the intention of the collaboration was to encourage private sector investment to deploy sustainable renewable energy projects across the country.
He said: “We are trying to grow the funding of the Solar Power Naija and this MoU signing will support the expansion targets of the REA in providing energy access to communities.
“The repositioned REA has over the years strengthened ties with key stakeholders in the private sector and the development space.
“Beyond that, the agency had realigned itself with the state governments through the Nigeria Governors Forum.”
Izilien said that the initiative was in line with the mandate of the REA that state governments continue to play a pivotal role in the agency’s consistent deployment of people-centred electrification projects.
By Constance Athekame