Sterling Bank Plc and a consortium of African Energy Summit, Africa Clean Energy Group Incorporated of the United States, Always Green Power & Systems and The Environment Communications Limited are set to create 20 million direct and indirect jobs through the supply of solar energy to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) under a national power programme across the country.
Speaking recently in Lagos during the first inception media chat and presentation of the roadmap for the programme, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar said her ministry was partnering with the consortium on this project because consistent power supply is critical to the survival of MSMEs.
The minister further stated that clean energy such as solar power could be a right step to actualizing the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP). She noted that the task involved in the diversification of the economy is enormous, adding that it will neither happen quickly nor easily.
Abubakar said she was aware that the consortium was into collaboration with the National Association of Barbers and Salons Employers of Nigeria with the understanding that the association would mobilize over 10 million of its members to subscribe to the supply of solar power generators.
“Also, they are partnering with the Bank of Industry (BoI) and NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Decelopment) who have shown interest in the project and collaborating to roll out the first batch of the solar generators to members of the National Association of Barbers and Salons Employers of Nigeria under the solar generators supply and installation agreement for empowering MSMEs in Nigeria. The Consortium is partnering with the Covenant University, Ota in the area of research, capacity building and innovation for solar installers/maintenance and technicians,” she explained.
The minister who was represented by a senior official of the ministry, Dr. Francis Alaneme stressed that in implementing NIRP, seven supporting structures of enablers are identified for which infrastructure is one that is addressing energy challenge.
“Nigerian industrial roadmap has captured innovation as one of the enablers, as it underpins sustainable evolution, modernization and improvements in industrial activities. MSMEs need 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. Nigerian economy’s prosperity is highly dependent on a vibrant entrepreneurship sector,’ she added. She argued that a solution to the unemployment challenge in Nigeria is the development of entrepreneurial opportunities and capacity, which lead to national economic growth and social well being.
Also speaking, a former General Manager of the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Dr. Adetokunbo Adedeji stated that the initiative would create 20 million direct and indirect jobs across the country. He identified inadequate energy supply as one of the greatest problems facing MSMEs in the country.
“There is interruption of electricity, lack of fuel to power their generators and in some cases, contaminated fuel. There will be no group that will be as lucky as you are. Believe me, your neighbours will envy you. You are doing something novel that no group has ever done and there are a lot of benefits in it,” he said.
Adedeji explained that Nigeria is 25 years behind the global quest for cleaner energy, adding that in other parts of the world, electricity is generated largely through alternative sources such as solar and wind.