The Bank of Industry has noted that the absence of electricity is a major constraint to social and economic development of rural communities in the country.
A statement from the bank quoted its Managing Director, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, as saying this in his reaction to a United Nation’s award for sustainable development given to the bank in recognition of its deployment of off-grid electrification projects in some select rural communities across the country.
The ‘Outstanding Sustainable Project Financing’ award was given to the bank at the 2017 edition of the Global Sustainable Conference, held in Karlsruhe, Germany, the statement indicated.
The award was said to recognise outstanding success in long-term financing of exemplary industrial/commercial or infrastructure projects that benefit local communities, protect the environment and ensure reliable returns to investors and lenders.
Pitan said that the recognition bestowed on the BoI underscored its unwavering commitment to the fulfilment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, described as access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
He said, “The award will further motivate the bank and its development partner UNDP to increase their investment in the solar electrification space. This is because the absence of electricity is a major constraint to the social and economic development of the rural communities in particular, and the country in general.”
According to him, the bank in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme was through its Access to Renewable Energy project already piloting the deployment of micro-grid and stand-alone solar solutions in the off-grid communities across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria.
He added that last year, the Development Finance Institution signed a $2m pact with the UNDP for the implementation of the second phase of the solar power electrification projects.
According to him, the implementation of the solar projects has improved livelihood, promoted technology transfer, protected lives and curbed the usual rural-urban drift in the benefitting communities.
He said, “In order to achieve universal access to energy for inclusive growth across Nigeria, it is imperative that clean energy solutions are deployed for both residential and productive uses.
“In view of the BoI’s mandate to transform Nigeria’s industrial sector, and the significant role that the availability of reliable power supply for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises plays to actualise this mandate, the bank has an outlook to achieve provision of solar electricity to serve various industrial clusters of micro and small businesses at the bottom of the pyramid, as well as for medium-scale enterprises, which can power their business operations with clean energy in a profitable manner.”
He also expressed the determination of the bank to replicate and scale up rural off-grid projects in at least one off-grid community in each of the 36 states of Nigeria, with a focus to also provide solar electricity for more MSMEs, apart from the households within the target communities.