By G9ija

Alhaji Saleh Mamman, the Minister of Power has reiterated Federal Government’s determination to address the country`s power challenges.

Mamman gave the assurance while commissioning of a 47.5 solar energy system at the Doka Rural Hospital, in Doka, a community in Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

He urged  members of the community to protect the facility.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project was funded by the European Union and implemented by the UKAid in partnership with the Kaduna State Government.

The minister said the project was particularly unique because it was conceived under the technical assistance programme through the Nigerian solar programme.

He added  the project demonstrated how partnership and collaboration among stakeholders could lead to concrete results.

“In this case, the Department for International Development (DFID) partnered with Kaduna state government to develop this project, providing reliable electricity supply.

“This will improve the lives of the people through improved health care, education, water and job creation.

“Our being here today, reflects a deliberate demonstration of the importance both the state and Federal Government attached to the provision of electricity in remote and underserved communities across the country,’’ the minister said.

He said that government intended to use distributed power generation with locally available resource such as solar to achieve the feat, saying that the support received from development partners was appreciated.

Mamman noted that the Federal Government would continue to provide enabling environment in the form of policy and regulatory frameworks and basic infrastructure to ensure the provision of affordable electricity across the country.

The minister said that the Federal Government had developed the required policies and regulatory instruments that allowed for close working relationship with development partners and the private sector.

This, the minister said, was to lay a solid foundation upon which Nigerians would have access to reliable and sustainable electricity supply at affordable prices.

He listed some of the policies to include Rural Electricity Strategy and Implementation Plan, Mini-Grid Regulations, and Sustainable Energy for All.

The minister said new programmes had also been initiated to support off-grid power which included Renewable Energy Micro-Utility, Energy Education Programme and Energising Economy Programme.

He said that at least, 20 new mini-grid projects had been commissioned across the country between 2017 and 2018 which were mostly developed through public private partnership.

“Our grid power generation capacity today is over 7,500 MW, the transmission capacity has also improved to 7,000MW.

“This development is responsible for the improvement in power supply witnessed by customers all over the country recently.

“ Distribution remains the weak link within our system and is receiving the desired attention at optimising her operations for the good of all.

“ It is my believe that with these efforts, we will soon address the problems of power supply to our teeming population, creating new economic and social development for our people,’’ the minister said.

Speaking at the event, Mr Ketil Karlsen, Head of European Union Delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said affordable reliable energy was key to the development of every society.

He said that it would be impossible to build any economy without energy, saying that renewable energy was part of solution of most of the challenges confronting the country.

Karlsen said the European Union would continue to work with the Federal Government to build a better society for the ordinary citizen.

Dr Hadiza Balarabe who represented the Kaduna state governor at the event, thanked development partners for the project, noting that no society could function without a healthy people.

She said the provision of energy was critical to providing good health and improving health care facilities in the state and across the country generally.

“Solar energy has provided for us a much needed solution to the issue of access to universal basic healthcare for all citizens of Kaduna state.

“Since the installation of the first Kaduna solar for health system in 2017, we have been recording substantial increase in patient attendance at the affected hospitals when compared to others without solar,”  she said.