The Minister of Power, Mr Babatunde Fashola, says the Federal Government is committed to providing affordable electricity to the rural populace across Nigeria.
Mr Fashola gave the assurance on Monday when he visited the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, at Government House in Uyo.
The minister was in the state for a meeting with contractors and engineers in the power sector.
He told reporters that 218 containers with electrification equipment, which had been delayed for three years, would be delivered this week. He expressed confidence that the delivery of the containers would significantly boost government’s electrification program.
“We moved our meeting here for a purpose which was to drive all our contractors and engineers to finish Ikot Ekpene, Alaoja, Calabar and Afam sub-stations and transmission lines so that they can evacuate the power from Ibom Power to the substations.
“Those four power plants have a combined capacity of over 1,800 megawatts but they are currently performing at about 600–700 megawatts because there is no evacuation capacity. So, that is what we came to do.
“Every community we go to, we also evaluate their transmission problems. Now that we are in your state, we are looking at what is going on in the zone.
“We are making progress because many of the projects that had stopped because of non-payment of contractors have started working again since president Buhari came on board,” he said.
As part of plans to transform the rural areas, the minister said that the Federal Government had put plans in place for the take-off of the Rural Electrification Implementation program in 2017.
He explained that the programme would commence with the electrification of 37 universities located in rural areas across Nigeria.
“The Rural Electrification Implementation Program of the Federal Government will take off in 2017.
“The project, which aims at deepening access to power in the rural areas, will start with 37 universities mostly located in the rural areas,” he told reporters.
Mr Fashola also assured Governors of different states that the Federal Government was currently processing the reimbursement of funds spent by states on the repair of federal infrastructure.
He said: “We are working with the Ministries of Finance, Budget and Planning, and all relevant authorities. Already, verification of claims has been concluded”.
Governor Udom Emmanuel lauded the minister for his efforts to ensure steady and affordable electricity in all parts of Nigeria.
He was particularly gladdened by the minister’s assurance that the state government would soon be reimbursed for funds spent on federal infrastructure in the state.
“It gladdens my heart to hear from you that issues we raised as a state are being addressed especially the issue of reimbursement for the funds we spent on federal infrastructure in our state.
“We will continue to encourage collaboration between our state and the Federal Government to make life meaningful for our people. Thank you for the visit. Let me assure you of our cooperation and support for the policies of the federal government,” Governor Emmanuel stated
The Federal Government is currently owing Akwa Ibom State government 140 billion Naira being money spent by the state government on the repair of federal roads.