The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) will work together to provide a steady supply of electricity to universities and other postsecondary educational establishments around the nation.
Managing Director of REA, Salihijo Ahmad, paid a courtesy call on Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono, on Tuesday in Abuja, and disclosed the proposal.
He applauded REA for implementing the Energising Education Programme (EEP) at a few universities and teaching hospitals around the nation, stating that the significance of a consistent power supply in higher education could not be overstated.
“There is sheer acceptance that this is important for us as we move to improve not just the physical infrastructure but also ICT infrastructure and research infrastructure in our institutions.
“A lot of these require constant supply of power. There are certain samples you must put at a certain temperature for a prolonged period. There are certain operations you do in a medical laboratory that you cannot afford power to cease even for a second.
“And, if we really want to guarantee a learning environment that can compete with others across the globe, one of the primary things we can do is to guarantee power in our campuses,” Echono said.
While urging REA to restructure the project in some of the recipient institutions who have had difficulties with the EEP, Echono stated that TETFund will look into the prospect of obtaining longer-term funding for the scheme’s upcoming iterations from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
“With the instrument we have, we will have subsequent liquidity to defray the cost,” Echono said, “and it will enable us to do more.You can get long-term finance at the affordable interest rate.
“The head of the TETFund stated that obtaining a long-term financing package for the project would be economical because the agency now only has access to short-term (one-year cycle) money.
Salihijo, the Managing Director of REA, had earlier stated that the goal of the EEP is to serve 37 Federal Universities and seven university teaching hospitals in Nigeria with a clean and sustainable power supply.
Salihijo stated that the plan has already started in 24 institutions and a few teaching hospitals, but he still asked for the TETFund’s assistance to make sure the programme is a complete success.
He said “Infrastructure is not just about classrooms and lecture theatres, with the current situation in the country, it is becoming more apparent that we have decentralised power systems. They are very important for our institutions like universities.”
Speaking further, the head of REA stated that expanding the EEP programme across the country’s universities would greatly benefit from receiving more funding for the programme from the TETFund.