The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the sourcing of a fresh $247.3 million (about N76 billion at the official rate of N306/$) for the provision of rural electrification projects in the country as well some road projects in Lagos State.

Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who briefed newsmen on outcome of yesterday’s FEC meeting, said government is optimistic that these projects, when completed, would significantly boost the nation’s economy.

Giving a breakdown of the external loan, the Minister said $150 million would come from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and used specifically on rural electrification projects.

She said further that $50 million would be sourced from Africa Grow Together Fund for other electrification projects, while $20 million from French Development Agency would be loaned to the Lagos State government to build new roads and rehabilitate existing ones.

It was disclosed that another $27.3 million IADE facility was approved as part of the ‘North Core Dorsal Regional Transmission Project, which would be part of the West Africa Power Pool projects with a total loan requirement of $640 million.

According to Mrs Ahmed, the projects were to connect Nigeria, Niger, Benin Republic, Togo, and Burkina Faso “with a high voltage 330 kilowatts transmission line, to facilitate energy trade among participant countries.”

“Council approved three memos for Ministry of Finance. First, it approved a $150 million loan facility from AfDB and $50 million loan from African Grow Together Fund to finance the Nigerian electrification project. The project is a nationwide initiative to be implemented by the rural electrification agency.“

The project aligns with the strategy of the federal government on electrification of rural communities. The project has four components: First is solar hybrid mini-grid for rural economic development, the second is productive appliances equipment for up-grid communities, and the third is energising education while the fourth component is institutional capacity building.

“The impact of the project when fully implemented, about 500,000 people will be able to have access to electricity for about 105,000 households. The maximum power that will be generated will be 76.5 megawatts installed generating capacity part of which is 68,000 megawatts of solar.“

Eight universities will benefit from this scheme and about 20,000 small, micro, medium enterprises across different communities in the nation.“The second approval is the North Core Dorsal Regional Transmission Project. This is a project that is part of the pipeline for the West Africa power pool priority projects. The intention is for the creation of a regional power pool in the region of West Africa. The pool project aims to connect Nigeria, Niger, Benin Republic, Togo, and Burkina Faso with a high voltage 330 kilowatts transmission line, to facilitate energy trade among participants.

“The project is in the total sum of $640 million, out of which each of the four countries involved has a component. Nigeria has the smallest component in this pact, which is a total loan of $27.3 million IADE facility, a concessionary loan.

“This is a loan that the four countries are taking together; the other three countries have concluded theirs. So, this is one of the final stages for Nigeria to conclude its process,” the Minister explained to journalists in Abuja yesterday.