By Obas Esiedesa
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has granted a 9.5 megawatts embedded electricity generation licence to Ariaria Market Independent Power Plant Limited and an Independent Electricity Distribution Licence to distribute same within Ariaria Market to Ariaria Independent Energy Distribution Network Limited.
The commission in a statement by its Head, Media Unit, Mrs. Vivian Mbonu said the licences, were issued in line with Section 71(6) of the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005.
Mrs. Mbonu explained that the licences were granted after careful consideration of the applications in public interest to promote access to common goods and to promote commercialisation and industrialisation for which Ariaria, a leading commercial hub in the country is reputed for.
Both licences granted to Araiaria were affirmation of the commission’s commitment and response to the long-time yearnings of the market for a stable, reliable and sustainable electricity supply to improve quality of goods and services by Nigerian enterprises and entrepreneurs, she added.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola had inspected the Ariaria market electricity project last month and disclosed that at least 50,000 shops would benefit from it.
The project under the Public-Private-Partnership model will supply power to the shops from solar installations and gas fired turbine.
With about 68 shops already connected, the first phase targets about 37,000 shops in the ever busy market.
Fashola explained that the project would supply electricity to the market above the current 5,148kw/h power.
He pointed out that Ariaria market was the best place for anyone who wants to promote made in Nigeria products, saying he first noticed the power supply challenge in the market while coming there to purchase goods in the 1990s.
He said: “The first point I want to emphasis is that you have heard in some places that it is difficult to provide service because the constitution creates a problem or because the federal government has control. But Ariaria is, first, an example again of what partnership, what true public service partnership can deliver irrespective of what the law says.
“The President who recognizes the need to support those who spend their time developing made in Nigeria products and a governor who is also connected toward the same commitment.
“It brings both party to same wavelength. So irrespective of what the law says they decide to restructure in order to provide to the people”.
He noted that the service providers assured the project would come at an affordable charges, stressing that before now over N7 million is being spent on running generators on a daily basis in the market.
“Over N7 million is being spent daily paying for generators on this market, and investors are saying we can do the same business for less, and in a cleaner, healthier and noiseless way. And we think that this is where the real power of small businesses, the real capacity of made-in Nigeria can be unleashed” he added.