Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) hold the key to the development of the nation’s economy.
Inaugurating the 1.5 megawatts Independent Power Plant (IPP) at the Sura Shopping Complex in Lagos, Osinbajo urged the private sector to key into achieving the Federal Government’s economic development goals through MSMEs.
He said that the federal government would continue to implement visible improvements, reforms and interventions that would be impactful in people’s lives and businesses across the country.
“This cannot be achieved without government partnering with private sector, development partners and fellow Nigerians after it has created the enabling environment.
“ We are committed to being transparent as we strive to make Nigeria an easier and cheaper place in which to do business. You all have a critical role to play in ensuring that we succeed.
“Sura Shopping Complex now has reliable, affordable power, thanks to private sector and the government working hand-in-hand.
“As a result, the small businesses in this shopping complex will be more productive. We have made another dent in unemployment and poverty reduction.
“My hope is that we can apply the same formula – innovation, resilience, and partnership – to help Nigeria realise its potential,’’ he said.
Speaking at the inauguration, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that the mini power grid was a clear demonstration of federal government initiative in developing the power sector through solar energy and renewable energy.
He said that the project, executed under Energising Economies Initiative (EEI), was part of the government’s efforts at easing power shortage to over 200,000 MSMEs.
He said that with the mini power grid, 799 generators would have been decommissioned, thereby reducing harmful greenhouse emissions and noise pollution when the project was completed.
He said that besides, the initiative would create over 2,500 jobs and reduce carbon emissions by 25,000 metric tonnes annually.
“Sura Shopping Complex, an ultra-modern complex located in Lagos, has over 11 different businesses.
“It ranges from printing, branding, financial services, equipment maintenance, catering to tailoring services. The complex has 1,047 shops which had been metered,” Fashola.
He said that the project was built and managed by a private sector developer, Solad Holdings Ltd.
In her speech, the Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi, commended federal government for the EEI which was helping to improve the country’s economy.
“The EEI aspires to increase energy access and economic growth by assisting private sector developers to provide clean, reliable and affordable power to economic clusters, such as markets, shopping complexes and agricultural/industrial clusters.
“Over the next four to five years, we want to reach 500 thousand small businesses within 350 economic clusters. The role of FGN through the REA is critical to the success of this initiative.
“ This includes providing data like Energy audits, programme management support, community relation support and stakeholder management.
“The programme support for this project is also being provided by Power Africa through technical assistance support from Deliotte and Mckinsey. We appreciate their support and contributions,” he added.
The Sura shopping complex has 17 equipment maintenance shops, 53 real estate agents, three banks, 43 tailoring shops, 80 law firms, 55 retailers, 47 management consulting offices, 15 printing and branding offices, 22 catering outlets and 5 E-commerce centre.