By Oluwafunke Ishola
The Bank of Industry (BOI) and All On on Monday signed a N1 billion partnership agreement to finance the Niger Delta Off-Grid Energy Fund to enhance access to clean, affordable and reliable power solutions.
Mr Olukayode Pitan, Managing Director, BoI, during the ceremony in Lagos, said the partnership was a result of the bank’s efforts in exploring strategic partnerships with reputable institutions in developing sustainable solutions to facilitate social and industrial development.
Pitan said that the fund would provide local currency debt financing to facilitate the deployment of energy solutions by access-to-energy companies in the Niger Delta at 10 per cent interest rate per annum, with a one-year moratorium, and seven years tenor.
“As you know, power is a critical resource towards achieving industrialisation, and is also a major cost driver for SMEs in Nigeria.
“We are therefore particularly pleased with this partnership as the deployment of this fund will provide clean energy at affordable interest rate and friendly conditions not only to SMEs, but also to households and communities in the Niger Delta region of the country,” he said.
Pitan said that the fund would stimulate the growth and geographic spread of off-grid energy businesses in the Niger Delta to enable households, SMEs and communities have access to clean, affordable and reliable power solutions.
“In the Niger Delta, the majority of the population resides in rural areas and only 34 per cent of these have access to reliable grid power.
“The result is that SMEs in the region use expensive and inefficient diesel and petrol generators, increasing their operational costs, families cook with firewood or kerosene while children study with flashlights or candles with the attendant negative health and safety concerns.
“The provision of clean, affordable, and reliable sources of energy is therefore essential for improved economic activity and livelihoods of the people of the region,” he said.
Also, Dr Wiebe Boer, Chief Executive Officer, All On, said that the partnership would encourage off grid energy companies to deploy in the Niger Delta and address the massive access to energy gap in the region.
“We are excited to partner with the Bank of Industry on the Niger Delta Off-Grid Energy Fund because of their reputation as Nigeria’s leading Development Finance Institutions and their deep experience as one of the earliest investors in the Nigerian off grid energy sector,” he said.
According to him, the company’s activities complement available grid power across Nigeria and help bridge the significant energy gap.
Boer said that the fund was provided equally by the two institutions, but would be operated by the Bank of Industry.
All On is an independent impact investing company, seeded with funding from Shell, and works with partners to increase access to commercial energy products and services for under-served and un-served off-grid energy markets in Nigeria.
The company has a special focus on the Niger Delta, and invests in off-grid energy solutions spanning solar, wind, hydro, biomass and gas technologies deployed by both foreign and local access-to-energy companies. (NAN)