In pursuit of economic recovery and implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), the federal government has announced the installation of N140 billion solar systems in five million homes this week.
According to the government, beneficiaries of the initiative would be the under-served and off-grid communities across the country.
According to THISDAY Newspaper, the package would include assembly and manufacturing of components of off-grid solutions to facilitate the growth of the local manufacturing industry with the use of incentivised local content.
Confirming the development, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity (Office of the Vice-President), Mr. Laolu Akande, said work plan for implementation of the solar home systems, which he described as a component of the ESP, showed that the first set of installations would be executed nationwide this December.
The programme, it was learnt, would be beneficial to about 25 million Nigerians in 5 million homes, who live mostly in rural communities and not connected to the national grid.
Being one of the recommendations of the Economic Sustainability Committee chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo earlier in the year, the initiative will be funded by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The CBN, according to the arrangement, will make funds available to private companies in the solar power sub-sector that are involved in manufacturing, assembling, installation and servicing of solar systems at five to 10 per cent credit rates, lower than the current commercial lending rates in the country.
The objective of providing cheap credit for companies involved in the programme, it was learnt, is to significantly reduce the cost of acquiring the system by end-users, most of who are not yet connected to the national grid.
The reduction in the lending rate is expected to be a big incentive for the private sector under the ESP with more affordable power and energy for 25 million Nigerians when compared to consumers of electric power.
“The solar home system as an important component of the Buhari administration’s ESP is designed as part of measures by the federal government to ramp up power supply across the country by catering specifically for communities not connected to the national grid. It is also part of the administration’s strategy to address the overall challenges and issues in the power sector as Solar is not only cheaper but also considered to be cleaner and renewable.
“Aside from providing access to affordable energy, the objective of the plan is to improve social, economic and environmental welfare of 25 million Nigerians while generating jobs, increasing revenues and import substitution.
“Regarding jobs, the ESP 5m Solar installation is expected to create about 250,000 jobs including in manufacturing, assembling, installations, maintenance and payment systems,” the presidency said.
Nigeria Lacks Space To Store Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine —- NIMR
The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research says there is not enough space at the moment to store the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines which are expected to arrive next week.
The Director-General of NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Salako, said this during an interview with The PUNCH on Saturday.
Salako revealed that Nigeria had freezers in different parts of the country to store the Pfizer vaccines at -70 degrees centigrade.
He, however, said most of these freezers were occupied and were storing medical supplies which also need to be stored at a low temperature.
Responding to a question, Salako said, “Our facilities can hold Pfizer vaccines at -70 degrees but we don’t have enough of such freezers, and the ones we have are even full at the moment. We even just got one that we have yet to install but how many samples can it even hold?
“Even if we rearrange things, I doubt if we can store more than a few hundred or thousands.”
When asked if other facilities besides NIMR could hold such vaccines, he said, “There are many -80 freezers around in the research institutes and universities but the point is that many of them have samples inside them. So, even if we evacuate, I don’t think we will all be able to do more than a few thousands.”
Salako said storage was the minor problem, adding that the major challenge would be how to transport the vaccines at the temperature of -70 to rural areas.
The NIMR boss argued that in the future, Nigeria may need to buy other brands that do not require such low temperatures like Pfizer.
Salako noted that other brands like Oxford/AstraZeneca could be stored at normal freezer temperature while the Russian vaccine could also be stored at a temperature not as low as Pfizer.
He said, “The problem is not just about storing vaccines but moving it to the rural areas and maintaining that same temperature. For example, if you land in Lagos and you store it at -70 and it has to be transported over the creek somewhere, how do you move them? There are other ways but they will be very costly. They can store them with liquid nitrogen or even dry ice but it will cost a lot of money.
“AstraZeneca would have been better because it would stay at normal freeze temperature and I think even Russian vaccines can be stored at the same temperature but I think the government is going with Pfizer because the World Health Organisation has given it an emergency approval.
“But I think all the vaccines are now being deployed in many countries. So, we can do all of them rather than do just one considering the storage capacity for Pfizer. Even the government knows that we don’t have enough space but we can be taken in batches.”
Only God Can Give Victory Over Insecurity —– Femi Adesina
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says Nigerians who fail to commit the security situation into the hands of God could be guilty of indirectly prolonging the war against insurgency.
Adesina said this in an article on Thursday titled, ‘The Decent for the Indecent, the Just for the Unjust’.
The President’s aide noted that a short viral video showed a soldier and four others singing that victory is from God alone.
Adesina, however, said many Nigerians had failed to understand that only God gives victory.
He wrote, “But victory is from God alone. That is what we must realize as Nigerians. Do we ever pray for our troops in the frontlines? Do we remember those youths, our pride, and strength, faced by death daily, as we sleep in the comfort of our homes, ensconced in the tender bosom of our wives?
“As we pray; God give me money. Give me a car. Give me a promotion. Kill my enemies. Do it now. Do we ever remember our soldiers? Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray…did you pray for our soldiers? Victory comes from God alone. If you don’t pray, you may be guilty of prolonging the war in North-East, North-west, North-central, and all over Nigeria.”
The President’s spokesman said rather than understand the fact that only God can give victory, some Nigerians had become wailers.
“Yes, victory is from God alone. But do some people know? Does it ever enter into their consciousness? They only wail: ‘this insurgency war has lasted too long. The banditry has demystified our military. They are cowards. The top guns don’t even want the battle to end.
“They are making money in billions.’ Okay. Making money in billions and wasting our soldiers, our youths, our future, and hope, in their hundreds and thousands because of blood money. That is all some people see; permanent cynics and sceptics, who know nothing of altruism, and whose God is their belly. They think only of pecuniary gain, nothing else,” Adesina said.
He said as the nation marks this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Nigerians should seize the opportunity to pray for the military and encourage them and not run them down.
JUST IN: Lagos Okays School Reopening January 18
The Lagos State Government has affirmed its earlier pronouncement that all public and private schools in Lagos State below tertiary level should resume on Monday, January 18, 2021, for the second term 2020/2021 academic session.
This affirmation was made today by the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo while noting that this is in line with the Federal Government’s resolution after reaching a consensus with relevant stakeholders.