President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday described reliable power supply as critical resource to promoting ease of doing business and sustainable economic development.
Buhari stated this while commissioning the Ariaria Market Independent Power project in Aba, as part of activities lined up for his 2019 campaigns in the South East key commercial and industrial hub.
The president noted that the provision of a dedicated power supply to small businesses in the area would strengthen the “Made in Nigeria” programme of the Federal Government which Abia had become synonymous with.
Buhari said his administration was committed to evolving sound economic policies and programmes aimed at boosting national productivity, stressing that the project was a demonstration of the Federal Government’s resolve to protect the interest of every Nigerian irrespective of party differences and constitutional limitations.
Buhari said he had been informed that Ariaria International market contained 37,000 shops which would benefit from the project, adding that 4,000 shops had been connected to new power supply.
“Electricity has no political colour and I was elected to office on the convincing argument my party made about our commitment to security, developing the economy and fighting corruption.
“I am told that in the past traders in this market only got power supply for four hours a day and paid exorbitantly for it, which consequently affected the viability of many businesses.
Buhari said that the Federal Government was replicating the power project in Abia in Kano, Lagos and Ibadan, adding that plans were under way to execute similar initiative in 37 federal universities.
He commended Abia State Government and the people for their response and support toward the success of the power project in the state.
In his speech, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Raji Fashola, said that the project was targeted at making Nigeria a better place.
Fashola said that the policy that facilitated the execution of the power project had provided an avenue for the Federal Government to create an impact that would strengthen small businesses.
In her address, Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi, the Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency, said that decentralised power was an important part of the power sector reform programme.
Ogunbiyi said that first phase of energising 4,000 shops had been completed, which had boosted the activities of 15,000 small and medium-scale enterprises in the market.
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