President Muhammadu Buhari said Tuesday that reliable power supply was critical to promoting ease of doing business to ensure sustainable and improved Nigerian economy.
Mr Buhari spoke while commissioning the Ariaria Market Independent Power project in Aba.
He said the provision of a dedicated power supply to small businesses in the area would strengthen the “Made in Nigeria” programme of the Federal Government of which Abia had become synonymous with.
Mr Buhari said the present administration was committed to evolving sound economic policies and programmes aimed at boosting national productivity.
He said the project was a demonstration of the Federal Government’s resolve to protect the interest of every Nigerian irrespective of party difference and constitutional limitations.
Mr 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.
Mr Buhari said that the Federal Government was replicating the power project in Abia in Kano, Lagos and Ibadan.
He said plans were underway to execute similar initiative in 37 federal universities.
He commended Abia Government and the people of Abia 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, Raji Fashola, said the project was targeted at making Nigeria a better place.
Mr Fashola said 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.
“Federal Government approved the mini-grid policy in 2016 and within one year of assumption in office, what should have been done in 2006 when the Power Sector Reform Act was enacted was done,’’ Mr Fashola said.
In her address, Damilola Ogunbiyi, the Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency, said decentralised power was an important part of the power sector reform programme.