She said a large percentage of the sum would be used to revive the numerous abandoned electricity projects scattered across various rural communities in the country.
Kuchi spoke at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Power in Abuja on Tuesday during the inauguration of an 11-man board for the Rural Electrification Agency.
“The funding for the REA is N16bn this year and that will go squarely for the development of the abandoned projects in our rural areas. The abandoned projects have been identified and we advise proper funding for these projects,” she said.
The minister stated that the agency had been in existence for a long time, though its presence was poorly felt by rural dwellers.
According to her, the inauguration of the board is aimed at reviving the nearly comatose agency and stressed that the members should focus on the development of appropriate technologies for rural electrification.
Kuchi said, “Our target is to achieve 75 per cent rural electrification access by 2020. This is your charge. Your key indicators will include the number of rural communities that have access to electricity and the number of investors who we are able to attract to the rural electrification sub-sector.
“Others are the extent to which we are able to garner information on local technology and work towards their application in the rural electrification agency; and how many jobs we are able to create in the rural economy and the impact to which we are able to have on socio-economic development in the rural areas.”
The minister said electricity, under Nigerian laws fell within the concurrent list, adding that the federal, states and local governments could participate in its provision.
Kuchi explained that the new policy focus was to ensure greater synergy in terms of planning, content of programmes and projects, and in actual implementation.
Speaking on behalf of the members, the REA Board Chairman, Senator Jonathan Zwingina, said the short history of the agency was replete with ups and downs.
He commended the President for putting back the agency on track and pledged that the board would bring power to the rural communities.
– Okechukwu Nnodim, The Punch