By Emmanuel Nduka
The South Korean Government has pledged to donate $12.4 million to the Nigerian Government for the construction of solar mini-grids.
This was disclosed by South Korea’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Kim Young Choe, at an interactive session with Nigeria’s Senate Committee on Power chaired by Senator Gabriel Suswam, on Thursday.
The Committee had called for the meeting to clarify certain issues regarding the stand-alone mini-grid project to be funded by the South Korean government and gifted to Nigeria.
Speaking, the Ambassador explained that the nuclear energy options currently used in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are based on South Korea’s model and powered by South Korean companies as well.
While stating that Nigeria should also benefit from the same technology, he informed that the solar mini-grid project valued at $12.4 million is a grant from his country to Nigeria, and not a loan.
Choe also confirmed that all the four mini-grids would be sited in the Federal Capital Territory with the construction and maintenance of the project to be handled by South Korean contractors.
The committee welcomed the gift, while some lawmakers expressed a few reservations about the decision of the South Korean Government to have all the grids sited in Abuja.
Sen. Suswam thus urged the South Korean Government to consider a spread that would leave Abuja, with one grid and at least two in each of the six geopolitical zones.
Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Salihijo Ahmad, supported the Senate Committee’s suggestion that the grids should be spread across the country.
He also expressed concerns about the sustainability of the project and the possibility of having Nigerian companies work on it.
Responding, Choe promised to forward the request to his Government in Seoul for consideration and possible imolementation.