FG urges Total to manufacture solar products locally

The Federal Government has challenged Total Nigeria Plc to consider local manufacturing of solar-powered and environment-friendly lamps in the country.

This is coming on the heels of the unveiling of ‘Awango’ portable solar marking new investments by Total Nigeria as part of its corporate social responsibility.

The Minister of State for Power, Hajia  Zainab Kuchi, in a statement on Wednesday, was quoted as saying the government was willing to give all the necessary support to investors in solar-powered products by creating the enabling environment through fiscal policy incentives.

She said such a move would help the government to achieve the goal of cleaner environment and protection of health of millions of Nigerians from hazardous, environment-degrading products in the domestic market.

The minister said, “This past six months, we have been preaching renewable energy for total lighting up of Nigeria, and I see this effort of Total Nigeria Plc as an answer or rather a response to one of those calls.

“We are very desirous of having companies move into this sector, when we talk about renewable energy or talking about biomass, solar and even small hydro. The scope is very wide because in essence, the national grid is saturated and we need to off load and the only way we can light up right to the remotest villages in Nigeria is to just have this kind of answer.”

Kuchi said further, “We look forward to Total getting bigger in this investment. I understand this is part of your corporate social responsibility but when I was talking to the President, I’m still worried about the prices because we are not only talking about our mothers, we are talking about our real villagers and the cheaper it is the more accessible it can be to them.”

While encouraging the management of the oil firm to consider investing on local manufacture of the products in view of the socio-economic benefits to the country, the minister said government would be willing to offer tax and other economic incentives to investors in all aspects of renewable energy.

The Chairman of the company, Mr. Momar  Nguer, said Total Nigeria introduced the solar product into the Nigerian market as part of its long-term plan to become “everyday energy partner and improve the living standards of communities without reliable access to energy in IECD countries.”

“Our aim is to provide access lighting for five per cent off grid households in Nigeria by selling one million lamps by 2017. It is worthy to mention that ‘Awango by Total’ was not borne out of purely economic reasons but out of Total’s passion to make sustainable and positive impact on the lives of developing societies,” he added.

The Managing Director, Mr. Francois Boussagol, said the products had two years warranty each.

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