Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on Friday flagged off the pilot project of Special Intervention in Energising Markets as Productive Clusters at Isinkan Market, Akure, Ondo state capital.
The federal project being powered by the National Rural Electrification Agency and Ondo State Government's Office of Public Utilities is aimed at ensuring power supply in all markets across the state.
The vice president explained at the flag off at Isinkan market that the project is being put in places by the Federal Government to ensure power supply in all public markets with a view to boosting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSME-s) in the country.
According to him, "We are focusing on major markets across the country to put an end to power problem. We are working at Ariria Market in Aba, likewise Sabongeri market in Kano and we focusing on markets in Lagos as well.
"We can see how excited the market women are judging by their testimonies.
"This technology is new and it is remotely monitored from the headquarters of the service providers. If anyone attempts to tamper with the meter it would be detected from the monitoring centre immediately and necessary action would be taken."
The vice president, who was accompanied by the state governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, however, promised the market women that the project would be extended to all other markets.
Special Adviser to the governor on Public Utilities, Engr. Tunji Light Ariyomo explained that Governor Akeredolu is working in conjunction with the Federal Government to ensure power problem is resolved in all public markets in the state.
"The governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, is concerned about the plights of the market women in terms of poor power supply. He's working with the Federal Government through its agency to power all our markets in Ondo State.
"This would enable the people to run their businesses smoothly and make more profits which would invariably allow them to create more jobs and shore up the Internally Generated Revenue(IGR) of the state government," Ariyomo said.
A team, comprising market women, state government representatives and a representative of the federal agency, was inaugurated by the Director General, National Rural Electrification Agency, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi and Engr. Ariyomo to ensure the safety of the gadgets.
The team tagged Cluster Management Unit has five members.
The solar power used as pilot project is 3kw capacity meant to serve 14 lock-up shops in Block I of Isinkan Market, Akure. A total of 8,750 matket shops in Akure across Oja Oba, NEPA and Isolo markets have been profiled as beneficiaries of the intervention consequent upon the success of the pilot.
According to the Iyaloja of Isinkan, Chief(Mrs.) Bolarinwa Temidayo, the project is a solution to the main problem they have been facing for the past four years.
She disclosed that they were suffering from outright blackout in all public markets in the state capital and across the major markets in towns and villages of the state which had undermined their rate of turnover.
Mrs. Bolarinwa, who revealed that there were 8,700 lock-up shops in major markets in the state capital, called on the Vice President to ensure the agency responsible for the installation of the solar power extend the project to other markets in Akure and across the state.