Senate: Mambilla Hydro Electric Power Project Takes Off this Year

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The long delayed work on the Mambila Hydro Electric Power Project in Taraba State will commence before the end of year 2021, the Senate has assured.

The Red Chamber has also resolved all financial and legal technicalities hindering the take off of the multi billion Naira electricity project which on completion is expected to improve the nation’s electricity generation to teeming Nigerian consumers.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content, Senator Teslim Folarin, who disclosed this on Monday said the contractors handling the project are expected to mobilise men and materials to site before the end of the year.

Folarin who spoke while receiving the report of the finance sub committee of the Mambila Hydroelectric Power projects stressed that the subcommittee was an offshoot of the Technical Working Group on Mambila Hydro-Electric Power Local Content inaugurated in June, 2020.

Teslim said the major legal incumbrance which had made it almost impossible for the legacy project to take off, had been resolved.

His words: “We have made some progress and breakthroughs, but we are yet to forward the report to the leadership of the Senate.

“The Federal Government was mandated to pay to the contractors, (Sunrise) $200m and if we don’t pay within a stipulated time, then we have accrued interest.

“As far as the contractors are concerned, they said their money is now $400m because of the accumulated interests.

“The project was officially awarded by the Federal Executive Council on August 30, 2017, and it has been signed as a contract between the Nigerian government, ministry of power and the Chinese Joint Venture of CGGC.”

The ranking Senator noted that the challenges that emanated in the course of the execution of the project, made the Presidential Committee on North-East Development now the North East Development Commission to review the initial plan of the Technical Working Group (TWG).

According to him, the NEDC came up with a working document, where in the work of the TWG was reshaped and streamlined for effective and seamless implementation of the project.

He said, “Thereafter, the reviewed report was forwarded to the National Assembly for further legislative action.

“Consequently, the National Assembly along with the Technical Working Group, constituted the Finance Sub-Committee under the Chairmanship of the Executive Director, NEXIM Bank.

“The Sub-Committee was inaugurated earlier this year by the Senate Committee on Local Content and it was mandated to report back to the Committee within six weeks.”

The Senator said the subcommitteewas mandated to work out modalities that would facilitate the financial requirement of the local content aspect of the project, which was estimated at N1.7billion representing 30 per cent of the approved contract of $5.7 billion.

He said, “The Nigerian Export and Import Bank was mandated to play the lead role in the sub-committee, while the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority was to serve as the secretariat of the panel.

“I have no doubt in my mind that all these issues, among others, are succinctly addressed in the report and I believe that at the end, we shall have a document that will provide a way forward on the project.”

The Liaison officer and Administrator for Hypertech, the consultant to Federal Government and Chinese Government on the Mambila project, Mrs Maimuna Muhammed, also said all litigation had been effectively resolved.

Her words: “We have a breakthrough concerning all the litigations about the project. All the delays we had before everything has been sorted out.

“Now we are ready to kick start the project. The next programmes we are going to have is the Business Roundtable, after that we move to site, in Taraba state.”

Also speaking, the Consultant to the Senate President on Mambilla HEPP Local Content, Muhammad Mustapha, said membership of the committee was made up of the technical committee which was chaired by ministry of power and co-chaired by ministry of water resources.

According to him, the human capital development committee that was chaired by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund co-chaired by the energy council, was also involved.”

Muhammad stressed that part of the challenges that had caused significant delay over time had been the legal incumbrance.

He said, “We will like to mention that qualifying the efforts of this committee as local content, been able to identify the legal aspect of the project to be a local content concern.

“The pre commencement activity has been already approved two years before now. Part of the effort of the finance sub committee is to articulate the local content aspect of the project as a whole and the pre commencement activity in specifics. This activity stands at four major areas: the security of the site, access road to open up the site, the resettlement plan of over 140,000 people and air field for logistic base.

“We call on the implementation committee to work assiduously to meet the six week timeline as the project is building a new political momentum towards implementation.”

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