Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Long-delayed work on the Mambila hydroelectric power project in Taraba state will begin before the end of 2021, the Senate assured.
The Red Chamber also addressed all technical, financial and legal issues hampering the start of the multibillion naira power project which, when completed, is expected to improve the country’s power generation for teeming Nigerian consumers.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content, Senator Teslim Folarin, who revealed this on Monday, said contractors responsible for the project are expected to mobilize men and materials to the site before the end of the year.
Folarin who spoke at the reception of the report of the Mambila hydropower projects finance subcommittee pointed out that the subcommittee was an offshoot of the technical working group on the local content of hydropower. de Mambila inaugurated in June 2020.
Teslim said the main legal hurdle that made it nearly impossible to start the legacy project has been resolved.
His words: “We have made progress and breakthroughs, but we have not yet forwarded the report to Senate leadership.
“The federal government has been mandated to pay contractors, (Sunrise) $ 200 million and if we don’t pay within a stipulated time, then we have accrued interest.
“As for the entrepreneurs, they said their money now stands at $ 400 million due to accrued interest.
“The project was officially awarded by the Federal Executive Council on August 30, 2017 and it was signed as a contract between the Nigerian government, the Ministry of Energy and the Chinese joint venture of CGGC.
The senior senator noted that the challenges that arose during the execution of the project, made the Presidential Committee on Northeast Development now the Northeast Development Commission to review the initial plan of the Group of technical work (GTT).
According to him, the NEDC produced a working document in which the work of the TWG was redesigned and streamlined for an efficient and transparent implementation of the project.
He said: “Subsequently, the revised report was forwarded to the National Assembly for further legislative action.
“Therefore, the National Assembly and the Technical Working Group established the Finance Sub-Committee under the chairmanship of the Executive Director of NEXIM Bank.
“The subcommittee was inaugurated earlier this year by the Senate Local Content Committee and was mandated to report to the Committee within six weeks. “
The senator said the subcommittee was tasked with developing modalities that would ease the financial needs of the local content aspect of the project, estimated at 1.7 billion naira representing 30 percent of the approved 5.7 billion contract. billions of dollars.
He said: “The Nigerian Export and Import Bank was mandated to play the lead role in the subcommittee, while the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority was to serve as the panel secretariat.
“I have no doubts in my mind that all of these and other issues are touched on succinctly in the report and I think that in the end we will have a document that will provide a way forward for the project.”
Hypertech Liaison Officer and Administrator, Federal Government and Chinese Government Mambila Project Consultant Ms Maimuna Muhammed also said all disputes have been effectively resolved.
His words: “We have a breakthrough regarding all disputes regarding the project. All the delays we had before everything was sorted out.
“We are now ready to launch the project. The next program we will have will be the Business Roundtable, after which we will move to the site, in Taraba State. “
Also speaking, the Senate Speaker’s consultant on Mambilla HEPP local content, Muhammad Mustapha, said the membership of the committee was made up of the technical committee which was chaired by the Ministry of Energy and co-chaired by the Ministry of Resources in water.
He said the human capital development committee, which was chaired by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund co-chaired by the energy council, was also involved.
Muhammad pointed out that part of the challenges that had caused a significant delay over time had been the legal burden.
He said: “We would like to mention that qualifying this committee’s efforts as local content helped identify the legal aspect of the project as a local content concern.
“The pre-start-up activity has already been approved two years ago. Part of the efforts of the finance subcommittee is to articulate the local content aspect of the project as a whole and the pre-start activity in detail. This activity revolves around four main axes: site security, the access road to open up the site, the resettlement plan for more than 140,000 people and the aerodrome as a logistics base.
“We call on the implementation committee to work diligently to meet the six week deadline as the project builds new political momentum towards implementation. “