Friday, 26 January 2018

Obasanjo Govt $3b On Power Sector.

Contrary to what mischief makers and the likes of Orji Kalu  would like the Nigerian public to believe the truth was laid to rest long ago.

As the House of Representatives continues to dilly-dally over its power probe report in 2007,  fresh facts emerged  that contrary to claim that about $13 billion was squandered by the Obasanjo administration on the power sector, only about $3.08 billion was actually expended. 
This indication was from a summary presentation on the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) presented to the National Economic Council (NEC) by the Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State.
Suswam, on behalf  of the Presidential Review Panel on the NIPP set up by the NEC, said the panel found that as at 2007, total project allocations/ estimates to NIPP was $10.231 billion inclusive of the $2 billion Federal Government counterpart funding for Mambilla Hydro Power project and $1.4 billion for additional nine turbines. 
According to Suswam, out of these commitments, only $3.08 billion was funded and scrutinised with advance payment guarantees from "first class" Nigerian banks and Letters of Credits issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He said over $1.5 billion of the sum is still in the custody of the banks. 
The report also said there waa an ongoing comprehensive review exercise taking place to determine the most up-to-date estimates of costs to complete the project. This is in view of the cost over runs arising from over 18 months of delay and stall in funding. 
Suswam, in his report, also identified intermittency and stoppage of funds as among the factors that helped to frustrate the implementation. 
Lack of thorough feasibility studies was also fingered as being responsible for the several challenges of the project in the area of transportation, water supply and transmission connections to the sites. 
There was also what the report called "slow pace of surveys, enumeration work and payment to land owners has impacted on site development. The project also lacked clear and defined ownership structure/agreed responsibilities and it has resulted in a dis-jointed and uncoordinated project implementation".
For a new approach in the project, Suswam advocated the need to undertake comprehensive studies of the project strengths and weaknesses as well as rekindle federal and state governments' interests in the project as shareholders on the investment. 
He underscored the importance of good funding to complete the projects in order to realise the full value. 
The report also recommended that the project should be executed under a new management structure and pragmatic and dynamic implementation scheme and efforts should be made to eliminate project bottlenecks through stakeholders' participation. 
The report said after due deliberations, the committee  agreed that completing the project as initiated is the right way to go as it would be the only sure way to improve Nigeria's power supply logjam and free its citizenry and businesses from the shackles of darkness. 
On the funding procedure henceforth, the committee recommended that $5.237 billion be provided through the interaction/cooperation of the federal and state governments. 
The committee also suggested the legitimising of fund allocations from the Excess Crude Savings Account by securing appropriations by the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly. 
Among the terms of reference of the panel headed by Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan and governors drawn from the six geo-political zones as members included how to meet the 6000mw estimated by the government by 2009 and to recommend appropriate utilisation of government's $5.3 billion. 
Yar'Adua had last year ignited the debate when he disclosed that over $10 billion was spent on power by the previous administration with nothing to show for it. 
The Speaker of the House Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, followed suit by saying the sum was over $16 billion, while the House power probe committee Chairman, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, gave a figure of $13 billion. 
Almost one year after the motion for the probe was moved by the House Minority Leader, Hon Ali Ndume, the report is yet to be debated many months after it was submitted by the committee

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