National Assembly blames contractorsfor power projects delay

No Comments » December 10th, 2007 posted by // Categories: Energy Development Project



 

THE NATION

National Assembly blames contractorsfor power projects delay        

11/12/2007       
 

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Power and Steel, has expressed disappointment on how some power projects in the country are being handled.

The committee which just concluded its tour of some projects including the Mambilla Hydro Power Station in Taraba State, Egbin Thermal Power Station in Lagos State and some rural electrification projects in the country as part of its oversight function, scored the contractors low on performance and level of commitment.

The committee which rounded off its tour in Lagos at the weekend, said it would sanction defaulting contractors

The Chairman of the committee, Honourable Ndudi Elumelu, disclosed this when the committee paid a courtesy call on the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola at his office.

Elumelu said that no work is going on at the Mambilla Power Plant project, which was awarded in 2005 and expected to be completed in 69 months. When completed, the power plant is to generate 2,600 MW of electricity, he said.

“Till date, the contractor, Saitech, has not conducted a soil test to ascertain if the location would be able to carry such magnitude of project.

He said: “If I tell you I was disappointed that would be underscoring the fact because the contractors are doing what they are not expected to do. There are instances. We saw some things they should have taken to the laboratory to ascertain if the soil is good enough for such a magnitude of project to be sited. Even for five months, they have not taken those things there.

“Also, they claimed that the people who are residing in the community are not actually cooperating with them. We interviewed most of the residents and they said that they have nothing to do with the contractors. They said they have peace with the Mambila Power Project because the project will give them light.

“We have summoned the contractor to appear before us. For instance, we appropriated N800 million and I found out that the N800 million, which was approved in 2007, was meant only for the consultant to carry a review of the feasibility study, not even a fresh feasibility. So, we have summoned the contractor to tell us the kind of review he is doing that will warrant us to pay N800 million.

“We also noted that the place looked abandoned, not even as part of Nigeria. We have called on the Taraba State government to see what they can do immediately to bring succour to the people living in the community. They do not have access road, there is no education and there is no electricity. These are things that can affect the growth of children in the area, who we think are the leaders of tomorrow,” he added.

Elumelu told the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Princess Sarah Adebisi Sosan who stood in for the governor that the committee believes that power is the backbone of economic development of the country. He noted that high demand of electricity in Lagos State, which the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) could not meet, led the state to the government to conceive the idea of Independent Power Plant (IPP) built by Enron and later AES.

“The step made Lagos State a role model, emulated by other states and the Federal Government, which thought IPP as a quick intervention mechanism in power supply. The committee holds Lagos State in high esteem for the wise initiative and as a major source of revenue generation to PHCN.

“The committee wants to see for itself the progress made on rehabilitation of Egbin and how it operates and if there is any assistance it may require from us for its smooth operation in the terms of more funding so as to incorporate it in the 2008 budget.

“As honorable members of the committee and representatives of the people, we are alive to our responsibilities and aware of the importance of the Egbin Power Plant to Lagos State and Nigeria in general.

“The power plant contributes 1320MW, almost half of the nation’s current total generation. The supply has currently dropped to below 2000MW which is not imperative.

He said the committee encourages any person or private establishment that wants to invest in the power sector and supports any activity that would ensure stable power supply at affordable rate.

The committee also called on the Lagos state governor to assist in ensuring that the Egbin power station carries out its operation smoothly. The appeal, the committee said, is important in view of the menace of pipeline vandals that break pipelines that supply gas to the power station, by providing security to the station and other PHCN installations in the state.

The committee also appealed to the governor to help PHCN in terms of revenue generation by ensuring that bills are deducted from source from all government agencies.

The committee said it was in process of ascertaining those owing the power utility company. “We have asked PHCN for the list of debtors. We will publish that list and go after the people that are indebted to PHCN.

The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Princess Sosan in her remarks, praised the activities of the committee saying it was good for democracy and in the interest of the people. She stressed the unpleasant state of electricity supply over the years and its negative impact on industries and the economy.

“Over the years, it has been one area many Nigerians are not happy about. Many states have been looking for solutions on their own. We as Lagos State are happy to be in the vanguard of IPP. Although we were not given the full support to go ahead, we are still not relenting because we know the importance of energy to the economic empowerment of our people.

“The pepper-grinder, roadside vulcaniser, barber, hair salon operator and those engaged in low income activities, need power. The situation is worse in Lagos State as the nation’s commercial nerve-centre and where all Nigerians are adequately represented.

She noted that poor power supply has forced a lot of industries to pack up while a lot of people are out job because the cost of production is so high especially as the industries depend on generators. “Currently, the cost of diesel has gone up and sells for over N100 per litre. With festivities period around the corner, the cost may soar above N120 per litre.

She also expressed displeasure over the Federal Government’s continued deduction of N200 million from the state’s allocation monthly over the Enron IPP.

“Your visit is an opportunity to express the state’s displeasure over the IPP Enron monthly deduction from our allocation on monthly basis. The deductions impacts negatively on our numerous developmental projects because we need a lot of money to accomplish them.

She told the committee that the Lagos State government would be happy if the Federal Government should stop such deductions and refund the deducted amount said to be about N8 billion.

She urged the committee to take back the power situation to the presidency as it saw it and use its power as a committee to fast track strategies of improving the energy situation in the nation especially Lagos State because it has a lot of industries, corporate bodies and a lot of people that depend on power.

 
http://www.thenationonlineng.com/dynamicpage.asp?id=39617
 

 

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