Power: Yar'Adua orders release of N58.8bn to energy ministry

No Comments » July 27th, 2008 posted by // Categories: Energy Development Project

Power: Yar’Adua orders release of N58.8bn to energy ministry

By Oluwole Josiah, Abuja – PUNCH

Published: Friday, 25 Jul 2008

President Umaru Yar’Adua has directed the Ministry of Finance to release N58.8bn to the Ministry of Energy for the acquisition of 10 mini-turbines and to execute other projects to boost power generation in the country.

The sum represents the balance due to the Energy ministry from its 2008 budget of N115bn.

Among the projects are the National Independent Power Project, the Mambila power project, installation of solar panels and wind power project.

The Minister of Energy (Power), Mrs. Fatima Ibrahim, who disclosed this at a meeting with the Senate Committee on Power and Steel in Abuja on Thursday said the ministry needed N25bn intervention fund to procure the 10 mini-turbines to improve power supply in the next one year.

It is expected that the turbines would serve as an interim measure to improve electricty supply in the country pending the much-awaited declaration of emergency in the power sector by President Umaru Yar’Adua.

Mini-turbine is a relatively new power generation technology that can be used as base load and pecking units.

Capable of generating between 0.5MW and 10MW, it can run on propane natural gas and distillate.

The President had said he needed the consent of the National Assembly and the 36 state Houses of Assembly to withdraw $5.33bn from the Excess Crude Account to fund the emergency in the sector.

Ibrahim told the committee that the micro turbines would be flexible so that they could be moved from any location where power supply was stable to any area where there was need.

According to her, the intervention programme was necessary to raise power generation level to 6,000 megawatts by the end of 2009.

Making further clarifications, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Abdullahi Aliyu, said N1.5bn was provided in the 2008 budget for NIPP and N50m for the Mambila project.

He also said that about N600m was for the procurement of panels for pilot solar projects in Bauchi, Cross River and Malunfashi.

According to him, N500m was set aside for the purchase of vehicles and other equipment for the ministry‘s offices across the country.

Abdullahi said N125m was provided for capacity building and the monitoring of power projects in the country.

On the wind power projects, the permanent secretary said the ministry earmarked N2bn for it in 2008.

He explained that the wind farm was expected to generate 10 megawatts of electricity but that with the N2bn allocation, only four megawatts would be realised.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Nicholas Ugbane, said the budget for the power sector in the 2008 budget should translate into visible power supply to consumers.

He also said that the committee would ensure a close monitoring of the ministry‘s activities to ensure that the projects were properly executed.

In his presentation, the Managing Director of the Power Holding Company, Alhaji Bello Suleiman, confirmed that the firm had received N33.5bn intervention fund this year.

Suleiman, who also said that the power generation had reached 2,600MW, explained that generation received N3.6bn; distribution, N7.3bn; and transmission, N22.54bn.

PHCN’s General Manager, Technical Services, Mr. John Ayodele, blamed the low power generation in the country on poor gas supply to the thermal stations.

He said that the vandalisation of pipelines supplying gas to the stations resulted in low output and, consequently, high pressure on the hydro power generation plants.

He said with full supply of water in the next few weeks, about 400megawatts would be added to the total generation.

The committee received reports from PHCN on 80 transmission projects, with N8.5bn already paid out to contractors out of the N22.54bn allocation.

According to the PHCN, 58 of the projects were ongoing while the rest were new.

Meanwhile, the committee has given the Rural Electrification Agency up to August 15 to supply all the survey documents for its projects for which N13.2bn had been allocated.

The committee said that the agency was delaying the completion of the surveys, resulting in the non- processing of the contracts by the Federal Executive Council.

But the agency said the survey drawings would be forwarded to the Ministry of Power and Energy for further action.

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