The Senate has foreclosed hopes of stable power supply in the country, going by gross underfunding of the sector.
This is as the Minister of Power, Engr. Mamman Saleh owned up to members of the Senate Committee on Power that the much trumpeted $5.8 billion Mambilla Power Project is yet to take off.
The Committee was also jolted by the submission of the Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Engr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz that out of ₦165 billion required for capital project in 2020, ₦4 billlion envelope was given, of which only ₦3 billion was cash backed.
These lamentations dominated the budget defense session the Minister and the TCN Managing Director, had with the Senate Committee on Power.
Taking up the Minister on the Mambilla Power Project, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP Benue North East), and other members like Senators; Shaibu Lau (PDP Taraba North), Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central) James Manager (PDP Delta South) etc., wondered why no dime was allocated for the project in the 2021 budget.
Specifically, Senator Lau who hails from Taraba State told the Committee members that despite promises made on the project by the Federal government on yearly basis, there was no access road to the project site, no indication of site clearance.
“The truth about the project going by glaring realities on ground over the last ten years, is that Mambilla will not see the light of the day”, he said .
The Minister in his response admitted that the project is yet to take off, according to him, special fund of $200 million targeted for the project is still in the office of the Chief of Staff while the ₦850 million expected from Nigeria as 15% of the contract sum is yet to be paid. While 85% balance of the contract sum, he added, is to be financed by the Chinese NEXIM Bank.
The project yet to commence he explained is a 3,050 Hydroelectric Power project which after completion will be the largest power generating installation in the country.