By Gabriel Enogholase
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expressed satisfaction with the pace of work on the construction of Azura Power Project at Ihovbo, in Uhunmwode Local government area of Edo State. The apex bank is one of the guarantors to the project.
Assistant Director, Infrastructure Finance Office, CBN, Elder Boma Benbeo, who spoke to Vanguard at the project site shortly after its inspection by officials of the bank, said that with the construction work so far done, the project would be commissioned before the originally planned date.
According to Benbeo, upon completion, the Azura Power Plant is expected to generate 450 Mega Watts to be offloaded to the National grid.
He stated: “Our mission here is to find out how well funds have been utilized in the construction of this particular project. As you are aware, this project is being financed from several sources of financing and the Naira component of the finance comes from the direct intervention of CBN to the project.
“As the project is being implemented, we come over from time to time to see how the funds invested in this project are being utilized. I want to say that we are very happy that this project is moving ahead of the construction schedule and we are assured that it is going to be completed within eight months before the originally planned commission date.”
On allegations that project was being given preferential treatment by the Federal government, he said: “The truth of the matter is that every project is unique in itself. The way Azura came into the process is different from the way others came in. Azura is a fully wrapped EPC contract.
“Before they started, they made sure that all the necessary documentations were done, equity is put in place and agreements are put in place. And one of them is the partial risk guarantee which was signed by the country. So, the terms of contract are different from that of Azura and other players.
There is no question of preferential treatment. Everybody is being treated according to the contract they signed. CBN is not part of any of the contracts; we never mediated in any contract. The terms of the contracts are best explained by the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Company. To the best of our knowledge, every person is being treated according to the term of the contract it had with the Federal government. There is no preferential treatment.”