By Henry Umoru – Abuja
The Senate has took a swipe at the N600 million allocated to Distribution Company (Disco) by Ministry of Power in 2020 budget.
According to the Senate, allocating such money to Disco was not acceptable against the backdrop that it has already been Privatized.
Speaking yesterday during 2020 Budget Defence of Ministry of Power, Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswam, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Benue North East expressed dissatisfaction with allocation of N600 million to Privatized company wondered how could government will still be budget the sum of money in an already Privatized ‘Disco’.
Reacting to the presentation of the Power Ministry of Power that President Muhammadu Buhari was working hard for stable power supply in the country, Suswam said that some of his lieutenants were working against it because of money, just as he vowed that the Committee will not tolerate it.
The Senate Committee on Power has however directed the Federal Ministry of Power to immediately commence work on the Mambila Hydro Power Project as well as give the project an urgent priority.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Gabriel Suswam, gave the charge during the 2019 budget defence by the ministry of power, where he also said the president has injected huge amount of money in the sector, a sign that he is committed to ensuring stability in power supply.
The Chairman who charged the Minister to monitor his staff to ensure that they did not mess him up in his efforts to deliver on the mandate given to him by the president, said that the Mambila project holds high hopes for stability in the power sector, adding that every available funds should be channelled to the project.
Suswam who noted that it was wrong to take power money and spend it on ‘Disco’, said, “the money you are spending to upgrade the ‘Disco’ ought not to come from Ministry because ‘Disco’ has been Privatized.”
A member of the Committee, Senator Yusuf Yusuf, APC, Taraba Central who expressed dissatisfaction with the allocation of such money to ‘Disco’ when Mambila Power project was not yet implemented, said that as at now there is nothing on the Mambila site demanded speedy execution of Mambila power project which has been on for the past 20 years.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, agreed that the ministry would give the Mambila Power Project special attention and ensure all power projects across the country will be speeded up to ensure that Nigerians enjoy quality power supply.
The Minister who noted that the huge budget allocation to power sector by President Muhammadu Buhari shows his commitment to the sector, said that the President has already demonstrated maximum commitment to solving the Power Sector problems by making a huge allocation to the sector, in addition to tirelessly seeking for foreign and multilateral financial support to the industry.
According to him, the President’s sincere efforts calls for similar action from the legislature towards providing electricity to all Nigerians across the country.
The Minister said, ”The problem of Power supply to Nigerians is endemic and has continued to persist despite several measures especially by the present administration to mitigate the situation.
“It is a Nigerian problem. It affects all of us. There is no need for blame games. No need to look back. All Nigerians irrespective of their spheres of responsibility must contribute their quota in tackling all issues affecting the Sector.
Mamman appealed to the Senate and distinguished Members of the Committee to give the ministry the cooperation and support to address the knotty issues confronting us.
Responding on the budget of N600 million to ‘Disco’, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Power, Louis Edozien who justified the inclusion of N600 million in the 2020 budget for ‘Disco’, said that it was part of the agreement, the Power Ministry had with the ‘Disco’.