…Says nothing on ground to show project exists
…Ask FG to return NBET to Ministry of Power
By Chris Ochayi
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Power, Hon Magaji Da’u Aliyu, has said the over 40 years old Mambilla Hydro-Power project only existed on papers because there was nothing on ground to show that the project has commenced before the coming of this administration.
This is just as the director, Renewable Energy & Rural Power Access in the Ministry of Power, Engr. Faruk Yusuf Yabo gave a Right of Way report, which indicated that the land for the project has just been acquired.
Engr. Yabo added that “There was no legal title to the land until now.”
Meanwhile, the lawmakers have asked the Federal Government as a matter of urgency bring back the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, NBET, to the Ministry of Power.
The legislature insisted that until there was a repeal of the extant Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005, the government lacked the power for transfer of the agency from the Ministry of Power.
Hon. Aliyu, while speaking after the report, said: ”I wish to sincerely thank President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Power for achieving this feat, there was never anything like Mambilla power project, it exists only in books and on papers before this government.”
Hon. Aliyu spoke during the Committee’s oversight visit to the Ministry of Power Headquarters, Abuja.
He said the approval of funds and other activities geared towards kick-starting the Mambilla Power Project was an indication of movement’s display of political will in providing adequate and steady power supply to Nigerians.
He said, as representatives of the people, it was the constitutional mandate of the committee to undertake periodic oversight visit in compliance with statutory provisions.
He said the aim was to ensure prudent utilization of appropriated funds and to be on the same page with the executive in ensuring infrastructural development.
The Committee Chairman said, the National Assembly was inquisitive about the slow rate of implementation of the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission Act, 2010 and its subsequent amendment, therefore, drew the attention of the minister to the House’s earlier resolution that HYPPADEC should commence operation by the 1st of January, 2020.
Following the resolution, he ordered HYPPADEC to relocate to Niger to commence operation.
On NBET, he said, the committee observed the power play by agents of the executive arm concerning the happenings at the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, NBET, Plc.
He noted that NBET remains an Agency under the Ministry of Power, saying there would be no 2021 Budget appropriations for NBET if it does not move back to the Ministry of Power.
“NBET no doubt has a critical role to play as the key financial organ _of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
“As lawmakers, we frown at every possible attempt at contravening aspects of the law. The provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 with regards to successor companies, shows clearly that NBET is an agency under the Ministry of Power.
“It is my opinion that the alleged decision to move the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Plc from the Ministry of Power to the Ministry of Finance is akin to hitting the self-destruct button.
“We cannot afford to play politics with an issue as sensitive and as vital as this. I, therefore, wish to use this medium to reiterate that as far as the National Assembly is concerned NBET still remains an agency under the Ministry of Power.”
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman has said the HYPPADEC Act was passed into law in August 2010 and amended in July 2018.
Engr. Mamman said the objective of HYPPADEC was to bring development to the communities in the area affected by activities of hydropower plants.
He said, “in accordance with the concern and directive of the National Assembly during 2020 Budget defence for immediate take-off HYPPADEC, the Ministry has appointed a Director to oversee the coordination of the take-off of the Commission.
“A source of funding to enable the take-off of the commission has been approved,” he said.
He listed inadequate budgetary provision and untimely release of budgetary funds, as some of the challenges facing the Ministry.
Reinforcement of Lagos Transmission substation (APAPA/ AKANGBA) is at the bid opening and evaluation in Tokyo, Japan. This is a grant from JICA.
The implementation of Kashimbiiia 40MW Hydropower Project is at 100 per cent completion. The implementation of Mambila 3,050MW HEPP is currently at the inception stage.