By Chris Ochayi
The Minister of Power, Engr Sale Mamman has assured Nigerians of early completion and delivery of the Mambilla Hydro Electric power project.
Engr. Mamman noted that the progress made towards the early implementation of the project was in line with His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive.
Speaking while receiving the management team of the Chinese Firm handling the project including the Vice President of the China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Company, Mr. Yuan Baoy, the Minister noted that in spite of the challenges experienced in implementation, stakeholders should be assured that all efforts towards delivery were at no point relaxed since the reinvigorated effort of the Federal Government to resuscitate the project.
Engr. Mamman explained that a key inhibitor to execution is the ongoing legal challenges with the former contractor, Sunrise which admittedly has encumbered further development of the project. At this juncture, the Government is in the process of finalising settlement terms leading to an amicable arbitration, so that the project can take off in earnest.
Concurrently, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA, to review the progress so far and carry out value engineering of the project in pursuit of optimised implementation and delivery.
As is, the Government investment outfit has been given 3 months to submit a comprehensive report detailing the findings of the value engineering and also provide recommendations to move the project forward.
Engr. Mamman disclosed that, as part of the process of acquisition of the land, the Ministry of Power had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Taraba State Government, following which, land and aerial survey activities were successfully conducted. ” Sensitization and enlightenment activities have also been carried out with the full buy-in and participation of stakeholders and hosts communities.
Furthermore, the Project Delivery Committee(PDC) Chair, Engr Faruk Yabo, while giving some insights into the take-off of the Mambilla Hydropower project, said the Ministry of Power has already committed two hundred million naira to the training of junior and mid-level artisans, ensuring the availability of manpower for the project.
These include electricians, plumbers, masons, drivers, and cooks.
The Committee Chair emphasised the Ministry’s desire to follow through on smooth uninterrupted implementation. “once the project starts, there is no stopping”.
Three important issues which may threaten the smooth execution of the project have been prioritised for special attention, these include financial viability and sustainability; the land acquisition and the arbitration, to free the project from any encumbrances”.
Engr Yabo further disclosed that the office of the Attorney General of the Federation had reached an understanding with Sunrise and that an amount had also been agreed, pointing out that the settlement may have been delayed by the challenges of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Earlier, the Vice President of the China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Company, Mr. Yuan Baoyi gave assurances that his company was ready to mobilise, once all issues regarding financing, land acquisition, and arbitration were settled.