By Chris Ochayi
Federal Government has allocated the sum of N43. 065 billion for the Zungeru Hydro Power Plant in the 2022 Appropriation Bill, currently before the National Assembly.
The Zungeru Plant, in Niger State, is expected to generate 700 MW of electricity and due for completion before the end of this year.
The plant, when completed and operational could significantly improve the nation’s power supply.
Details of the budget of the Federal Ministry of Power showed that only N250m has been earmarked for counterpart funding for the large Mambilla Hydro Power Project out of a total of N 301. 257 billion provision for the ministry of Power in 2022.
The government described the N250 million as, “provisional sum- Pre-commencement activities for the 3, 050 MW power project,” the to be the largest in the country.
Mambilla Power Project cost has been put at about $5. 8 billion. The plant which has lingered for years, is among President Muhammadu Buhari signature projects but got zero allocation in 2021 budget.
This development came as rude shock for stakeholders in the power sector including the Senate which expressed disappointment when it discovered that the much talked about hydro power project was not allocated a Kobo by the Federal Government in the 2021 Budget.
The 3, 050 MW facility is being developed on the Dongo River near Baruf, in Kakara Village, Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba State.
The take-off of the project has, however, been enmeshed in various controversies, including a legal tussle which has bogged it down for many years, having being conceived in 1972.
In the budget of the Power Ministry, the 215MW Kaduna LPFO/Gas power station is allocated N430m ; N20m for the concession of the 40MW Kashimbilla hydropower plant and N450m for its transmission line and consultancy fee; there is N650m for the 10MW katsina Wind Farm, which has missed several commissioning timelines.
A total of N800m allocated for the Distribution Expansion Programme, DEP, a part of the Siemens Presidential Power deal which is yet to produce results, two years after it was initiated.
Other capital power projects captured in the ministry’s budget include N1.25bn for rural electrification access programme, Energizing Education, in federal universities; N44bn for Zungeru hydropower expected to be ready this December; Abuja power transmission feeding scheme, transmission access project, among others.
The government also proposed N114bn for multilateral loans to the Rural Electrification Agency, REA, to complete renewable energy projects nationwide.
The 2022 budget appropriation bill shows that the Federal Ministry of Power has a budget of N301.2bn, about N96bn higher than the N204.4bn proposed for 2021. Of this, capital expenditure will gulp N294.994bn which is also higher by N96.6bn than the N198.3bn for the present period.
Other key power projects include N668.9m for the solar electrification of the ministry’s headquarters, Power House, in Abuja and other public buildings; and another N600m to complete solar-powered mini-grids across states, among others.