No bud­getary pro­vi­sion for 3,050MW Mam­bila project –Fashola

The Punch - - BUSINESS & ECONOMY - Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

There is no bud­getary pro­vi­sion for the con­struc­tion of the 3,050 megawatts Mam­bila hy­dropower project, the Fed­eral Govern­ment de­clared on Sun­day.

The govern­ment said the claims that the loan ne­go­ti­a­tions for the project had stalled since 2017 be­cause of an at­tempt to utilise $600m (N219bn) from the project for an al­leged pet project not hith­erto con­sid­ered by the Fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil were false and mis­lead­ing.

The Min­is­ter of Power, Works and hous­ing, Ba­batunde Fashola, con­demned re­ports sug­gest­ing that the project had been stalled, adding that the China exim Bank would only dis­burse money for spe­cific projects such as the Mam­bila power project af­ter the con­clu­sion of ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The min­is­ter, who spoke in Abuja, said, “Noth­ing is fur­ther from the truth than the claim that the loan ne­go­ti­a­tions have stalled since 2017 be­cause of an at­tempt to utilise $600m (equiv­a­lent of N219bn) from the 3,050MW hy­dropower project for a ‘pet project’ not hith­erto con­sid­ered by the Fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil.

“There is cur­rently no bud­getary pro­vi­sion or cash pro­vi­sion of $600m or the N219bn in any bud­get of the Fed­eral Govern­ment for the Mam­bila project. There­fore you can­not at­tempt to di­vert what does not ex­ist.”

Fashola added, “For the avoid­ance of doubt, the China exim Bank dis­burse money to spe­cific projects and on con­clu­sion of ne­go­ti­a­tions, the loan will be de­voted to the con­struc­tion of the Mam­bila Power Project, which has been on the draw­ing board for close to 40 years be­fore the ad­vent of the Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion which is now work­ing as­sid­u­ously to get the project off the ground.”

he said the al­le­ga­tion with re­gard to stalling the Mam­billa project was un­true and base­less.

The Fed­eral Min­istry of Power, Works and hous­ing also ar­gued in a state­ment that events and rel­e­vant facts would show that Fashola first pre­sented a memo on the Mam­billa Power Project to the Fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil in Au­gust 2017.

This, it said, was the first ever Fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil ap­proval given to the Mam­billa project in favour of a Chi­nese Joint ven­ture.

It stated that the min­is­ter had also ac­com­pa­nied the Pres­i­dent twice to China on trips that had the project as one of the head­line agenda.

The FMPWH stated that the min­is­ter in June 2018 at­tended, along­side of­fi­cials of the Fed­eral Min­istry of Fi­nance, a meet­ing of the China exim Bank to ne­go­ti­ate the terms of the loan for the project fur­ther.

It stated that just last week, af­ter the Fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil meet­ing, Fashola briefed Nige­ri­ans about the ap­proval of con­tracts for sur­vey­ors to de­mar­cate the ar­eas for the project.

The min­istry said these were the first con­tracts to start prepara­tory work on the project af­ter 40 years’ de­lay.

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