The House Committee on Power has queried the ₦127 billion budgeted for the Ministry of Power in the 2020 appropriation bill. The committee, chaired by Rep. Aliyu Dau (APC-Kano), queried the Minister of Power, Mr Saleh Mamman and the Permanent Secretary, Mr Louis Edozien during the ministry’s budget defence on Thursday.
Edozien explained that several things had to be carried out before the project would be materialised.
He said: “When you say there is nothing on ground, it is a fact that there is no construction ongoing but with a project of this size and this importance, a lot of things happen under the surface before you start seeing things on ground.
“The first and most important step that must be taken is the studies that underpin the project that leads to a functional and effective contract.
“The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the project is in place.
“The next thing is the total cost of the project, estimated at $5.73 billion; the construction cost is fixed in the EPC contract and many other cost that make up the cost.” The permanent secretary reiterated that Presidents Buhari and Xi Jinping agreed, in 2018, that the Chinese Export Import Bank would fund 85 per cent of the estimated cost and the Nigerian Government will finance 15 per cent.
Chairman of the committee raised concerns that that compensations had been paid to unknown entities in the 2019 budget under the Mambilla Project.
He, however, did not mention the amount.
“You are yet to identify the sight and we have been paying some compensation; in 2019 compensation was paid and I do not know to whom.
“I have interest, Nigerians have interest, President Buhari has interest on this Mambilla Project and we have to be able to achieve it within this next four years. “Something has to start; we are here to ensure that we appropriate the money.”
A member of the committee, Rep. Sada Soli (Katsina-APC), however suggested that the project be taken out of the ministry and given a “special purpose vehicle” if it were to be realised.