Govt directs MDAs insist on projects technical viability

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

24 November 2011, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – The Federal Government has directed Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to insist on technical viabilities of contractors before awarding any jobs.

It noted that the alarming number of abandoned and uncompleted projects that litter the landscape was because financial capability has been placed above sound technical knowledge.

The Minister of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji, disclosed this when he was reviewing the Gombe Dadin Kowa hydro power station with the project handlers and other stakeholders in his office in Abuja.

Nnaji described as embarrassing that a critical project which civil work was commissioned in 1988 was yet to take off in 2011. He said, “We don’t want to terminate contracts for projects of this type with its multi-use concepts but due to lapses in contract awards by past administrations, the present administration places premium more on technical competence of job bidders than on their financial liability.

“When you get the money but possess no sound bankable technical expertise, a project of immense contribution to the economy is stalled or shabbily carried out and the job creation ambition of the project remains completely unrealizable,” he added.

Nnaji therefore gave seven days ultimatum to Mabon Limited to convince the Federal and Gombe State Governments’ that it possesses superior technical knowledge over other companies or get the contract terminated.

He noted that because a contract or Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by past administrations is not enough for the nation to tolerate unacceptable number of abandoned projects, adding that, “government is a continuum and that this government wants to know what went wrong with all these abandoned projects all over the place.”

The Power Minister announced that Dadinkowa project is very important to the people of North East geopolitical zone and that Gombe is also blessed with best quality coal which made this Administration to approve a coal-to-power station in the state and that with the dam project, Gombe State is likely to be the industrial hub of the zone.

The Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo who attended the meeting expressed dissatisfaction that more than 30 years after the project conception, Gombe State has been allowed to suffer under-development, deprivation of amenities and lack of basic infrastructure as a result of visionlessness.

He announced his government’s readiness to undertake a minimum of 15% equity participation in the project if this will make the project move on.

It could be recalled that the Dadinkowa dam built about 37km east of Gombe town is a multipurpose facility with a reservoir capacity of 2.8 billion cubic meters.

Government vision for the dam included the provision of hydroelectric power generation of 34MW, irrigation amounting to 44,000 hectares of farm land, portable drinking water to the State capital and its environs (19 million gallons daily), fishing and fish farming as well as flood control and flow regulation on the Gongola and Benue Rivers.

The project in addition to Mambilla hydroelectric power station is being supervised by the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Darius Ishaku who also participated in the crucial meeting.

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