Lagos — The Senate says it has cleared the $5.79 billion Mambila Hydro Power project of all financial and legal hurdles, and that construction would begin by the end of the year.
Senator Teslim Folarin, Chairman, Senate Committee on Local Content, revealed this while receiving the report of the finance subcommittee of the Mambila Hydroelectric Power projects on Monday.
According to him, the contractors in charge of the projects were now expected to mobilise men and materials to site., assuring that all issues had been resolved.
He said: “We have made some progress and breakthroughs. “The Federal Government was mandated to pay to the contractors, (Sunrise) $200m and that if we don’t pay within a stipulated time, it would accrue interest.
“As far as the contractors are concerned, they said the money is now $400m because of the accumulated interests.
“The project was officially awarded by the Federal Executive Council on August 30, 2017, and it has been signed as a contract between the Nigerian government, Ministry of Power and the Chinese Joint Venture of CGGC.”
Folarin added: “The Nigerian Export and Import Bank was mandated to play the lead role in the sub-committee, while the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority was to serve as the secretariat of the panel.
“I have no doubt in my mind that all these issues, among others, are succinctly addressed in the report and I believe that at the end, we shall have a document that will provide a way forward on the project.”
According to him also: “Thereafter, the reviewed report was forwarded to the National Assembly for further legislative action.
“Consequently, the National Assembly along with the Technical Working Group, constituted the Finance Sub-Committee under the Chairmanship of the Executive Director, NEXIM Bank.
“The sub-committee was inaugurated earlier this year by the Senate Committee on Local Content and it was mandated to report back to the committee within six weeks.”
The senator stated that the subcommittee was an offshoot of the Technical Working Group on Mambila Hydro-Electric Power Local Content inaugurated in June 2020.
The Federal Executive Council had on August 30, 2017 approved the contract for the Mambila Hydro Electric Power Project in the sum of $5.79bn for the construction of 3050MW.
The project was awarded to Chinese contractors JV (CGGC-SHC-CGCC), with the site in Gembu, Taraba State.
Folarin noted that the challenges that emanated in the course of the execution of the project, made the Presidential Committee on North-East Development now the North East Development Commission to review the initial plan of the Technical Working Group.
The Senator said the subcommittee was mandated to work out modalities that would facilitate the financial requirement of the local content aspect of the project, which was estimated at N1.7bn representing 30 percent of the approved contract of $5.7bn.
The liaison officer and administrator for Hypertech, the consultant to Federal Government and Chinese Government on the Mambila project, Mrs Maimuna Muhammed, also said all litigation had been effectively resolved.
She said, “We have a breakthrough concerning all the litigations about the project. All the delays we had before has been sorted out.
“Now we are ready to kick start the project. The next programmes we are going to have is the business roundtable, after that we move to site, in Taraba State.”
Also speaking, Consultant to the Senate President on Mambilla HEPP Local Content, Muhammad Mustapha, said membership of the committee also consisted of the technical committee chaired by the power ministry and co-chaired by water resources ministry.
He said the human capital development committee that was chaired by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund co-chaired by the energy council was also involved.”
Muhammad added that part of the challenges that had caused significant delay over time had been the legal encumbrance.
He said, “The pre commencement activity has been already approved two years before now.
“Part of the effort of the finance subcommittee is to articulate the local content aspect of the project as a whole and the pre commencement activity in specifics.
“This activity stands at four major areas: the security of the site, access road to open up the site, the resettlement plan of over 140,000 people and air field for logistic base.”
He called on the implementation committee to work assiduously to meet the six-week timeline as the project was building a new political momentum toward implementation.