Politics

Power: Senate probes N1.8trn intervention fund

Power: Senate probes N1.8trn intervention fund
Written by Maritime First

…As Kwara Legislature demands prosecution of Ahmed, Ogunshola over N3.9bn Light project***

The Senate is probing over N1.8 trillion Federal Government interventions in the Power Sector since privatisation of the sector from 2012 to date.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Sen. Gabriel Suswam made this known at a meeting with members of the Committee on Thursday in Abuja.

The meeting was on Power Sector Recovery Plan and the Impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

The chairman, who said that the three-day hearing would begin next week, recalled that the Senate had a motion on the floor where the committee was mandated based on that motion to investigate comprehensively the power sector, especially in areas as it related to the intervention.

Suswam said that the Committee would investigate all interventions in the sector since the privatisation of the sector to date with a view to ascertaining the adequacy of such interventions and their desired impact.

“We are looking at the intervention and whether corporate governance had been introduced since privatisation because the expectation is that the sector will become efficient, unfortunately, that is not the case.

“You know that the Federal Government had over the years intervened at various times in different sums: N701 billion, N600 billion and this year there has been N380 billion and N213 billion.

“All of these monies were Federal Government interventions in the power sector with the intention and hope that the power sector will become efficient and Nigerians will have access to electricity.

“Unfortunately, in spite of these huge amounts of monies that have been expended, the result in what we see today is that the performance is below expectations,” Suswam added.

He however noted that the investigation would not be punitive, but intended to identify the reasons for efficiency and underperformance in terms of unstable and inadequate electricity supply in the sector in spite of the huge financial interventions by government.

Suswam said other objectives of the investigation was to assist President Muhammadu Buhari to achieve his promise to Nigerians of providing them with adequate and stable power supply.

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“The investigation is intended to identify why these interventions have come and there has been no improvement.

“This is so that at the end of the day, the leadership of the Senate will present that to the President of this country, who has shown a lot commitment to providing electricity to Nigerians,” he said.

He listed those agencies to appear before the committee to include the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) because most of the interventions of government came from these two bodies.

Others, Suswam said are the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET), Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Presidential Power Initiative among others.

In another development, the Kwara  House of Assembly on Thursday urged the State Government to hand over suspects in connection with the failed N3.9 billion Kwara Light project contract.

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The lawmakers specifically demanded for the prosecution of a former governor of the state, Abdulfatah Ahmed, and former Director-General of Kwara Public-Private Partnership (KP3), Abayomi Ogunshola, by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) over alleged improper execution of the project.

The N3.9 billion electrification project was awarded in 2015 by former governor AbdulFatah Ahmed to provide illumination on some major streets in llorin metropolis and other parts of the state.

The House made the demand at plenary on Thursday in Ilorin after adopting the report of its ad-hoc committee investigating the execution of the ptoject.

The Chairman of the Committee, Mr Abolarin Gabriel, while presenting the report, informed his coleagues that the project was not properly executed in line with specification.

The Speaker, while reading the resolution of the House after deliberation and adoption of the report, said it has become imperative to prosecute the former governor and Ogunshola who jointly undertook to execute the project.

The Assembly also want repeal of the state Public-Private Partnership law to curb corruption and other sharp practices in award of contracts in the state.

Besides, it called for a review of the terms and conditions of the Light Up Kwara Project.

The resolition urged the state government to compel the two contractors handling the project to complete it according to specifications across the state.

The House called for transfer all activities of the project to the state Ministry of Energy for proper execution.

The speaker flayed the sidelining the ministry of energy in the award of the project, describing it as unacceptable.

 

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Maritime First