Hope rises for Mambila Power Project as Senate tasks Tinubu

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There appears to be a glimmer of hope for the Mambila Hydroelectric Power Project, which has been on the drawing board since the commencement

By Haruna Salami

There appears to be a glimmer of hope for the Mambila Hydroelectric Power Project, which has been on the drawing board since the commencement of the current democratic government as Senate has resolved to urge President Bola Tinubu to include the all important project in the administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda priority projects.

This was the outcome of debate on a motion on “Urgent Need to Address the Challenges of Commencing the Mambila Hydroelectric Power Project sponsored by Senator Manu Haruna (Taraba Central) at plenary on Thursday.

National growth LS

The Senate’s only prayer after thorough debate on the motion was that the Senate Committees on Finance and Appropriations should liaise with the Federal Ministry of Finance to ensure project be included as part of the renewed hope agenda for funding.

The Senate noted that the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Power signed a contract with a consortium of Chinese contractors comprising CGGC, SHC, and CGOC in 2017 to construct a 3050 MW hydroelectric power project known as the Mambila Hydroelectric Power Project (MHEPP) in Taraba State at the sum of $5.7926bn.

It also noted that the Federal Executive Council of the Buhari administration approved the said contract with an agreed JV funding structure of 85% from the Chinese consortium (CGGC-45%, SHC-35%, and CGOC-20%) and 15% from the Federal Government of Nigeria as counterpart funding for the entire project with a 72 months’ construction period and on a site area over 146sqkm in Kurmi, and Sardauna Local Government of Taraba State;

The red chamber further noted that because of the priority placed on power in the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, particularly to electricity generation for capacity expansion; the Mambila Hydroelectric Power project (MHEPP) with its capacity to generate 3050MW and reposition the Ajaokuta Steel Complex with $1.7B makes it a priority project of national importance.

The chairman Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Sani Musa (Niger East) in his contribution informed his colleagues that only encumbrances on the way of the project, especially the legal matter instituted by Sunrise have been completely removed through the personal intervention of President Bola Tinubu.

Senator Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto South) said the agricultural opportunities in the Sardauna Province of Taraba state where the project is located is beyond anyone’s imagination.

He said unfortunately “we are playing politics with this”, adding that “something is wrong with us”.

Senator Adams Oshiomhole ( Edo North) said the issue of Mambila is about Nigeria, adding that the more we diversify the source of power the better for the country.

He said “Renewed Hope Agenda should mean reviving projects that have been abandoned” just as he advocated for a law that arbitration on business in Nigeria must be done with the shores of Nigeria and not in a foreign country.

Senator Solomon Olamilekan (Ogun West) said Mambila was one of the priority projects of the Buhari administration, but “along the line nothing happened, adding that now that the administration of President Tinubu has transferred it to Greener Infrastructure funding it will be executed

Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan (Kogi Central) who is the chairman of Senate Local Content Committee said injecting 3050MW to national grid is very important as we look for cleaner energy.

She advised that there should be no sentiment in the selection of companies that will participate in the local content component of the project.

Speaking with journalists in the National Assembly, Senator Manu Haruna said the multiplier effects oof the 15% counterpart funding by the Federal Government, which is for local content, meaning Nigerian local contractors will be part of the project i.e Ashaka Cement, Defan Motors, Innosson Motors, etc.

More than 55,000 jobs will be created in the 72 months (6 years) life span of the project.

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