The Managing Director of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, Alhaji Idris Mohammed has expressed fears about the fate of power projects under the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company .He is afraid the projects worth about N3.7 billion under the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company may be abandoned if efforts were not made by the Federal government to complete them before the eventual sale of the electricity outfit to private investors.
Idris told the Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo that the lack of budgetary provision for them in the 2013 budget may stall the completion of the projects in the company which has been slated for sale.
The Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company is among electricity outfits in the country whose preferred bidders were short listed recently by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) and the Managing director expressed fear that if not completed before the sale, new owners may not continue with the projects as they will be looking for ways of cutting cost.
He noted that majority of the projects spread across four states of Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi are already 50 percent completed, adding that the company also need to install about 68,000 electricity metres before the end of the year in order to improve revenue
Idris told the Minister that an average of N980.2 million is generated monthly by the company, while the total debt owed the company as at the end of May 2013 stands at N19,878,497,603, adding that only 318,440 customers in the coverage area of the company were registered with them.
The MD equally complained that 18 power plants under the National Independent Power Project were awarded to a single company, Newsman Engineering who have not showed any sign of completing them, pointing out that if they are completed, it will boast power supply in the area.
“18 power projects under the NIPP were awarded to Newsman Engineering and they are yet to be delivered. We have been trying to access the level of completion of these projects without success. I am appealing to the Minister to use your good offices to intervene and get them to give us a definite date of completion of these projects”, he said.
The Minister ,in his response assured that the government would do everything possible to ensure that the projects were not abandoned,saying “I hate abandoned projects. But let me say that most of these projects were awarded long ago and abandoned due to one reason or the other”.
Speaking further,said because of the belief within the ministry that the privatisation exercise would have been completed by December 2012, funds were not made available for the completion of the projects adding that intervention funds are being released for the completion of the projects.
“Everybody had felt, even within the ministry that the privatisation exercise would have been concluded by December last year. That did not happen and unfortunately, the ministry did not have money to complete distribution and generation companies whose privatisation would have been completed by December 2012 and unless there are intervention funds available, they are dead on arrival.
“Some of the Disco including Kaduna (have) received intervention fund. There is another fund that will be released. We are going to source funds to do that even though it is not easy. It is like squeezing water out of stone. We are working very hard to ensure that we minimise incidences of abandoned projects”.
The Minister also assured that the federal government was doing everything possible to revive the Rural electrification projects which was long abandoned, stressing that the government was injecting money into the projects to ensure the provision of electricity to the rural consumers.
The Minister also commissioned the Gonin-Gora 7.5 KVE Injection Sub-station, Ungwan
Mauzu National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), Abakpa power plant station and the Zaria Injection Sub-station and inspected the inspection of the Kudenda Power Plant Station.
The Minister who expressed satisfaction at the ongoing works at the Kudenda Plant, however urged the contractors to speed up the work in order to meet the December deadline for commissioning.
Meanwhile, the lead Consultant to the power project, Mr. Smart Ukauwa told the minister that some equipment for the construction of the plant had not arrived yet.