Professor Chinedu Nebo, Minister of Power, has disclosed that President Goodluck Jonathan is leaving no stone unturned for the construction of a 3050 megawatts (mw) Mambilla hydro dam to reinstate his commitment on the provision of uninterrupted power supply all over the country.
The project, which is pitched as the largest hydroelectric power project in Africa is expected to provide increased electricity generation to the national grid as well as aid irrigation for the people of Taraba State and its environs upon completion. This same laudable project has been halted for more than 30 years.
As part of Nigeria’s counterpart funding for the construction of three major hydroelectricity stations in the country, Professor Nebo disclosed that the National Economic Council had approved the sum of $1.72 billion.
The minister noted that initial work would soon commence at the project site without funding hindrances on the part of Nigeria as a result of he approval.
The 3050mw Mambilla hydroelectric plant located in Taraba State, which is to be built at the sum of about N3.2billion by China Gezhouba Group Company and SynoHydro as well as the 700mw
Zungeru plant which is expected to consume another N162.9 billion by Chinese consortium of SynoHydro and China National Electrical Engineering Corporation (CNEEC), and the Gurara II dam, which will gulp about N37 billion are parts of the projects earmarked for construction by the government within its long-term development plan for Nigeria’s power sector.
The Mambilla and Zungeru power plants are expected to be undertaken on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) concession agreement with counterpart contributions of 15 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. It is expected of the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China to provide outstanding funding percentages required to construct the power projects which are also expected to yield returns for repayment of the concessionary loans.
When completed, Mambilla will become the largest single hydroelectric power project in the country. The proposed contracting structure for Mambilla stipulates that Messrs SinoHydro will cover 70 per cent of the project while Messrs CGGC Limited (China Gezhouba Group Company)
covers the other 30 percent of the project scope.
“Today, we have in place not just the designs but the funding mechanism of all the major hydro schemes in the country. With the recent approval of $1.72 billion counterpart funding for the sector by the National Economic Council, not just Zungeru, but Mambilla dam in Taraba and
Gurara II dam in Suleja, Niger State will all soon see the light of the day’,” the minister reiterated.
He further maintained that the delay encountered by the project over the years are as a result of the level of complexity attached to such large dam which has to meet up with certain global standards. “This is very well in accordance with the project development process of such projects
and in line with International Commission on Large Dams standards on construction of large dams prescribing a requirement for detailed study and re-study, design and redesign of large dam projects until optimal efficiency levels are attained,” Professor Nebo recounted.