The federal government may have allocated well over N1.857 billion to prepare documents and studies before the actual construction of the 3,050 megawatts (mw) Mambilla Hydro Electric Power Project (HEPP) in Taraba State since 2010, budgetary data have shown.
The project if completed will increase the security of power supply in Nigeria, experts said.
Records obtained from the Federal Ministry of Power have it that the project’s feasibility study, first carried out in 1985, rated it as a 2,600mw base load hydroelectric power to be implemented over a period of five years. It was however reviewed to 3,050mw in 2012 under President Goodluck Jonathan.
Lahmeyer International of Germany was engaged to undertake a detailed review of the feasibility study on the project and to prepare a bankable report and tender documents for eventual implementation, an annual report of the ministry in 2010 said.
To attain the bankable report for the construction, which the present Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said recently was ready, certain milestones were to be met.
Checks by Daily Trust on a five-year budget of the federation obtained from the Budget Office showed that N934.9m was allocated to it in 2010; N164m for the geotechnical/geodetic surveys; and N35.5m for orthophoto mapping of the site. Government in the same year allocated N665.7 m for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), land acquisition, resettlement and compensation of inhabitants at the site. The year that saw the highest allocation so far had another N69.7m to review the feasibility study and ‘addenda’ 1 & 2 (other items). In 2013, the project management and consultancy services got N200m by the Federal Ministry of Power under former President Goodluck Jonathan and the minister, Prof. Chinedu Nebo.
Consultants were engaged in 2014 for the Detailed Engineering Design and Project Management Supervision of the hydropower project at N300m.
Confirming the work done that year, the 2014 ‘annual’ report indicated that the design was completed. But another N15.1m was allocated for the same design and its supervision in 2015 after it was said to have been completed.
In 2016, the first budget under President Muhammadu Buhari and the minister, Babatunde Fashola, had N407.7m for the ‘Construction’, the 2016 Appropriation Act showed.
Other works done were indicated in the ministry’s annual achievement report for 2011. The aerial photography was completed in December 2009, the EIA was due for December 2011.
The report said Messrs Lahmeyer International reviewed the feasibility Study Report and submitted a draft bankable Feasibility Report to the ministry since 2006. But the item took another N69m in 2010 after its completion four years earlier. The 2012 annual report obtained from the ministry’s website said the federal government and the states would be responsible for the cost of resettlement and project management estimated at about $310m of which the federal government had already spent $49.5m as at December 2012.
In an updated report by 2014 on the project, most of the milestones had been completed. They are the Detailed Engineering Design (DED), Transmission Line Route Survey, Environmental Impact assessment and the Orthophoto Mapping. However, the Bankable Feasibility Studies was at 95 per cent.
The 2014 report presented a contrasting side when the DED that had already been marked 100 per cent complete got N15.1m again the 2015 appropriation Act.
An official of the ministry who spoke in confidence to our reporter said, sometimes, budgetary allocations were not completely released and as such new budgets were made in the new year to reflect the debts owed contractors for work done.