TCN Yet to Access $1.5 Billion Power Project Loans – MD

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Transmission Company of Nigeria says it has yet to access the power infrastructure expansion loans totalling $1.5bn from foreign creditors.

The company also said power transmission projects were among the highest number of abandoned contracts in the country.

The Interim Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, TCN, Usman Mohammed, faulted the position of the House of Representatives on the loans from multilateral donors, stressing that the credit facilities had not been signed.

 On October 18, 2017, the House of Representatives had alleged that the TCN took the loans from foreign creditors without following due process.

But speaking with our correspondent on the sidelines of the inauguration of a 40MVA 132/33KV mobile transmission substation in Zaria, Kaduna State on Friday, Mohammed said, “We are expecting $486m from the World Bank; $210m from the Islamic Development Bank; $444m from the Africa Development Bank; and $200m from JICA.

“These are commitments because we are working with them. We have not signed; but we have agreed to work with them.

“The reason why this information is misinterpreted is that with the agreement we have currently, we can prepare projects and do procurements at the same time.

“While engaging with the multilateral donors, you have to also get the consent of the minister of finance. You cannot engage any multilateral donor without getting the consent of the minister of finance, who will write letters to them to clear you for the loans.

On the widespread project abandonment, Mohammed, who assumed duty at the company in February this year, blamed the situation on unqualified contractors handling many of the projects.

According to him, the multilateral donors have demanded an upgrade in the qualification of contractors as one of the criteria for the release of the transmission expansion funds.

Mohammed said, “We have so many abandoned projects. Every year, they prepare budget and in the process of hiring many of the contractors, they don’t go for qualified contractors. And this is because some of the contractors are actually suggested by some people in the National Assembly.

“And as a result, we have so many of these abandoned projects, while some of them have failed. One example is the 133KV substation in Oba near Onitsha. The contract for that substation was awarded in 2001. The contractor is a Nigerian. They’ve collected 81 per cent of the offshore amount and 54 per cent of the local portion but the contract has been abandoned.

“Waralambe in Kano is also another example of a contract that has failed. It was handled by a Nigerian contractor who collected about 90 per cent of the offshore funds and about 60 per cent of onshore amount, but the contractor abandoned the project.”

Mohammed, however, noted that the TCN had started fixing projects that could be remedied using its workers.

“We are changing people’s mindset to understand that we can do certain things by ourselves, but that also doesn’t go down well with some people who believe that the TCN is supposed to be their farm,” he added.

Source: IWIN

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