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Published On: Thu, Jul 25th, 2019

Reps probe abandoned federal projects, DISCOS

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By Christiana Ekpa

The House of Representatives yesterday resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate federal government’s abandoned projects from 1999 till date.
The probe according to the House will include the cost of award, period of award, the state of completion and constraints.
The resolution of the House was sequence to a motion by Hon. Francis Charles Uduyok on the “need to investigate federal government’s abandoned projects from 1999 till date”.
Uduyok while presenting the motion noted that there is an alarming number of projects awarded to contractors by federal government agencies, parastatals, ministries, commissions and boards from 1999 that have been abandoned.
He said “A large number of those projects estimated to be over 20, 000, have received advanced payments of not less than 50 percent and other payments which in total, amount to billions of naira.
“Some of those abandoned projects include important establishments like dams, hospitals, buildings, bridges, steel companies, and access roads, like the East-West road, awarded in 2006 which is yet to be completed after more than a decade.”
He lamented that abandoned projects have become pipes that drain federal government’s funds due to the inflationary rate that obtains when government decides to revive the projects many years after they were awarded,
“Even though this trend has been in vogue, there is need to change it if the nation is to have a meaningful development in terms of infrastructure and social services.” he said.
In another development, the House also asked the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of Distribution Companies, DISCOS as stipulated in the responsibility of the Commission in order to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians.
It asked the Power Regulator to install Independent Power Producer (IPP)/Non-Utility Generator (NUG) in lIupeju Industrial Hub as it is done in Sura Market in Lagos State and Onitsha Market in Enugu State respectively.
The Green Chamber equally urged the IKED to overhaul/change outdated and non-functional equipment’s to justify the billing giving to the people; and mandated its Committee on Power (when constituted) to ensure compliance.
These resolutions followed a motion on: ‘Urgent Need to Stop Industrial Hub from Collapsing sponsored by Ali Taofeek, at Wednesday plenary.
Presenting the motion, Taofeek stated that, “the House notes that the administration of President Obasanjo embarked on a series of reforms to revamp the power sector with the enactment of the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005 which led to the handling of National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) to Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
“Also notes that the unbundling was to make electricity generation and supply available to consumers, making the sector investor friendly and dismantle NEPA’s monopoly with Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), six electricity generating companies (GENCOS) and eleven Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOS) as successors during the administration of President Ebele Jonathan.
“Aware that the Act also provided for the establishment of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) which is saddled with the regulation of tariffs and service quality, oversee the activities of the industry for efficiency and other responsibilities which NERC is disinclined to trail.
“Cognizant that the DISCOS have prior knowledge of challenges (grid energy insufficiency and instability, tariff challenges and revenue shortfall, metering challenges, operational challenges, energy theft and network infrastructure challenges) facing PHCN before liquidation.
“Worried that the electricity supply in terms of quality and coverage has remained very poor in Mushin and its environs despite the prior knowledge and huge budgeted amount enjoyed by DISCOS from the Federal Government.
“Concerned that a sizeable part of Mushin 1 has being in total darkness for the past one year most especially Ilupeju Industrial Hub, one of the heartbeats of Lagos State economy is facing low
electricity supply while those that enjoy epileptic supply of electricity are billed using guess- estimated bill.
“Dismayed that the industrial hub of Lagos has turned shadow of itself as a result of the poor power electricity supply which has led to the collapsed of some industries and re-location of most of them to neighbouring countries like Ghana, Cote d’lvoire, Togo thereby creating armies of unemployed youths.
“Convinced that if the Federal Government could take a bold step by introducing Independent Power Producer (IPP)/Non-Utility Generator (NUG) as introduced in Onitsha Market in Enugu State and Sura Market in Lagos State respectively, these companies would be fully back in production”.

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