FG Commences Repair of Lagos-Abeokuta Road

The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, yesterday, inaugurated the rehabilitation of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, with an inspection tour of the road.

The Director, Federal Highways, South-West, Mr. Olalekan Busari, said the road had been neglected by previous administrations before it was re-awarded to Julius Berger for construction this month.

According to him, the project is divided into two sections, the first of which starts from Ile Zik in Lagos, spanning about 20 kilometres, while the second section falls in Ogun State and covers 60km.

Busari said the project had suffered several setbacks in the past but that the current administration was resuscitating it as part of its mandate to deliver infrastructure development to Nigerians.

He stated, “It is a complete total rehabilitation of the entire road this time around, and it is awarded at N22.387bn and the contract period is for two and half years, and we hope the contractor will actually deliver.

“Julius Berger has the capacity and the Federal Government is very determined to properly fund this road project so as to deliver it on time. The first section was to rehabilitate the Ota-Abeokuta section, which was awarded to Julius Berger in 2009 at the sum of N11.6bn. However, due to lack of funding, the project dragged on until 2010 that it was completed at a contract price of N14.6bn.”

Busari added, “Addendum 2 was awarded in 2006, consisting of the rehabilitation of the construction of the flyover at Ota and the construction of the roundabout, as well as the strengthening of the Lagos-Ota road at a sum of N9.6bn that time. The contract was eventually partially completed in 2010. In 2011, Section 3, Phase 3 was awarded at a contract sum of N10.6bn.

“The scope of work was to complete the work on the section on phase two, which is the construction of the flyover, as well as construction of the crash barriers and the strengthening of the Lagos road. It was awarded in 2011 at a contract sum of N10.6bn due to delay in the execution of the project and lack of funding by the previous administration. The job started and was stopped again in 2012 basically due to lack of funding and lack of priority.”

Busari explained that the road was important to the socio-economic development of the South-West and the entire nation, as well as it being the link to the Republic of Benin.

The Federal Controller of Works, Lagos, Mr. Adedamola Kuti; and the Federal Controller, Works, Ogun, Mr. Olukayode Popoola, both said they had put measures in place for traffic management and diversions so as to reduce the hardship of road users.

Julius Berger’s West Division Manager, Mr. Wolfgang Loesser, stated that the firm was first carrying out repairs of bad portions of the highway to ease gridlock before the major rehabilitation work.

FG Implores Power Distribution Companies to Make Proper Remittances 

…Says N1tn debt threatens NBET existence

The Federal Government has warned that massive indebtedness by power distributors to the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, NBET, may lead to the death of the firm.

The Federal Government implored power distribution companies to make appropriate remittances for the electricity supplied to them in order to avoid the collapse of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company.

The country has 11 power distribution companies and they get the electricity that they distribute to customers from power generation companies by purchasing it through the NBET.

The NBET, popularly referred to as the bulk trader, is the bulk power trading arm of the sector collecting funds from electricity distributors to pay the generation firms.

But remittances from the Discos have been persistently poor, a development which the Federal Government notes, may kill the NBET if not addressed.

This is coming as the Federal Government is planning to start naming and shaming power infrastructure vandals as well as communities that support vandalism.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told the power distributors at the recent 26th meeting with operators in the sector that they would have no business if the NBET could not pay its bills to the Gencos, because the bulk of the Discos’ power was coming from the bulk trader.

Fashola appealed to the Discos to do their best to ensure that the NBET did not die as it was the goose that lays the golden egg, according to minutes of the meeting, which was just put together in preparation for the next edition of the meeting holding today (Monday).

Operators in the sector often complain that power distributors persistently remit far below what is required of them by the bulk trader.

For instance, on March 18, 2018, Sunday PUNCH reported that the Discos got a total invoice of N44.85bn for the quantum of electricity they received in January this year, but the firms remitted only N2.7bn.

Documents obtained from the NBET on remittances by the Discos for power received in January showed that the firms had a combined remittance of 6.04 per cent for the month.

The bulk trader in its summary of Discos’ and Gencos’ invoices and payments for January 2018 cycle stated that “the total amount invoiced to the Discos for the January 2018 cycle was N44.85bn. Total amount received from the Discos for the January 2018 cycle was N2.7bn (6.04 per cent).”

Also, on March 20, this year, The PUNCH reported that the Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies, Dr. Joy Ogaji, explained that the Gencos were owed about N1tn by the power market, while the power producers owe gas suppliers half of that amount.

About 80 per cent of the electricity generated in the country is from gas-fired power plants, with hydro plants contributing the rest.

“We are owed about N1tn by the electricity market. About half of it is owed to gas companies, because it is as we are paid that we pay them (gas suppliers). And in some cases, we even took loans to pay some of them, because if you don’t pay, you don’t get gas,” Ogaji had stated.

The executive secretary said the NBET was established with the mandate that it would pay the Gencos 100 per cent, “but it has not paid the generation companies 100 per cent. What the NBET has kept telling us is that the Discos are not paying, and the Discos say that consumers are not paying.”

“From the beginning in 2013 till now, the Gencos have not pushed the government like this; we have been enduring, taking loans. But now, even the banks are not giving us loans to buy gas and generate electricity. So, we are in a conundrum,” Ogaji added.

Speaking at the 26th sectoral meeting, Fashola, who chaired the event, stated that while the government continued to actively play its roles in the sector through the NBET, the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, the Discos should on their own part improve on the quality and capacity of their networks to stimulate consumers’ willingness to pay for services rendered.

He implored the Discos to improve on their revenue collection efficiencies without extortion through estimated billings and advised them to also make remittances in accordance with the agreement they signed with the NBET.

Fashola reiterated the need for the Discos to take ownership of the Meter Asset Provider Regulation to improve the supply of meters to consumers as well as increase their response time in resolving consumer complaints in a business-like manner.

The indebtedness to the Gencos, among other concerns, made the power generators to drag the government to court two months ago.

The PUNCH had reported in March that some Gencos had dragged the government before the Federal High Court in Abuja over what they termed discriminatory practices against their interests and those of gas suppliers.

The firms also accused the Federal Government of conferring preferential treatment on Azura Power West Africa Limited and Accugas Limited at their own expense.

But the NBET insisted at the last operators’ meeting that it could not pay the Gencos on behalf of the Federal Government because it had no funds.

In its presentation on market performance at the April meeting, the bulk trader stated that it received only 25.6 per cent payment from the Discos for the energy they received from the Gencos in the February cycle.

It also stated that the NBET received late payments from the January cycle amounting to 21.08 per cent of the February invoice, bringing the total payment for February to 46.7 per cent.

The bulk trader promised that the total amount received from the Discos would be paid to the Gencos in the period under review before their respective due dates.

Similarly, the Market Operator, in its report at the meeting, stated that the Discos received 84.89 per cent of the total energy sent out by the Gencos, while international customers and other direct customers received 7.53 per cent in the month of February.

The Discos, according to the MO, remitted only 36.55 per cent of their invoices, while a shortfall of 63.45 per cent on remittances by the power distributors on service providers’ charges was recorded.

On plans to name and shame vandals, Fashola told the Niger Delta Power Holding Company to compile a list of all its completed as well as vandalised projects.

He suggested that a name and shame campaign would go a long way in curbing the nefarious activities of vandals and communities, which support them in the future.

The meeting directed the NDPHC to forward the list of all its completed as well as vandalised projects to the ministry through the Permanent Secretary for proper articulation to enable the FMPWH to carry out a name and shame campaign on vandals and communities that support their activities.

On why the Discos were not making appropriate remittances, the firms complained that power users were not making adequate payments, a development that made it tough for the electricity distributors to meet their obligations to the NBET.

The Discos recently stated that members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria owed them about N30bn as unpaid electricity bills.

According to the power firms, the debt is among the many other liquidity challenges that have impacted negatively on the sector, particularly on the distribution arm of the industry.

They noted that the debt accumulated after a court injunction mandated the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission not to implement the Multi Year Tariff Order in 2015, which would have led to an upward review of tariffs.

“There are some things that probably have gone beyond the control of the Discos. It will interest you to know that the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria went to court when the 2015 MYTO 2.0 came in. And right now, MAN is owing the Discos an average of about N30bn,” the Chief Commercial Officer, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Deolu Ijose, said at an event in Abuja.

On July 13, 2016, reports have it that a Federal High Court in Lagos entered a judgement against NERC and the electricity distribution companies in a suit opposing the Federal Government’s bid to increase electricity tariff.

Justice Mohammed Idris had declared as null and void any hike in electricity tariff following an announcement of the proposed increase by the then Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi.

The court had since May 28, 2015 restrained NERC from giving effect to the proposed hike pending the determination of the suit filed against the move.

 

SOURCE: PUNCH

N1tn Debt Will Lead To Plants Shutdown – Gencos

Electricity generation companies have said they have no plans to disrupt power supply in the country but their refusal to remit payment for gas due to the non-payment of the debt owed them will lead to the shutdown of power plants.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, last week claimed that the Gencos were planning to disrupt the supply of electricity in the country.

“Let me say very clearly to all operators that I get reports of many of the clandestine meetings that some of them (Gencos) are holding with a view to disrupting the supply for political capital,” he said at the 25th Monthly Power Sector Meeting in Uyo.

The Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies, Dr. Joy Ogaji, told our correspondent in a telephone interview on Monday, “We are in the business of power generation. So, don’t you think we cannot disrupt our business? We have not issued any such threat that we are going to shut down power.

“But it is natural that when we are not being paid, we don’t have money to buy gas to generate power and we cannot pay salaries. So, automatically, the power plants will shut down even without us wanting to shut them down. We have not issued any notice that we are shutting down, but the natural occurrence will happen.”

Asked when the “natural occurrence” could happen, she said, “It is completely out of our control.

“The Nigeria Gas Processing and Transportation Company Limited, which supplies gas to some power plants, has given ultimatum to all the generation companies that use gas, that if they don’t make their contracts effective by paying 100 per cent, they will stop giving us gas. So, if you ask me how soon, it is as soon as the NGPTC is ready to shut off gas to us.”

About 80 per cent of the electricity generated in the country is from gas-fired power plants, with hydro plants contributing the rest.

“We are owed about N1tn by the (electricity) market. About half of it is owed to gas companies, because it is as we are paid that we pay them (gas suppliers). And in some cases, we even took loans to pay some of them because if you don’t pay, you don’t get gas,” Ogaji added.

The government-owned Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc buys electricity in bulk from the Gencos and sell to the distribution companies, which then supply it to the consumers.

According to Ogaji, the NBET was established with the mandate that it would pay the Gencos 100 per cent.

She said, “But it has not paid the Gencos 100 per cent. What the NBET has kept telling us is that Discos are not paying, and Discos say that consumers are not paying.

“From the beginning in 2013 till now, Gencos have not pushed the government like this; we have been enduring, taking loans. But now, even the banks are not giving us loans to buy gas and generate. So, we are in a conundrum.”

She added that the association had already, through several letters, informed all the leaders of the sector, including the minister and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, about the challenges facing the Gencos.

The PUNCH had two weeks ago reported that some Gencos had dragged the government before the Federal High Court in Abuja over what they termed discriminatory practices against their interests and those of gas suppliers.

The firms also accused the Federal Government of conferring preferential treatment on Azura Power West Africa Limited and Accugas Limited at their own expense.

FG To Complete N537M Osun Bridge – Fashola

The Federal Government on Friday gave an assurance  that it would complete the ongoing N537 million Ojutu bridge in Ilobu,  Osun.

Mr Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, said this while assessing the level of  work on some ongoing Federal Government projects in the state.

Represented by Mr Adetunji Adeoye, the South-West Director of  the ministry, Fashola said that he was impressed with the level of work done at the site.

The minister, who noted that the contract was awarded in April 2017, said that the contractor had been paid N137 million out of the total contract sum.

Fashola also said that government was committed  to  ensuring that all the ongoing projects in the state and other parts of the country were completed on schedule.

He further said that the infrastructural projects had  created jobs  for the  residents of the state.

Also speaking, Mr Wasiu Atitebi, the Federal Controller of  Works in the state, told newsmen that the contract was awarded  and to be completed in  12 months.

Atitebi said that the project  was already 50 per cent completed, adding that government was not owing the contractor.

Mr Humphrey Eihebholo, the representative of Preconsmith Construction Company handling the project, confirmed that government was not owing the firm.

Eihebholo said people from the town were employed at  the project site, adding that it  would be delivered by July.

Some of the residents,  who spoke with newsmen,  commended the  Federal Government for embarking on the project.

Mr Kayode Oladimeji, a motorist, said the old bridge connecting the town to Osogbo the state capital,  was too narrow and old.

Oladimeji said that with the construction of a new bridge by the Federal Government, there would be easy flow  of traffic.

Another motorist, Mr Wasiu Olatunji,  said that he was happy with the construction of the bridge.

Olatunji said that the bridge after completion  would boost the economy of the community.

NAN

FG Threatens To Withdraw Bonny-Bodo Road Funding

The Federal Government on Thursday threatened to withdraw funding for the suspended N120bn Bonny-Bodo road project due to the lack of unity  by host communities meant to achieve from the project in the Niger Delta.

It called on leaders of the affected society to coorperate  adding that the released funds for the project by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company might be refunded  if the host communities failed on agreement on the terms and conditions.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, gave the warning to heads of the communities at a meeting in Abuja, which had prominent and notable  traditional rulers from the Niger Delta region, officials of Julius Berger Plc, NLNG and council of elders from Ataba and Gokana, among others, in attendance.

Fashola begged the leaders of the communities to forget their differences and stated that if the discord persisted, he might petition the President over the issue and ask him to withdraw the N60bn contract sum for the project.

He explained that the Bonny-Bodo road project had enjoyed the largest funding, as the NLNG was providing N60bn with additional N60bn counterpart funding from the Federal Government.

The minister told his guests that the contractor handling the project had been mobilised, yet the project was suspended due to lack of cooperation from the benefitting communities.

Fashola expressed worry over the position of the elders, who insisted that the project would not be implemented except they were carried along and an additional route would be constructed in Ataba.

He said, “You must work this peace. Today is Thursday, since you said you know the permanent secretary, I will leave you with him. All I want is a peace accord and an invitation to Julius Berger not later than Wednesday, February 28, otherwise I will write a report to Mr. President that it doesn’t seem that this project is ready to go, but we can move the money to another project.

“Whether it is Ataba, Ogoni or Gokana, you must own this project. The people you call militants are not spirits. They take their cue from how you react. You are leaders there. If you go back home today and say it is over, the militants too will calm down. They don’t do anything without alerting the leaders.”

Fashola added, “For us, we can’t keep the money down. The contractor has received his money but now he can’t work. There are projects where contractors are waiting for money, but they don’t have it. That is a contradiction that will not last long.

“So, I will leave you. You know where we stand. We have an idea of where you stand. For me, it is a compromise that holds the project. The NLNG will not be there forever. It took time to even beg them to release this money. So, if you don’t take ownership of the project and put it to use, we might as well tell them to take their money back and that the project is not ready.”

…unveils document on drinking water standard

The Federal Government on Thursday unveiled a document titled: ‘The Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality’.

According to the government, the document sets limits for constituents and water contaminants hazardous to health and provides guidelines to meeting the mandatory limits.

It added that the document also assigned institutional responsibilities, including enforcement, to stakeholders in line with their statutory obligations.

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, who unveiled the document on behalf of the government in Abuja, said the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, in its effort at ensuring the quality of drinking water supplies in view of its impact on the health of the populace, collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria to develop the Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality.

He stated, “It was noticed that not much was done in respect to enforcement of standards, with water producers carrying on with business as usual without regard for the quality of drinking water supplied to the people. This issue precipitated the reassignment of the role of stakeholders during the review of the standard in 2015 by the technical committee.

“In the revised standard, which we are launching today, the FMWR has been assigned the responsibility of enforcement and we are working assiduously to speed up the process of upgrading the water quality laboratories located in Lagos, Akure, Kano, Minna, Enugu and Gombe. This is alongside the completion of additional six laboratories in Maiduguri, Sokoto, Makurdi, Umuahia, Asaba and Port Harcourt.”

Adamu stated that the water quality laboratories had the responsibility of water quality surveillance and enforcement of the standard.

He said efforts were also ongoing to finalise the water quality management strategy, which seeks to harmonise and standardise implementation approaches on water quality management at all levels.

The minister added, “It is also expected that the passage of the National Water Resources Bill, which is currently receiving attention in the National Assembly, will provide effective management of drinking water supplies across the country.

“Furthermore, to ensure that the rural communities are empowered to monitor their drinking water along the water chain and take preventive and remedial actions from source through transport to households, the FMWR, in collaboration with UNICEF, developed guidelines for water safety planning and rural drinking water quality monitoring and surveillance.”

Power Sector Loses N24bn Monthly To Fuel lmportation..Fashola

The Nigerian electricity supply industry loses approximately N24bn monthly due to fuel importation such as diesel for alternative sources of energy, said  the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.

According to Fashola, Nigerians consume about 300 million litres of diesel monthly and 75 per cent of this volume is imported, while about 40 per cent is used by generating plants to produce electricity.

This was stated at the 24th monthly power sector stakeholders’ meeting hosted by the Transmission Company of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday, and explained that about N24bn was being lostmonthly due to fuel importation.

Fashola, who was represented by the Minister of State II for Power, Works and Housing, Suleiman Hassan, said, “Many power consumers use diesel. Diesel importation has been declining over the last two years. Many are reporting that they ran their generators for noticeably few hours. This is progress. However, Nigerians still consume about 300 million litres of diesel every month and most of this is used to power generators.

“About 75 per cent is imported, putting pressure on scarce foreign exchange. Assuming 40 per cent of the consumption is used for power generation at an average of price of N200 per litre, the electricity industry is losing N24bn every month largely to imported energy.”

He also stated that the amount used in importing fuel as an alternative source for generating power could be channelled for use in the electricity supply industry, as about 2,000 megawatts of power remained unutilised in the sector.

Fashola said, “There is about 2,000MW of electricity generating capacity that is unutilised. Therefore, the challenge of the moment before the industry is how to deliver the unutilised capacity to consumers, who are willing to pay for it and are already paying dearly for alternatives.

“Problems like this require creative solutions and we don’t have any time to waste. The N701.9bn payment reassurance programme is a creative solution that appears to be having the desired effect for stabilising the gas and generation end of the electricity industry.

“If we can creatively and constructively focus on specific win-win projects, four policies provide effective tools to quickly resolve the challenges we now face. The first two, the eligible customer regulation and the meter service provider regulation, are already subjects of detailed discussions and NERC regulatory action.”

Fashola added that the eligible customer regulation allowed large consumers to buy their power directly from the generation companies and then enter into contracts with the Transmission Company of Nigeria and distribution companies to have the power delivered to them.

“To plan an orderly win-win implementation of this policy, the ministry is hosting a discussion with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and other interested large consumers of the policy on Tuesday (today),” the minister said.

He stated that the meter service provider regulation could unlock investments in metering, which was urgently needed to boost consumer trust and collection efficiency.

The minister added “Government seeks to apply that policy through private companies and local meter manufacturers to invest N39bn in meters as settlement of a court judgement in favour of the government.

“The distribution expansion programme aims to rapidly construct 2,500MVA of dedicated 33kV lines and packaged substations to deliver unutilised power to target consumers and Discos. It is our hope that we will all put our heads together to serve the public effectively.”

Fashola Blasts House Of Rep, Holds Them Responsible For Slow Improvement In The Power Sector

Babatunde Raji Fashola, Former governor of Lagos and present minister for Power, works and housing has vented his frustration to the House of Representatives accusing them of distracting him from carrying out his work.

He revealed that the frequent probes by the House of Representatives on issues affecting the ministry, was distracting him.

While facing an investigation on the transmission company of Nigeria (TCN) organized by the House committee on power, Fashola said;

 “We closed here last week and we are resuming this week with this committee. Committees of the House also will be asking us of our budget performance and we just need to work in the office so that we can also perform. So, I think there’s a sense here that I respectfully ask you to sufficiently use this time so we can also work to serve the Nigerian people.

We have a letter dated December 20, 2017, and that letter was issued under the name of one Nnamdi D. Onuigwe Esqr, Committee Clerk. And, it’s from the House of Representatives, saying the House has constituted an ad hoc committee on the need to investigate the Fiscal Responsibility and Procurement Acts by the TCN. It was pursuant to House resolution 114/ADHOT/TCN2 of December 20.”

Now, we were waiting to be invited by the ad hoc committee when we got this letter asking us to come today, signed by Ibrahim Sidi, Committee Clerk pursuant to House resolution 189 of December 5, 2017. Although, it’s headed as “Need To facilitate Swift action on management of TCN Electric Power Reforms, it goes in the body to ask us to come and explain to this investigative committee the interim management of TCN on the delay in the implementation of projects such as the Nigerian Electricity Gas Improvement project that will improve power sector in Nigeria.

So, I seek clarification in order to assist the committee in its work and if it’s possible, to harmonize all of what we want to do together, bearing in mind that this House substantially is handling some possibly over-lapping issues.

 

Fashola Wants Full Funding By FG For The Lagos – Ibadan Road

He also adviced the same for the 2nd Niger Bridge.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, told the House of Representatives on Tuesday that sufficient funding by the Federal Government is the only solution to the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan express way.

Fashola argued that the two projects were “very critical” to the country’s economy and could not be left to the long processes involved in negotiating a Public-Private Partnership arrangement as a financial option.

To achieve adequate funding through budgetary appropriation, the minister noted that the support and understanding of the National Assembly was priceless.

The minister warned that the delay in the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway could begin to impact negatively on the economy in the coming years.

“In a few years’ time, our economy will feel the impact of the non-completion of this road. It is in our best interests to give it the desired attention,” he stated.

Fashola appeared in Abuja before the House Committee on Works chaired by Mr. Toby Okechukwu.

The committee is investigating the “nature of the contract and/or concession arrangement on the Second Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.”

The House had resolved to probe the funding of the two projects, following conflicting accounts over an existing PPP and direct budgetary funding.

But the minister explained that the PPP arrangement he met when he assumed office in 2015 was not leading the country anywhere

He stated that it was beset by litigation, which meant that the projects would continue to be stalled had he not stepped in to advise the government to continue to fund them.

Fashola added that while a PPP would seem attractive, he had come to realise that developers in Nigeria did not have the financial capacity to support major projects like the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge.

He told the committee that this was the reason why he advised the government in 2015 to take full control of the funding, pending when all the disputes over the concession would be resolved.

The minister said this was the reason N31bn was put in the 2017 budget to speed up work on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, but regretted that it was the same National Assembly that slashed it to N10bn.

Fashola said, “In 2017, we put N31bn there, but it was scaled down to N10bn, perhaps because it was thought that the money was too big for a section of the country.

“Promises were made (by virement) that the money would be returned, but till date, no money has come to us.”

For 2018, the minister said N9bn was proposed for the shorter section of the road being handled by Julius Berger.

He added that another N11.5bn was proposed for the longer section where the RCC was working, bringing the total proposal for 2018 to N20.5bn.

On the Second Niger Bridge, Fashola told the committee that N5.05bn was proposed for 2018, though he confirmed that no PPP funding arrangement had been finalised for the project by the government.

He informed the lawmakers that while a PPP arrangement signed in 2007 for the two projects seemed laudable, the truth was that it was imposed on Nigeria by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Fashola added, “The Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission advised against the concession in 2007, but the government said you either do it or get fired.

“These were facts I got to know when I arrived on the scene in 2015. They will bring out their files and you will see. This is the truth.”

Members of the House, including Mr. Pattegi Ahman and Mr. Mohammed Bago, said they were in support of the government increasing the allocations to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

The total cost of the road is put at N167bn.

Members argued that unless more money was put into the road, at the current N20.5bn per year, the project would drag for another 10 years.

“At this funding pace, it will be at least another eight years to complete the road,” Okechukwu noted.

Meanwhile, at a separate session on a bill seeking to fund the Federal Road Maintenance Agency from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, Fashola opposed the idea.

He said FERMA was already being funded through appropriation by the National Assembly, adding that all that was required was to increase the allocations in the budget.

The session was chaired by Mr. Jerry Alagbaso.

FG To Spend N155bn On Kaduna-Kano Road Project

The Federal Government on Wednesday approved a sum of N155.7 billion for the construction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria to Kano road projects.

The minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola disclosed this while addressing press after a marathon federal executive council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential Villa in Abuja.

The meeting was also adjourned to today, the first time the council meeting will be holding for two consecutive days.

Fashola also said council approved the completion of Police Service Commission headquarters in Abuja.

According to him, the project was approved for variation to enable its completion over the next six months.
He noted that the initial cost was N3.486 billion and it has been increased to 3.925 billion, a variation of N439.113 million.

He said council also approved Nnamdi Azikiwe Mausoleum in Anambra State. The project was started but not completed by previous administration.

“Council approved the additional funding to complete it from N1.496 billion to N1.953 billion”.

Also approved is Efire-Araromi-Aiyede-Aiyela road to connect Ondo and Ogun states at the cost of N14.4 billion.
He said for the Enugu-Onitsha highway, the Amansia section, council approved the variations of the cost of N38.74 billion to enable the contractor progress with the work.

“Council also approved the awarded part at the Umunya at the cost of N23.4 billion. So if you add that N38.74 billion which was the cost of the Amansea section you will get a total approved cost of N62.06 billion.”

“This contract was first awarded for N24 billion in 2014 but the scale of work done is, to say the least, appalling,” he said.

Fashola said council also approved money for intervention in education and healthcare. It approved the provision of independent power plant in nine universities and one Teaching Hospital as the first phase of the pilot programme to cover 37 universities at the cost of N38.965 billion to provide dedicated power to the universities which include street lighting, workshop to train the students post-completion.

During his briefing, the minister of Water Resources, Suliaman Adamu said, council ratified augmentation of funds to complete Adada dam Igbo-etiti LGA in Enugu State, with the aim to provide water to the university town of Nsukka. It comprises of a dam, some kilometers of pipeline, water supply to some communities along the route and water treatment plant.

The Enugu State government is expected to take the conveyance system from where we stop from the water treatment plant into Nsukka town and provide the necessary distribution, storage and reservoirs.

“The project was started in 2010. This project has been augmented and council approved that the project be completed now at N5.6 billion by the end of 2018.

“Council also approved the augmentation of phase II Galma Dam and irrigation project in Kaduna Zaria. The purpose of the dam is to provide water in Zaria and environs. The phase I dam has already been completed while phase II involves irrigation and some additional structures. So there was an augmentation to raise the project N16.5 billion in favour of Gilmore Nig. Ltd.

“Council also approved the review of construction fee for Uguashi-Ukwu dam project in Delta State. The project is almost 100 per cent completed but because of the extension of time over the years, we have to ratify the need to pay consultants for staying on site to oversee that project. So council approved the sum of N133.6 million.”
The minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, said council approved production and distribution of core text books for early education classes 1-3 and for primary 4-6 in public schools nationwide.

He pointed out that the federal government felt there is a need to support the funding of education not just the instruction but also the individuals who occupy the institution at the cost of N6.9 billion.

He said council also gave approval for Jos Central Library and the construction of the Faculty of Animal Sciences and Engineering.

For ministry of transport, Amaechi said they had approval for two vessels called pilot cutters to escort vessels into the seaport saying “Prior to this time they were hiring, now we have approval for NPA to buy theirs at the cost of N1.9 billion.”

Also, he said council approved another two vessels of 17 meters in the eastern port that will help monitor and assist vessels into the seaport at the cost of N1.2 billion.

“Council also approved the award of contract for direct procurement of installation and commissioning of Wide Area of multilateration for the Gulf of Guinea at the cost of N3.9 billion. This is to help capture that equipment flying below the radar, for us to be able to pick them because it will be dangerous if we cannot because a lot of them use helicopters.

“There was also an approval for the consultancy services to construct a new terminal building at Mallam Aminu Kano Airport. We just want to complete the payment which is at N621 billion.

“Council also approved the purchase of flight calibration inspection at the cost of N111.6 million.”

He said one other key project that was approved is the engagement of consultants for the project management, monitoring and evaluation including media and public relations services of the UNEP report.

“The president has also directed that immediately remediation should start and so the processes for remediation should come to council within the next six months so that we can commence the activities of reclaiming the land from the disastrous stage that it is now. The president reminded the cabinet that he was in Ogoni during campaign and had promised that the UNEP report will be carried out”, he added.

The FCT minister, Mohammed Bello, said council approved the completion of the Goodluck Jonathan Way in the FCT that links traffic from Keffi-Nyanya into the city. “We got an augmentation of an additional N3.8 billion and with the funding the road will be completed any moment from now.”

He explained, “Council also approved a critical project which is the infrastructure development of Wasa resettlement site sitting on about 695 hectares at the cost of N26 billion. The infrastructure development will include the construction of 198 roads within the settlement area totaling about 88.95 kilometers. The project is meant to move about 13 indigenous communities in the FCT in that area.

Source: Leadership

Toll Gate Construction Commences Soon

The Minister for Works and Power, Babatunde Fashola announced that tolls would now be re-constructed at the 38 locations from which they were demolished in 2004. This decision by the federal government to bring back toll plazas clearly spells that the funding of roads cannot be from yearly budgetary allocations and that to continue with the current model is a disservice to Nigeria.

In the recent briefing to the Senate Committee, current minister, Babatunde Fashola gave details: The final designs for the toll plazas had been received but tolling would commence only after the rehabilitation of the roads to be tolled. Toll collection will be contracted out to private operators. Latest available technology would be deployed; with Electronic Reading System, e-payment and direct transfers by motorists using their mobile phones.

It is, however, understandable that the Senator Magnus Abe-led Committee raised issues concerning FERMA. It was an opportunity for the Minister to solicit the Senate’s support for a quick passing of the Bill in the Senate for the establishment of the National Road Fund and the Federal Roads Authority. That effort is being led by Senator Kabiru Gaya, Chairman of Committee on Works with oversight functions over federal roads. Certainly, the Minister and the senators need to pay greater attention to the bill, which has gone through a second reading. The minister also needs to allay misgivings about his position on this issue. His predecessor in office, Mike Onolohmemen, had announced in 2013 that the road agency would be established as the permanent solution to the challenge of funding roads and to eliminate the duplication of functions by FERMA and the Federal Highways Division.

In the past, revenue collected from toll plazas did not go directly into road maintenance and administration, because such funds were deposited in the Consolidated Revenue Account. Payments for road programmes, therefore, had to come from budgetary allocations. This time around, the Minister assured that monies collected from toll plazas would be used for maintenance. How would this be achieved without a Road Fund and given the exigencies of the Treasury Single Account?

On the problems of FERMA, the Minister reported that in the current fiscal year, the agency has a budget of N25B but only N800M has been released by the Ministry of Finance. Yet, the Minister promised that the Highways Division and FERMA “will try and repair the roads before people start travelling in December.” It is widely known that to every challenge in Nigeria’s infrastructure development, all the necessary solutions had been proffered and are well-documented. Many Nigerian experts and consultants who have worked for years have however suffered frustration in the hands of successive leadership without the will to implement. So have the officials from international development agencies who worked with the best interest of Nigeria at heart. Many specialists have taken similar recommendations or solutions to other nations, which promptly implemented them to their benefit while Nigeria has been a pitiable model of the absence of the will to do the right thing. This is the malaise road reforms have suffered since 1972.

Now, there is a need for synergy in government policy and programmes for roads. The duplication of efforts exists also in the legislature. Why are there many committees on roads, as in other areas? It is time for the executive to drive the actualization of the effort to establish a Road Fund and the Federal Roads Authority. To re-introduce tolls without the National Road Fund and the Federal Roads Authority is to put the cart before the horse. If the vacillation on this long-standing issue continues, it will result in total collapse of Nigeria’s road network.

Kaduna Electric Commits To National Grid Stabilization

The Chairman of Kaduna Electricity Distribution PLC, Alhaji Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar has called for greater collaboration between the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN and the Distribution Companies for effective delivery of qualitative power supply to the Nigerian public.

The call was made in Zaria last Friday while making a remark during the official commissioning of a mobile 40MVA power transformer at the 132/33KV Transmission sub-station by the honorable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola.

He advocated a balance between grid stabilization, the major concern of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN and business viability. “The two actors in the value chain must work together to ensure that the National Grid is stabilized, just as concerted efforts must be made to ensure that the power sector is viable and attractive to both local and foreign investors. This is the only way to ensure to ensure the development of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry”, he asserted.

Alhaji Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar therefore congratulated both the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola and the Interim Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Alhaji Usman Gur Mohammed for the incremental progress being recorded in the nation’s power sector, describing the Nigerian Electricity supply Industry as ” the most difficult sector to work in”.

The Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola who was represented by the Minister of State, Power, Works and Housing, Alhaji Mustapha Baba Shehuri announced that the Federal Government shall upgrade the TCN capacity to 20,000MW in the next four years.

Earlier, the Interim Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Alhaji Usman Gur Mohammed disclosed that “plan has reached the advanced stage to construct a 330KV grid code line from Kaduna to Zaria to Kano through the Transmission Company of Nigeria grid rehabilitation and expansion programme.

 

Source: Press Release