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Electricity: FG approves framework for distribution of more 2,000MW

· N3.8b for water works in Jigawa State

The Federal government has approved a new framework to expand the 33KVA and 11KVA electricity transmission lines to ensure distribution to consumers of extra 2,000 Megawatts of generated energy that is currently lying unused at power stations.

The approval was made during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to the federal government, about 7,000 megawatts of electricity was being generated but the existing national grid cannot transmit and distribute more than 5,000mw.

The Minister of Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that in the investment arrangement, the Federal Government would contribute 40 per cent while the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) would provide the 60 per cent balance of the cost.

But Fashola did not disclose the cost, saying that the “The process will involve international investment for the procurement of the equipment, lines and all of the accessories to build those networks and there will be more under international procurement standards.

“The Federal Government will put its own 40 percent and ask the DISCOs to put their own 60 percent and other parties who are interested will have the opportunity to improve on the investments.

He said, “We are expecting many more power plants to be completed this year which will add almost 1,600MW to the grid. We can’t continue to accumulate power that doesn’t get to the people, so this framework is to start the process.”

Fashola further explained that “Government is now saying we can’t sit down idle doing nothing, let’s start something, a framework for investment. We will advertise for international tenders for people who make the equipment. We need transformers, conductors, switch gears, circuit breakers, etc, and with international competitive pricing.

“Once those prices are agreed, then we will call the private sector owners of the DISCOs, present our own 40 percent and ask for their own. As soon as the pricing is complete, we intend to persuade government to start making its investment. What we have done as a Ministry is a formulation of policy to government to say this is the next thing we must do and government has approved that policy.”

Speaking on the tax credit policy of investment in infrastructure also initiated by his Ministry, Fashola said that it was already yielding some benefits, like the rehabilitation of Obajana road which however, stalled for some time because some of the construction workers were attacked and kidnapped.

“Lafarge Cement is also doing something in Calabar area along this line. The Bodo/Bonny bridge is also seeking to benefit from that policy. That project has also been awarded, geo-technical works, soil investigation and dredging works had started until their dredging equipment were attacked in December in the creeks.

“The Apapa/Oworoshoki Expressway is one of the roads that are a potential beneficiary. We have sent designs to the Dangote people that expressed interest. They are finalizing their numbers, the bill of quantities and engineering measurements and drawing so that we will have those prices to be validated by the government procurement agency before we can proceed”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, disclosed that FEC approved the rehabilitation of water supply scheme in Kazaure, Jigawa State at the cost of N3.78billion.

The contract, which was awarded to CGC Nigeria Limited, became necessary because of the Bwari irrigation project which was started in 1997 and abandoned in 2000 while the town has been without public water supply for 20 years.

“Very soon, under our new programme of resuscitating irrigation project with a view to expanding irrigable land available, that irrigation project is set to commence and it is important that this water project takes advantage of the return of this project”, the minister added.

Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, further announced FEC’s approval of the upgrade of Nigeria’s flight safety laboratory in Abuja at a cost of N656 million.

The laboratory, which is used for air accident investigation purposes, was established in 2012 but has become obsolete because it still analyses only tape-based flight recorders whereas “Nigeria, like other places recorded plane crashes like in the case of Dana where extreme temperatures damaged the recorders because they are tape based.

“So, we are upgrading it to something that is more permanent and can stand high temperatures. These are international requirements and the amount needed is N656 million”, Sirika added.

Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

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