The execution of the multi-billion Mambilla Hydro Electric Power Project has been hampered by the ongoing legal challenge by the former contractor to ths project, Sunrise, with the Federal Government, Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, has said.
Since the legal challenge by the contractor, the minister said further development of the project has been encumbered.
Regardless, the Minister said the government was committed to the progress made in the implementarion of the project towards an early delivery, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive.
The minister was speaking in his office in Abuja while receiving the management team of China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Company, the Chinese firm currently handling the project, led by its Vice President, Yuan Baoy.
He said in spite of the challenges experienced in the implementation of the project, the government was making all efforts towards delivery on schedule.
“Despite the challeges, at no point did the government relax since the reinvigorated effort to resuscitate the project. A key inhibitor to the execution of the project has been the ongoing legal challenge by the former contractor, Sunrise, which admittedly has encumbered further development of the project,” the minister said.
He said the government was at this juncture in the process of finalising settlement terms with the contractor leading to an amicable arbitration, so that the project can take off in earnest.
Concurrently, he said President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to review the progress so far and carry out value engineering of the project to optimise its implementation and delivery.
At the moment, the Minister said the sovereign investment agency has been given three months to submit a comprehensive report detailing the findings of the value engineering and also provide recommendations to move the project forward.
As part of the process of acquisition of the land for the project, the Minister said his Ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Taraba State government to this effect.
Following the successful conduct of the land and aerial survey activities, “sensitization and enlightenment activities have also been carried out to secure the full buy-in and participation of stakeholders and hosts communities in the area.”
Also, the Project Delivery Committee(PDC) Chair, Faruk Yabo, gave some insights into preparations towards the take off of the Mambilla Hydro, power project.
The Federal Ministry of Power, he said, has already committed N200million to the training of junior and mid-level artisans, ensuring the availability of manpower for the development of the project.
These include electricians, plumbers, masons, drivers and cooks.
The Committee Chair emphasised the Ministry’s desire to follow through on smooth uninterrupted implementation.
“Once the project starts, there is no stopping”, he said.
“Three important issues which may threaten the smooth execution of the project have been prioritised for special attention, including financial viability and sustainability; the land acquisition, and the arbitration, to free the project from any further encumbrances”.
Yabo further disclosed that the office of the Attorney General of the Federation had reached an understanding with Sunrise on an amount to be paid as part of the settlement, which may have been delayed by the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, the Vice President of the China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Company, Yuan Baoyi assured that his company was ready to mobilise to site, once all issues regarding the financing, land acquisition and arbitration were settled