The Federal Government has set up an inter-ministerial budget monitoring committee to ensure the speedy completion of ongoing power projects in the country. The Committee which has started work is chaired by the Minister of Finance – Dr. Mansur Muhtar and was on a fact finding mission to assess challenges and impediments to the successful execution of key capital projects that are contained in the 2009 budget.
Other members of the Committee include the Minister of Power – Mr Lanre Babalola, FCT Minister – Senator Ademu Alero and Minister of State for Petroleum – Odein Ajumogobia, as well as Minister of Aviation – Babatunde Omotoba, Chief Economic Adviser to the President Dr. Tanimu Yakubu and Director General Bureau of Public Procurement, Engr Emeka Ezeh.
The Minister of Finance – Dr. Mansur Muhtar disclosed that there are a lot of public expectations from government on the Power Sector towards meeting the targeted 6,000MW by the end of this year. He said it was on account of this that the sector was given priority in the allocation of resources in the 2009 budget. and that huge sums have been released since to finance the various power projects.
The Minister spoke over the weekend at a meeting between Members of the Budget Implementation Committee and the Chief Operating Officers of the various Generation (GENCOS), Transmission (TRANSCOS) and Distribution (DISCOS) companies within the Power Holding Company (PHCN).
Dr Muhtar further stated that “monitoring of capital projects would be a continuous process, especially at the ministerial level and Power remains one of the critical sectors needed to deliver on the promises made by the present administration.
Lending his voice to the discussion on power, the FCT Minister – Senator Adamu Alero stated thus “luckily we have gotten the third quarter release and all outstanding certificates will be paid so that projects can be completed on time”. In course of the deliberation, the Chief Executives of the various GENCOS, TRANSCOS and DISCOS said they have made some progress towards meeting the targeted 6,000 MW. They however outlined numerous challenges in the area of security, especially in the Niger Delta region, inadequate gas supply to the power plants and delay in the award of contracts. In his remarks the Minister of Power, Dr. Lanre Babalola has mentioned that effective distribution of the generated power is very vital. He noted that key power plants (Afam, Sapele, Delta and Teba) are at various levels of completion. He further disclosed that transmission remained the weakest link in the chain, with 21 physical projects being completed to relay the 6,000 MW. In terms of distribution he said arrangements have been completed to procure transformers on accelerated basis.
Earlier the Committee had visited the project site of the Phase III Complex of the National Assembly. It expressed satisfaction on the level of project execution and commended the contractor for adhering strictly to the timetable in terms of physical completion of the project.