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Reps to probe failure of FG’s N3.4 billion Solar powered grid project

The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the failure of the Federal Government’s N3.4 billion solar powered Grid Project in the six Geo-Political Zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

It mandated the Committee on Power to investigate the abandonment of the projects by the Federal Ministry of Power since 2018 despite the huge amounts of money expended and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

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These resolutions were sequel to e adoption of a motion sponsored by
Aniekan Umanah (PDP, Akwa Ibom) during plenary on Tuesday.

Moving the motion, Umanah said the House recalled that the then Federal Ministry of Power, in 2013 rolled out an Off Grid Renewable Solar Energy Project code named Operation Light up Rural Nigeria (OLRN) with a budget of N3.446bn for four years, from 2013-2016.

According to him, the House also recalled that the project was targeted at four communities of Durumi-Mpape, Waru, Shape in the FCT as pilot scheme with plans to expand the scope later to other States of the Federation.

He said the House: “observed that with the coming of the present Administration in 2015, the project was rechristened Renewable Energy (Solar) Micro Utility (REMU) by the then Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and was expanded to provide additional 18 mini grids with three in each geopolitical zone”.

It is: “aware that the sum of Nl.4bn was released in 2014 to fund the Pilot Projects, where N40.6 billion was earmarked for periodic maintenance in 2015, and another N40.1billion for maintenance of each of the 18 grids.

“Also aware that Messrs Schneider Electric Nigeria Ltd was awarded the Durumi grid in the sum of N228.4m in 2014; Mesers Lordzetech got Waru grid for N228.4m and also won Shape grid, all in the FCT for N218.9m, according to records at the Bureau of Public Enterprises.

“Further aware that the sum of N382.6m was fully released in 2015 to fund the 18 mini grids while another N305.3m meant to construct a grid in Pakau, Kaduna State was also fully released.

“Worried that the sum of N625.5m has been expended on OLRN alone, while N687.9 has also gone into funding REMU as at 2017 according to budget records.

“Also concerned that despite the huge investments on the projects, most of them were found, shortly after their commissioning in 2014 not to have been properly implemented while others were out rightly abandoned till date with some of the equipment already vandalized.

“Further concerned that the overall intention of government to power up the rural areas in order to create jobs and assist in the springing up of small businesses for the local populace, thereby bringing development closer to the people and checkmating rural-urban migration has been defeated by the inefficient handling of the projects since inception”.

 

James Kwen, Abuja

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