The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved a contract worth $5.792billion for the construction of the 3050Mega Watt, Mambilla Hydro Power project.
The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari who was attending his first council meeting in over 3 months as he was away in London receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment. Buhari returned to the country penultimate week but shelved last week’s council meeting.
The project, which is a joint venture with the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) is to attend to engineering, turnkey and civil engineering works that includes the construction of 4 dams with depths of up to 150 meters each.
Briefing journalists after the council meeting alongside the Ministers of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, Sports Solomon Dalung and Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola said the funding is coming through the Chinese Export and Import Bank with just a 15 percent counterpart
funding from Nigeria.
“So the funding is coming from the Chinese government through their Exim Bank. It’s an export funding support for their government and their produce and an import for us. So 85% of that is supposed to financed by them and 15% is our own counterpart funding. The award now triggers the contract negotiation for the financing side and after
when that is concluded, the project can start.
“This govt approved the award of the contract today to a joint venture of Chinese civil engineering company for the engineering and turnkey contract including civil and electromechanical works for $5.792billion” he said.
He explained that the construction will take about 72 months or 6 years a very extensive scope of work which requires “construction of 4 dams, one of them is 150m in height. The intermediate 2 are 70m in height and the smallest of them is 50m in height”.
The project which will be sited in the Gembu area of Taraba state also includes 700km of transmission lines and will involve a lot of preparatory work with settlement and all of that, the Minister explained. “It will really unleash the potential that has been reported about Mambila for agric, for tourism, and also for energy. It will also help to Nigeria strike a very big blow on the climate change issue and fulfil its commitment under the Paris agreement”.
Fashola also stated that with a projection of 3050 mega watts on overall output, it is however dependent on the provision of water to produce the ultimate capacity of the said engineering projection.
The minister added that since 1972 when the issue of the project came up this was the first time Council was actually approving it.
Council also gave approval for the regulation of the imports and installations of boilers and pressure vessels.
According to the Labour Minister, this is in line with factory acts of 2004 that regulates factory management through monitoring and inspections in order to achieve standardisation and effective codes of operation. He added that proper adherence to the law will reduce environmental hazards and loss of human lives in case of accidental explosions.
Meanwhile, Vice President, Yemi Osinabjo has taken over negotiation with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities members.
Ngige said it was part of the resolve of the council that, Osinbajo henceforth oversee and preside over the negotiations until both parties reach a truce.
The development is coming a day after the union boycotted a meeting scheduled with officials of the Federal Government.
ASUU who have been on strike in the past two weeks has accused the government of not honouring its parts of agreement reached in time past.