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NASS, TCN on collusion over access to $1.5bn foreign facility

…Power sector has most abandoned contracts by FG

Contrary to the allegation by House of Representatives that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) had accessed $1.5bn foreign credit facility in the last one year without due process and approvals, the company has denied the claims, saying the facility deal is yet to be signed.

According to TCN, power transmission projects were among the highest number of abandoned contracts in the country traced to lack of adequate manpower by contractors.

The Interim Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of TCN, Usman Mohammed, said the manpower crisis affecting power service providers was further compounded by the new funding criteria introduced by multilateral donors demanding an upgrade in the qualification of contractors handling industry jobs.

He said the situation is made manifest on the new set of criteria for the release of the expected transmission expansion funds.

TCN boss noted that “We have so many abandoned projects. Every year, they prepare budget and in the process of hiring many of the contractors, they don’t go for qualified contractors. And this is because some of the contractors are actually suggested by some people in the National Assembly”.

“And as a result, we have so many of these abandoned projects, while some of them have failed. One example is the 133KV substation in Oba near Onitsha. The contract for that substation was awarded in 2001. The contractor is a Nigerian. They’ve collected 81 per cent of the offshore amount and 54 per cent of the local portion but the contract has been abandoned.

“Waralambe in Kano is also another example of a contract that has failed. It was handled by a Nigerian contractor who collected about 90 per cent of the offshore funds and about 60 per cent of onshore amount, but the contractor abandoned the project,” Mohammed averred.

Explaining more on the matter, he argued that TCN has not accessed any foreign facility; rather the bureaucratic bottlenecks have been frustrating signing of the funding agreement.

In his presentation at the inauguration of a 40MVA 132/33KV mobile transmission substation in Zaria, Kaduna State weekend, TCN boss noted that “We are expecting $486m from the World Bank; $210m from the Islamic Development Bank; $444m from the Africa Development Bank; and $200m from JICA”.

“These are commitments because we are working with them. We have not signed; but we have agreed to work with them.

“The reason why this information is misinterpreted is that with the agreement we have currently, we can prepare projects and do procurements at the same time.

“While engaging with the multilateral donors, you have to also get the consent of the minister of finance. You cannot engage any multilateral donor without getting the consent of the minister of finance, who will write letters to them to clear you for the loans.