The Senate on Wednesday urged the Ministry of Power, the National Council on Privatisation and the Bureau of Public Enterprises to suspend indefinitely the proposed concessioning of 700 megawatts Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant in Niger State.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Senators Gabriel Suswam (PDP, Benue) and Yahaya Abdullahi (PDP Kebbi).
The Senate mandated its Committee on Power to investigate the circumstances and conditions under which the power plant was being concessioned.
It said the investigation should also cover the utilization of the annual budgetary allocations made to the project, completion level and the management of external loans from the Chinese Exim Bank tied to the project.
The committee is also to look into the fate of unsettled host communities where the project is sited, the adequacy or otherwise of selection criteria for the concessionaire and to generally establish whether the proposed concession of the plant is an exercise that would ensure that government get the deserved value for funds expended on the project.
It said the planned concessioning should be suspended pending the conclusion of the investigation by its committee and consequent adoption based on the findings and recommendations.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan wondered why concessioning or privatisation always happens in the power sector despite billions of naira spent by the government.
He warned, “if anyone approves it (concessioning), we’ll reverse it because Senate is totally against it. Therefore, the NCP and BPE should suspend it.”