The Federal Ministry of Power has said total output capacity for the 3050 megawatts (MW) Mambilla Hydropower Project in Taraba State will now be 1,520MW to maximise resources in delivering the utility infrastructure.
Daily Trust had reported in March about this development with a subsequent directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to audit the engineering value of the proposed power plant project.
The Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman had stated in April when he received the management team of the contractor, China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Company and its Vice President, Mr Yuan Baoyi, that the project is also hindered by the legal disputes between the former contractor, Sunrise, with which the government was finalising settlement terms so that the project can continue.
Sunrise Power Transmission Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPTCL), a promoter of the project, in May filed a $400 million compensation claim against the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) for failing a settlement term, which the minister was referring to.
The minister was at the National Assembly last week where he briefed the Senate Committee on Power about the proceeding of the Mambilla power project.
In the latest update about the scope of the project, the ministry said, “The project has been revised from 3,050MW to 1,520MW, and from three dams to two dams, but this will not change the annual energy yield of the project when completed. We are increasing plant factor from less than 20 percent to around 40 percent. Tariffs from the power plant will come down by half.
“By conducting a project review, we have had a significant deduction of over N1 billion from the overall project sum, saving Nigerian taxpayers a lot of money,” it further noted.
Chair of the Project Delivery Committee (PDC), Engr. Faruk Yabo, said the Ministry of Power has already committed N200 million to train junior and mid-level artisans like drivers, cooks and plumbers to support the engineering works. Yabo also said the Attorney General of the Federation had reached an understanding with Sunrise but that the payment was affected by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian economy and the federal purse.
The project was given a major boost in November 2017 when the federal government formally signed a $5.8bn contract. However, not much was heard until last year when the physical aerial survey and land demarcation for the project began following the release of N700m. Also in 2020, the ministry signed an MOU with the Taraba State government. “Pre-commencement activities have been defined, which involves access roads to dam sites and powerhouse, airstrip construction and contractors’ camps, which are awaiting the release of funds from the involved parties,” the ministry’s record showed.
Under the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract arrangement led by CGGEC and its consortiums, China Exim Bank will provide 85 percent of the construction cost while the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) would bear 15 percent of the cost.