FG, China to fund $5bn Mambilla power plant

he Federal Government and China Exim bank are to finance the $5bn Mambilla 3,050 megawatts hydro power plant in Taraba State.

It was learnt that senior officials from the ministries of finance and power had concluded arrangements to visit China next week to finalise all necessary transactions needed for the commencement of the project.

Our correspondent gathered that the power plant would cost about $5bn and to be largely financed by the Chinese financial institution.

Confirming the development, the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Mohammed Wakil, said the project had received the approval of the President and the Federal Government would commence work on it once its delegation returned from China.

He said, “The amount to be invested in that project is over $5bn. In the history of this country this is so far the most expensive project. This is so far the biggest project and one has to follow due process. The China Exim Bank is indicating interest in it but the Federal Ministry of Finance has to check and do the needful.

“The ministers of finance and power will be in China any time soon to finalise and cross check all that is necessary about this project. The President has passion for this project and he has been mentioning it on many of his statements has committed himself. He even said sometime that he would have loved to inaugurate the ground breaking ceremony of this project before the elections.”

Explaining reasons why the project had yet to commence as planned, Wakil said litigations by host community had delayed the full commencement of the power plant.

“Somehow, the community instituted a court injunction restraining us from further work on the project. At a point we had about two litigations but the ministry, instead of going through the legal way, decided to solve the problem outside litigation.

“A committee has been set up on this because this is a national project and we don’t want to be involved in unnecessary legal tussle as this may result in a perpetual injunction. That is why we are engaging the committee, the lawyers and the community to see how we can settle this out of court so that they will allow the project.”

The minister said the litigations “tampered with our timetable otherwise the project would have gone far beyond its present state. But even at that, the key things needed for the ground breaking are set.”

Wakil noted that the approval by the President was in order to uplift the North-East by boosting power supply and infrastructural development in the region, which had been ravaged by the devastating activities of insurgents.

He stated that stated the President approved the Mambilla project because of his conviction that boosting economic life in the region was the surest way to engage youths that were being lured to militancy.

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