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Senate calls for suspension of ongoing concession bid of Zungeru hydroelectric power plant



Senate  has urged National Council on Privatization and the Bureau of Public Enterprises(BPE) to suspend indefinitely, proposed concession of 700 Mega Watts(MW) Zungeru hydroelectric power plant in Niger state.


Senate decision,followed a  motion at plenary on Wednesday on “Need for Senate Intervention in the ongoing bid to Concession Zungeru hydroelectric power plant in Niger State.”


The motion was sponsored by Senators Gabriel Susuwam (PDP-Benue) and Abdullahi Yahaya(PDP-Kebbi).


Abubakar, while presenting the motion said  the  power  plant was the second largest hydroelectric plant in Niger, after Kanji Hydro power station.


He said the  contract was originally awarded in 2013 in the sum of 1.3 billion dollars.


He said apart from the huge loan secured by Federal Government from Exim Bank to fund the construction,National Assembly has since the commencement of construction work on the plant approved billions of naira annually.


According to him, over N43billion  was allocated to the project under the 2022 Appropriation Act and another N76.5 billion was been proposed by the executive in 2023 budget.


He said the project was expected to have  been completed within 60 months from date of execution of the contract in 2013,but several factors have threatened the speedy completion of the project.


He said Senate’s  Intervention was based on the need to ensure accountability for the huge annual budgetary allocations made to the project over the years,especially  on the issue of managing unsettled external loans tied to the project.


He said there was the need to establish whether the proposed concession of Zungeru plant was an exercise that would ensure that government get the deserved value for funds  expended and that  community related issues do not arise.


Senate in its further resolution  on the motion mandated Its committee on Power to investigate the circumstances and conditions under  which the 700 MW power plant was been concessioned  as it relates to utilisation of budgetary allocations made to the project.


It also mandated the committee to investigate the completion level of the project,management of external loans from Chinese Exim Bank tied to the project  and the fate of unsettled host communities where the project is sited.


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