By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah,
45 years after Nigeria began talks about its take off, precisely in 1972, the federal government yesterday approved 5.792 billion dollars (N1.140trillion) for the construction of the 3,050 megawatts Mambilla Hydro-Power project at Gembu, Taraba State.
The approval was made at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, gave the hint while briefing State House correspondents alongside the minister of Labour and Employment and their Sports counterpart.
He said, “The memorandum from the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing was to the award of the Mambilla Hydro-Power plant. I believe that many of you have heard of this project.
“Several efforts had been made to bring it to reality but I’m happy to announce that this government approved the contract today to joint ventures of Chinese Civil and Engineering company for the engineering and turn-key contract, including civil and electro-mechanical works for 5.792 billion dollars. The construction should take about 72 months (6 years)”.
Noting that the scope of work of the project will include the construction of four dams and 700 kilometres of transmission lines, the minister said the project, when completed, will boost the nation’s economy.
He added that it will also unleash the potential that had been reported about Mambilla in the fields of agriculture, tourism and energy.
“It will also help Nigeria strike a very big blow on the climate change issue and fulfill its commitment under the Paris Agreement, because this is going to be renewable energy, coming also at a relatively competitive cost”, he stated.
Fashola said, while the project will be jointly financed by the federal government and the China Export Import (EXIM) Bank, EXIM bank will provide 85 per cent of the cost and the federal government will provide 15 per cent.
On his part, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, disclosed that FEC approved Boiler and Pressure Vessel Regulation to ensure industrial safety in the country.
According to him, the approval was in line with international best practices to safeguard lives and property in the industrial sector of the nation’s economy.
Also speaking, Sports Minister, Mr Solomon Dalung, said he presented to FEC the AfroBasket women champions, who after 12 years, won the championship in Mali on Sunday.
He said, “When they were presented to the ministry yesterday, we sought the approval of Mr President which he graciously approved to receive them today and indeed they were received in council and having emerged as champions, they are qualified for the competition in Spain in 2019.
“Although we have athletes who had competed in other sports and had won laurels for the country, we felt it was economical to present the basketball team which was handy on ground in view of the fact that if you look at the component of players, they were mixed with national players and foreign based.
“So, we got the opportunity handy and had received them and for those we have not been able to do, we will still do it at the appropriate time, knowing too well that this government is always committed to receiving and honouring our athletes whenever they make the country proud”.
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