President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Monday, said that the Ninth National Assembly would demand accountability and transparency in the nation’s power sector funding, particularly in the application of funds proposed for it in the 2020 budget.
The lawmaker made this remark when Joseph Chiedu Ugbo, managing director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company, led a delegation of the company on a visit to the National Assembly, Abuja.
According to him, the National Assembly Committees on Power will, through proper oversight roles, ensure the prudent application of all funds channeled to the power sector.
Lawan recalled that the government had been shortchanged in agreements entered into with generating and distribution companies severally in the past, vowing that such fiscal abuses will no longer be tolerated again.
He, therefore, warned that those behind shortchanging the government through power deals would be held accountable for their actions.
He said: “One of the challenges Nigeria is faced with today and for a very long time in the area of development is power. Until we are able to fix the power situation, the development will continue to be difficult to achieve.
“This is one area we will continue to give priority to ensure we are able to meet the targets. It’s not going to be easy, but the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has shown clear determination in ensuring we get power fixed.
“The power sector has been surrounded with controversies for a long time. When the NIPP started, so many things were said; some of which are true.
“Expenditures were made in the past, and we did not see commensurate results from the expenditures. It is something to worry about.
“Some persons also have the tendencies to sign agreements that sometimes are clearly against the national interest. Time has come for people to stop doing this”, the lawmaker stressed.
He pointed out further that in most cases, the Federal Government was shortchanged in some of the agreements signed by the people, wondering what those people are thinking.
While warning that we need to be very careful as time will come when people will be held responsible for their actions, the Senate President lamented that billions of dollars will just disappear like that yet the power remained unavailable.
Lawan maintained the Ninth National Assembly would not close its eyes or not take any action if our nation is shortchanged.
He expatiated: “We are very concerned with what is happening in the power sector because personally we have not realised the best deal at all.
“In most cases, the deals were against the national interest, against the people and against the country.
“What we have are a few companies that are milking this country dry. I think we must insist on getting value for money.
“The kind of money sunk into the power sector will not only provide light for Nigeria but also the neighbouring countries.
“The Senate and House Committees on Power will look to see how we can make a difference this time around because we intend to monitor closely any money put in the budget. We want to see such money prudently applied,” the Senate president added.
Ugbo, managing director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company had earlier said that the NPDC was set up to bridge the infrastructure gap in the electric power supply industry.
According to him, the company started with 10 generation plants and then moved on to transmission to ensure power distribution gets to the end-users.
Asia January 29, 2020