Budget Defence: How rural electrification project in Nigeria failed — Fashola

As more controversy continues to trail the 2017 budget of Nigeria, the minster of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has highlighted reasons why the rural electrification project in Nigeria has not yielded efficacy since its initiation in 1981.

Fashola divulged that the federal government was readying to implement the project to a large extent in 2017.

He said government would use 44 tertiary institutions and small hydro dams in the rural areas as anchors for the electrification programme.

Fashola said the money would be deployed towards providing Independent Power Plants (IPPs) to supply electricity to tertiary institutions and rural communities.

He said that 37 out of the 44 tertiary institutions audited for the project were universities, while seven were teaching hospitals.

The minister said government would deploy 37 IPPs made up of nine gas plants and 28 solar plants with a combined generation capacity of 120 megawatts to power all the universities.

On the other hand, the minster of Power disclosed that the Federal Government will focus on the completion of roads with economic benefit this year.

Speaking at the budget defence for his ministry at the House of Representatives, he said the 2017 budget of the Works component was based on six priority areas that will focus on critical economic routes with heaviest traffic.

He said N150.4 billion or 52 per cent of capital budget was proposed for such routes, while the second priority roads or agriculture producing areas would gulp N43 billion or 17.8 per cent of the capital expenditure.

He also said roads related to petroleum products haulage as well as another set of roads dealing with agriculture producing locations would take N8.9 billion or three per cent of the budget.

The Minister pointed out that provisions were made for roads with counterpart funding, while roads within government tertiary institutions would also be given attention beginning on geo-political zone basis.

He said the Ministry has capacity to achieve 100 per cent performance for 2017 considering a 53 per cent budget performance for releases that began in June 2016.

Speaking on the 2016 budget performance, the Minister said N456 billion was appropriated for the three ministries out of which N301,850 billion was appropriated to Works.

He said capital expenditure of the Works component got N284,108 billion out of which N200 billion was released to the ministry, while the agencies under under the Ministry got N84 billion.

Fashola told lawmakers the personnel cost of the Works Ministry was managed by Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF).

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