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Suswam to Buhari: Pay attention to power sector to fulfill promise to Nigerians

The Nigerian Senate has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to pay more attention to the power sector for productive output. Speaking with newsmen at the National Assembly complex on Monday, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswam made the call, stating that the improvement of power sector was one of Buhari’s promises to Nigerians before ascending the sit as president. According to Suswam, “The president should pay particular attention to funding the power sector so that he can achieve the promises that he made to Nigerians.” The Chairman said the estimated budget (N198bn capital) for the sector may appear huge but not enough to cater for the huge deficit incurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a similar development, members of the Senate Committee on Power, Monday, queried the Minister of Power, Mamman Sale over zero allocation to the Mambilla power project in the 2021 budget. The Senators asked the Minister to explain why the project not did appear to be a priority to the Federal Government. The lawmakers faulted Sale when he appeared before the committee to defend the 2021 budget estimates of his ministry in Abuja. Speaking intensely on the matter, Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe South) told the minister that he was not sure the project was on Federal Government’s priority list. Also, Senator representing Taraba North, Shuaibu Isa Lau expressed doubt about Federal Government’s sincerity to complete the project, which was conceptualized over 20 years ago. Lau said, “For me, the way I am looking at it, this project will not see the light of the day. That is the truth about it. When you don’t have a road to go to Mambilla, how do you start that project? “There is no road leading to Mambilla and you have a court case that has not been settled. The Chinese company cannot come with the court case pending. “What is the position of the court case? How do we resolve this issue, honorable minister? You could have seen from the budget that there is nothing in the (2021) budget that concerns the Mambilla project.” Responding to the Senate, Sale said he had been working, since assumption of office, to actualize the project. He added, “All these years, people keep talking about Mambilla. It wasn’t a reality. There was nothing on the ground. “Now, I have come and I have started. I have told you how far I have gone… There is money set aside in the counterpart funding to the tune of $200 million. This money has been there for a very long time under the office of the Chief of Staff (to the President).” “I keep on pressing all the time that this money should be released to me so I can go to the site and start doing some clearance. It is with this money that we are going to do roads, site clearing, and ground-breaking so that we can show the whole world that we are ready. Any investor that is ready to invest, let him come.”

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