ABUJA, OCTOBER 24, 2016 – The Federal Government has insisted on the completion of the over 1,300 abandoned Rural Electrification Agency (REA) projects before granting approval for fresh ones, it was learnt at the weekend.
According to the highly placed source in the agency that disclosed this to The Nation in confidence at Abuja, “President Muhammadu Buhari said there is no need for new projects when we have not completed the ones we started and abandoned.”
The source who asked not to be named, noted that “the Federal Government has earmarked N6 billion for on-going projects across the 36 States of country.
“We have asked the contractors to go to site and once they present their certificates we pay them,” he said.
He added that even in the 2017 budget, the agency is simply budgeting for the completion of existing projects.
He also revealed that following the Federal Government’s decision to inject money into circulation, it has approved N1.2 billion for the payment of debt owed to the agency’s contractors .
The source said that government was owing the contractors N7.8 billion from which the agency presented N2.2 billion in this year’s budget and got an approval for N1.2 billion.
The Federal Government,the source noted, “Was eager to put money into the system. We therefore felt it was better for the money to touch all the debts”
The REA, the source further revealed, decided to pay all those that were owed N1 million and below, 100 %. “We paid N2 million to those that were owed N2 million to N8 million, while we paid 25% to those that were owed N8 million and above.”
75% of the contractors, said the source, have so far been paid in the ongoing settlement from the N1.2billion.
The source also revealed that owing to government’s decision to make some paradigm shift in the power sector, it has now had a recourse to the development of renewable energy.
Continuing, he said that “for cleaner energy, we are exploiting the renewable energy. We have proposed six pilot projects for the renewable energy under the Rural Electrification Strategy and Implementation Plan (RESIP).
“This gives us the latitude to woo investors in the renewable energy and grid extension , where applicable through the Public Private Partnership ( PPP). This is so because it will allow us subsidize capital investment which will give us room for sustainability.
“This has to be through the establishment of the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) using international best practices and transparency . We just had the approval for REF and the minister will launch it very soon.”