Senate To Probe Fashola’s Ministry Over Alleged Diversion Of Funds

The Senate is launching investigations into allegations that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is planning to divert the $350million from the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority NSIA to fund Fast Power Projects.

The Senate’s decision to begin the probe follows a motion by Senator Dino Melaye who is alleging that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is plotting to retrieve the money in NSIA which is meant for states owned Nigeria Electricity Bulk Trading Company and divert it for its Fast Power Project.

He said, “The Senate observes that this fund has been with the NSlA since 2014 and has helped build market confidence especially among new investors in the electricity market who see NBET’s positive balance sheet as a form of security that their investments are safe and that NBET has the wherewithal to meet its payment obligations.

“The Senate is alarmed that there is now a desperate attempt by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to retrieve this fund and divert same to fund the so-called Fast Power Projects, which the ministry has already spent on public funds not appropriated by the National Assembly.”

“The Senate is further alarmed that since the introduction of the Fast Power Project by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, a total sum of $350m has been spent by the ministry on Afam Power Project alone to pay $29m to General Electric as cost for turbines and $6m in consultancy fees to other entities respectively, all without requisite feasibility study of the projects and appropriation by the National Assembly as required by the constitution.”

The fund has been with NSIA since 2014 to help build market confidence especially amongst new investors in the newly privatised electricity market.

Another Federal Lawmaker Senator Mohammed Hassan in his contribution also wants the Senate to ascertain how much the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing spent on consultancy fees for the Fast Power Projects.

The Committee has been asked to report to the Senate in two weeks.

FG Releases N100bn Sukuk Bond Proceeds For 25 Road Projects

The Federal Government has released the proceeds of the N100 billion Sukuk bond for the construction and rehabilitation of 25 major road projects in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, handed over the cheque for the N100 billion to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babtunde Fashola, at a ceremony in Abuja on Thursday.

“The proceeds will be used to support government capital spending for 2017 – the construction and rehabilitation of 25 key economic roads across the six geo-political zones of the country,” she said.

“The roads will ease commuting, spur economic activities across the country and further close our infrastructural gap.”

Mrs Adeosun promised to source more funds for the development of critical infrastructure in the country.

The Sukuk bond, which was issued by the Federal in September, had been oversubscribed according to the minister, a development she said was a sign of confidence in the Nigerian government.

The Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Mrs Patience Oniha, who was present as Mrs Adeosun handed over the cheque to Mr Fashola, praised the decision to issue the Sukuk bond, which was oversubscribed to the tune of N105 billion.

FG Releases N100bn Sukuk Bond Proceeds For 25 Road Projects

I Am Not Fighting With National Assembly – Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has said that he is not fighting with the National Assembly but only had a mere misunderstanding with them.

Mr Fashola told State House correspondents on Tuesday that his disagreements with the lawmakers over the ministry’s budget should not be misconstrued as a personal fight but one geared towards finding best ways to implement the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

The arguments began when the minister criticised the National Assembly for allegedly inserting projects outside the purview of his ministry in its budget and slashing allocation for key projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in the 2017 Appropriation Act.

“There is no problem between me, as an individual, and the National Assembly. And let me make that very clear, many of the Senators and honourable members are my personal friends. So, you don’t fight your friends,” he said.

Mr Fashola, however, admitted that there is a disagreement between him and the lawmakers.

According to him, the disagreement had to do with the Economic Recover Growth Plan launched by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He explained that although the leadership of the National Assembly expressed “enormous support” for the plan, there is a disagreement over how to implement it.

“Now, there is also a disagreement, which I don’t think should make us disagreeable, about the best way to implement that plan. And I think that is all that there is to it,” he said.

The minister added that while the posture or manner in which both parties had approached the issue may give an impression that they were fighting, that was not the case.

“It is, perhaps, possible that in the heat of the moment, while trying to canvass our different positions, we are misconstrued as fighting but I am not fighting anybody,” he said.

“I have a disagreement; it shouldn’t make us disagreeable. And the way I see it, even in homes, between husband and wife, there are disagreements about which school their children should go to, how much to pay for education, how much to spend on food. That doesn’t mean they reach out for the divorce courts.”

Stressing that the lawmakers also represent him as a citizen and his role is to engage them for the growth of the country, Mr Fashola said, “This is the issue really. So, even if I have been misunderstood, my intention is not to quarrel with anybody but to see a better Nigeria, which I am sure they also want to see.”

Budget: Fashola Criticises Goje, Says Issues Raised Shouldn’t be Trivialized

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has criticised the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, for his comments concerning complaints the minister made about the input of the National Assembly in his ministry’s budget.

Fashola and the lawmakers have traded accusations since late June when he accused the National Assembly of unilaterally slashing budgetary allocation for key projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the 2nd Niger Bridge.

Although the National Assembly had issued a statement describing the minister’s complaints as an attempt to blackmail the legislature, its members have continued to react to the issue and other disagreements with the executive.

During the Senate’s plenary on Wednesday, one day after the House of Representatives summoned the minister to defend his comments, Goje described the lawmakers as patriotic Nigerians and urged Fashola to behave like a minister or resign if he felt overwhelmed by his responsibilities.

Senator Danjuma Goje

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The minister, however, fired back on Thursday in a statement by his Special Adviser on Communications, Mr Hakeem Bello.

According to Fashola, Senator Goje’s reference to the patriotism of legislators should not be spoken but demonstrated with regard to his calls for a more developmental budgeting approach.

“In this context, it is left for Nigerians to then decide whether budgeting for constituency roads is more patriotic than budgeting to complete the Kano-Maiduguri Road that connects five states, the Lagos-Ibadan road that connects three states and helps to move food, imported goods and fuel across the country; or the 2nd Niger Bridge that connects the East and West geopolitical zones of at least 11 states together,” he said.

“I will also leave Nigerians to judge whether it is more patriotic to budget for the Mambilla Power Project that will contribute to more power across Nigeria or reduce the budget to build street lights in legislative constituencies.”

He added that he expected the lawmakers to respond to the issues he raised rather than accuse him of blackmailing the legislature.

“Let me reiterate that I see parliament as a house where very vigorous debates about development should take place and it is important for Goje to acquire the temperament of debate and disagreement,” he said.

On the Senator’s comments about his behaviour, he said, “I think first that the language is unparliamentary and therefore not deserving of a reply.”

Noting that Goje, a former governor of Gombe State, and some other lawmakers transited from the executive arm of government to the legislative arm, Fashola said, “It seems that it is such people who need a behavioural prescription about legislative function.”

He explained that his comments about the budget were as a result of his desire to function effectively.

“I need a better budget as a tool to do my work and that is why l am speaking out,” he said.

House Of Reps Summons Fashola Over Comments On Budget

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The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, over comments he made about the input of the lawmakers in the 2017 Budget.

The lawmakers, who had last week described comments by the minister as calculated mischief, now want him to come and defend his reaction to the budget.

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Fashola’s Comments On 2017 Budget ‘Calculated Mischief’ – Reps

reps-2015-budget-house of reps-tribunal

The House of Representatives has criticised the Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), for his comments on the input of the National Assembly on the 2017 budget.
Mr Fashola had on Thursday, during an interactive session with editors, decried what he said was the reduction of allocation for projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the 2nd Niger Bridge by the National Assembly.

He also lamented the insertion of projects such as primary healthcare centres and boreholes in the budget after the budget defence.

“If after we have defended the budget and we had gone and the legislature unilaterally changed the budget, what is the purpose of deliberation?’’ he was quoted as saying.

Babatunde Fashola on Housing
Fashola

But the House of Representatives, in a statement by the Chairman of its Committee On Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, said minister’s comments were part of “the pattern adopted by elements in the executive arm of government to delegitimise the 2017 Appropriation Act”, which was signed into law by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

National Assembly Won’t Be A Rubber Stamp, Lawmakers Reply Osinbajo

Insisting that the Minister’s comments contained “fundamental inaccuracies”, the House of Reps said they were part of “the obvious attempt to blackmail the National Assembly, paint it as an irresponsible institution not concerned with the welfare of the people, and set the Executive and Legislature on an unnecessary collision course on matters of power rather than issues that benefit the Nigerian people”.

The House of Reps also explained the reasons behind its decisions with regard to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the 2nd Niger Bridge.

The statement read in part, “To the specific issues raised, it is very misleading and calculated mischief to simply say that N5 billion was taken from the budget for 2nd Niger Bridge. The truth is that in the 2016 Budget, N12 billion was appropriated for the 2nd Niger Bridge and not a Kobo was spent by the Ministry. Not a Kobo. The money was returned. The Ministry could not provide the Committees of the National Assembly with evidence of an agreement on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) or a contract for the 2nd Niger Bridge.

“The National Assembly, in its wisdom decided to fund other projects from the South East leaving N7 billion for the 2nd Niger Bridge that may yet be UNSPENT. The projects include – N2.5 billion extra for Enugu/Onitsha Road, N1 billion more for 9th Mile/Nsukka/Makurdi Road; additional N500m for Oturkpa- Makurdi to take care of evacuation of agricultural produce up to Maiduguri; N1 billion more for Ikot Ekpene-Aba-Owerri Road etc. These are strategic Roads in the South-East and North Central parts of Nigeria that had inadequate allocations.

“The National Assembly had to intervene to fund some other critical roads that were totally neglected in the Executive Budget proposal. An example is the Abuja- Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Road that had Zero allocation from the President’s proposal and no contract even in spite of due process certification. N5 billion was provided in the 2016 Budget. It was not utilised.

“In 2017 Budget, the National Assembly again provided N3 billion for this very critical road that connects many states and where incidents of kidnapping are rife because of bad roads, as we believe that all parts of Nigeria deserve attention or would the Minister also claim that this road has no design?

“On the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, leadership meetings of both the Executive and Legislature were held where it was clarified that alternative funding exists for the Road through PPP arrangement and the concessionaires had enough money to fund the project. That informed the decision to move some funds to other areas of need and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing is fully aware of this but chose to ignore it. Why spend government money if there is a clear existing funding framework in place and so many ongoing road projects are unfunded?”

“On the Mambila Power Project, the Minister proposed a whopping N17 billion for only Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). N17 billion! The National Assembly felt that N17 billion for EIA was misplaced and patently unjustifiable! The Minister himself even wrote to the National Assembly to move some funds from this sub-heads to others!”

10,000 Megawatts By 2019 Is Still Achievable – Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said that the 10,000 megawatts target given by the Buhari administration, needed to supply the country with adequate electricity by the end of 2019 is still achievable.

He stated that the public is not bothered about how much energy is gotten on the grid but how accessible energy is.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Fashola revealed that “Sometimes when we sustain energy over 4,000 or 5,000 the feedback I get suggests to me that if we added a little more, we might as well be getting a little closer, but we must continue to work harder.

Comparing Electricity Distributed In 2015 And 2016

Mr Fashola noted that on May 29, 2015, the amount of power available on the grid was 2,690 megawatts while on May 29, 2017, the amount was 4,014 megawatts.

He also added that in February 2016 the power grew to 5,074 megawatts

Mr Fashola attributed the drop in power due to attacks on the pipeline, “We have had 16 consecutive attacks on the pipeline since we grew to 5,074 megawatts.

He also noted that some of these damages done to the pipeline that supplies electricity are poor metering from the estimation of electricity consumers, resulting from tariff rates.

He however stated that the government alone can not do all the work,while he enjoined the private sector to assist the government in ensuring the target is met.

 

Fashola Inaugurates Rural Electrification Project In Zamfara

Federal Government Not Competing With Any State – FasholaThe Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has inaugurated a rural electrification and semi-urban water project in Bakura, Talata-Mafara and Gusau Local Government Areas of Zamfara State.

During the inauguration, he also reaffirmed the Federal Government’s resolve to implement the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan through the provision of basic infrastructure across the country.

The inauguration was part of activities to mark the sixth year anniversary of the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari.

The works minister also commended the state government’s investment drive in the provision of infrastructure.

The governor on his part, noted that the commissioning of the projects is one that is geared towards uplifting the lives of hundreds of communities.

He, therefore, urged beneficiaries to guard the facilities and desist from vandalism.

Fashola Optimistic About 6,000 Megawatts Power Generation

fashola1The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says Nigeria’s current power generation will rise to 6,000 megawatts if the damaged oil pipelines in the Niger delta are restored.

The minister was speaking at the monthly Power Sector and Stakeholders Meeting, which took place at the Olorunsogo injection sub-station of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IEDC).

Mr Fashola added that he is confident that the acting president’s on-going consultations in the Niger Delta to stem the tide of pipeline vandalism would yield favourable results.

A group that calls themselves the Niger Delta Avengers have claimed responsibility for attacks on oil and gas facilities in the region, gradually dipping the nation’s oil production which had hit 2.4 million barrels per day in the post-amnesty era.

For a nation that depends largely on sales of crude oil for its revenue, a drop in production at a time of volatile oil prices is a huge threat to the her economy.

This is why the acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has assured the Niger Delta  region of the Federal Government’s readiness to genuinely draw a roadmap, that will  lead to the peace and development of oil producing states.

This was equally the primary focus of the meeting he had with government officials and traditional rulers in Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State, Bayelsa state, where he visited in the last couple of days as well as Rivers state, where he visited on Monday, February 13.

Fashola Assesses Apapa-Ijora Bridge Project, Says Rail To Provide Alternative

Fashola, apapa-ijora bridgeThe Federal Government is doing all within its power to ensure heavy cargo is moved from ports using the railways, a top government official has said.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, told reporters in Apapa over the weekend that the rail system would provide reliable alternative for movement of heavy goods from the ports to other parts of Nigeria.

The Minister was in Lagos to inspect the abandoned bridge and trailer park in Apapa dedicated to trucks.

He also viewed ongoing work along the Apapa-Ijora Bridge, where he asked the contractor to come up with a comprehensive engineering evaluation of the bridge to allow for quick maintenance, repair and reconstruction.

Mr Fashola told reporters that the bridge repairs were being undertaken to ensure adequate security and improve users’ experience.

“We are looking at how we can change the structure of the bridge and also help to improve the security of the area.

“The commuter experience in this area is also something we want to improve.

“We are waiting for the final details and hoping that we will get them in good enough time so that we can then make budgetary and appropriation proposal for them to start the work in full speed next year. 

A 240 metre bridge project was awarded in 2009, with the bridge set aside for heavy duty vehicles returning to port, but it is still under construction in 2016.

“We have not finished it. There is no money. We did not fund it at the time were were earning over $100 per barrel of oil. The contractors have left site.

“The meetings I have been having with them is to bring them back to work.

“Unfortunately, the appropriation did not deal with it this years. I hope that it will next year,” the Minister stated.

He expressed optimism that the government would be able to revive the old rail tracks and open it up for movement of cargoes.

Fashola Urges Oshiomhole To Complete Ongoing Projects

fasholaFormer Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has advised Governor Adams Oshiomhole to shun the temptation of initiating new development projects in Edo State unless they are very critical to the well-being of the people.

He advised him to concentrate on completing ongoing projects before the end of his tenure in November 2016.

Fashola was Guest Speaker at a 3-day retreat for members of Edo State Executive Council and Permanent Secretaries holding at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja to brainstorm and re-strategise on raising the bar on governance in the state, with the theme, “Finishing Well”.

He said that it was practically impossible for any administration to initiate and complete all projects needed by the people in the state.

He also said that despite being one of the best administrations Edo had ever got, he should expect criticisms from people after he leaves office.

Gov. Ambode Dissolves Boards Of Parastatals And Agencies

In ambodea bid to restructure his administration, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has approved the dissolution of all boards of parastatals and agencies of government in the state.

The dissolution takes immediate effect.

In a statement released by his Chief Press Secretary, Governor Ambode, stated that the Civil Service Commission, the Judicial Service Commission and the State Independent Electoral Commission are exempted.

The Governor commended the modest contributions of the members of the dissolved boards, just as he wished them well in their future endeavours.

Meanwhile, the Governor has approved the appointment of Mrs. Abimbola Shukrat Umar as the new Accountant-General of the state and Permanent Secretary in the State Treasury Office.

Prior to her new appointment, Mrs. Umar was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.