The House of Representatives has refused to approve funds for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to execute new projects in the 2021 fiscal year, insisting that it should concentrate and complete the 119 ongoing projects.
Chairman of the House Committee on Power, Hon. Aliyu Magaji (APC, Jigawa), announced this yesterday at the budget defence session with the management of TCN at the National Assembly. The committee said that it would only appropriate money in the 2021 Budget for projects listed in 2020 budget, which were not executed.
Before taking the decision, the managing director of TCN, Malam Suleiman Abdulaziz, told the committee that the agency was unable to undertake over 30 of its projects listed in the budget. Abdulaziz said that the company had 119 ongoing projects captured in the 2020 budget, and 14 new projects proposed in the 2021 budget.
Out of the 119 projects, 45 are transmission lines projects (green field), 70 substation projects (green field), and four reinforcement projects (brown field projects). He noted that out of N6 billion appropriated for the agency in 2020, only N3 billion was released, but the company was able to utilise only N1.9 billion.
According to him, TCN was unable to utilise N1.1 billion to execute certain projects because of several factors that militated against the projects including disagreement with host communities, litigations, insecurity, vandalism of TCN infrastructure, inability to process funds as well as the COVID-19, amongst others. He informed that the proposed N165.8 billion in the 2021 budget is to enable it complete ongoing projects and start new projects, but was given a paltry N4 billion.
Reacting to the presentation, Magaji said: “I don’t know what they will do with N4 billion out of the N165.8 billion proposed. “Until TCN’s projects are achieved, the Siemens project will not be possible. Without transmission, there cannot be distribution. “I will say it as it is. We have seen value addition in your tenure. If it were otherwise, I would have told you.
“We are here to appropriate funds. You are lucky that whosoever sent the requests to you did not send it to us. “We cannot do N165 billion projects with N4 billion. It doesn’t make sense. We cannot allow you to continue with new projects when you cannot complete old projects.
“We will sit with them and allocate money to low-hanging fruit projects and spread them across the geopolitical zones,” he said.