FG seeks partner on N68m dam
by Judd-Leonard Okafor Thursday, 23 February 2012, DAILY TRUST
Federal government said this week it could not alone fund the N68 million Kampe Omi dam project more than a decade and has opted for a public-private partnership.
Minister of state for power Darius Ishaku said government alone could not finance the project and is willing to provide enabling environment for private sector to step in.
The dam, currently facing disputes over land ownership, is targeted for use in agriculture, water supply and as a hydro-power plant.
Ishaku said public-private partnership was an option to be applied for full utilization of the dam.
The Kampe dam was constructed by an indigenous firm Niko in the second republic and inaugurated in 1999 by former head of state General Abdulsalam Abubakar.
It has capacity for 2 megawatts of electricity, said the power ministry.
It could also employ at least 5,000 workers in subsistence agriculture, said Abubakar Aduragba, managing director of Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority in Ilorin.
His comments came as power officials toured irrigation projects in the north central region, especially Niger, Kogi and Kwara states.
Stakeholders in the sector are scheduled to meet a summit in Akwa Ibom on Friday, to discuss issues hindering service delivery.
Since reforms in the power sector took off, full privatization has been bogged down in negotiations over tariffs, staff welfare and takeover procedures.
Heads of power committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, along with heads of agencies under the power ministry are to attend the summit.
Apparently the Kampe Omi Dam is one of those dams built by the Federal Government and handed over to the RBDAs and represent a huge waste of capital because as reported by JICA(1995) there was little evidence of meaningful feasibility studies carried out prior to their construction.
I cannot believe the statement that is credited to the Minister of State for Power ‘…government alone could not finance the project.’ A project of just 68 million Naira? The Minister’s statement as reported by the reporter that the government “… is willing to provide enabling environment for private sector to step in” should be taken as mere political statement, because the FGN has been dragging its feet with respect to passing the National Water Law. There is a proposed National Water Law which is still under review. It will be interesting to find out what this proposed law says about dams and their uses for multipurpose and whether it has any link to the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 (the “EPSRA”). There is a Power Policy – the National Electric Power Policy (“NEPP”) and law – the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 (the “EPSRA”) which provides for the repeal of the National Electric Power Authority (“NEPA”) Act and consequently the de-corporatization of NEPA. It does not appear that there was any collaboration between the power sector and the water sector concerning drafting and approval of their policies and laws. The two sectors use a common resource when it comes to hydroelectricity.
The information given by the reporter that the dam was built by an indigenous firm fails to show who owns the dam. Is it owned by the Federal Government or by the firm?
From what one can glean from the article, this is a multipurpose dam. The input of the water sector is as important as that of the power sector and the agricultural sector.
Why was the dam built without sorting out the issue of land ownership in the first place? If the dam is owned by the FGN why has the government dragged its feet for over 13 years with respect to land acquisition? I am amazed that civil servants would allow a Head of State to declare a facility opened when preliminary issues on the dam were still hanging.
Funding for this project not be a problem in that the senator for this area can help using his constituency vote?
Why is a summit necessary for a physical facility that has all the benefits listed by the Daily Trust and that costs just about one month security vote of a governor. Why not spend the money that would be expended on the summit on the dam? Furthermore, why hold the summit in Akwa Ibom instead of a place close to the Kampe Dam? Holding a summit in such faraway place and to be attended by the proposed list of participants is a waste of tax payers’ money.