The Federal Government has earmarked a total of N8,202,679,166 for the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to enable it complete ongoing electrification projects across the country, while also financing new ones.
The budget details for REA contained in the 2014 budget proposal, are aimed at lighting up rural communities in the country as part of Federal Government’s transformation agenda and reforms in the power sector.
According to the proposal, REA is to carry out about 204 rural electrification projects scattered across different states in the country.
Out of the N8,202,679,166 budget, for instance, N7,461,202,582 was allocated for capital expenditure, N594,760,962 for personnel, N146,715,622 for overhead and N741,476,584 for recurrent expenditure.
As at June 2013, there were about 1,994 abandoned rural electrification projects in different parts of the country. Sadly, many of the 1,994 projects were abandoned at 90% completion stage, a situation, which signified a colossal loss of resources to the nation.
Only last month, the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, had queried the Ministry of Power over its alleged failure to deploy about N16 billion approved for rural electrification projects. The committee issued the query in Abuja at the meeting with the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Philip Aduda, said the amount was approved for REA for the electrification of rural communities across the country. He threatened to recommend the sack of the REA Managing Director, Kenneth Achugbu, over the non-implementation of the rural electrification projects.
But Nebo told the committee that only N6.6 billion had so far been released to the REA, out of N16 billion appropriated for the projects. He said the ministry intended to mobilise contractors to return to site by December 15, as the balance was expected to be released soon.
The minister also said the $1.7 billion expected to be realised from the sale of National Integrated Power Plants (NIPPs), would be used to enhance electricity transmission capacity in the country, adding that although the ministry encountered some problems during the power sector privatisation, the process was transparent in line with best global practice.