President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has said that the Ninth National Assembly would demand for accountability and transparency in the power sector funding, especially in the application of funds that would be allocated in the 2020 budget.
The lawmaker made this remark when the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Joseph Chiedu Ugbo, led a delegation of the company’s top management on a courtesy visit to the National Assembly, Abuja.
According to him, the National Assembly Committees on Power will, through proper oversight roles, ensure the prudent application of all funds channeled to the power sector.
He recalled that government had been shortchanged in agreements entered into with generating and distribution companies severally in the past, vowing that such fiscal abuses will no longer be tolerated again.
Lawan, therefore, promised that those behind shortchanging the government through power deals would be held accountable for their actions.
He said: “One of the challenges Nigeria is faced with today and for a very long time in the area of development is power. Until we are able to fix the power situation, development will continue to be difficult to achieve.
“This is one area we will continue to give priority to ensure we are able to meet the targets. It’s not going to be easy, but the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has shown clear determination in ensuring we get power fixed. The power sector has been surrounded with controversies for a long time. When the NIPP started, so many things were said; some of which are true.
“Expenditures were made in the past, and we did not see commensurate results from the expenditures. It is something to worry about. Some persons also have the tendencies to sign agreements that sometimes are clearly against the national interest. Time has come for people to stop doing this”, Lawan added.
The Senate President noted that in most cases, government was shortchanged in some of the agreements signed by the people, wondering what those people are thinking.
While warning that as a people we need to be very careful as time will come when people will be held responsible for their actions, the lawmaker lamented that billions of dollars would just disappear, yet the power remained unavailable.
Lawan maintained the Ninth National Assembly would not close its eyes or not take any action if our nation is shortchanged.
The lawmaker clarified: “We are very concerned with what is happening in the power sector because personally we have not realised the best deal at all. In most cases, the deals were against the national interest, against the people and against the country.
“What we have are a few companies that are milking this country dry. I think we must insist on getting value for money. The kind of money sunk into the power sector will not only provide light for Nigeria but also the neighbouring countries.
“The Senate and House Committees on Power will look to see how we can make a difference this time around because we intend to monitor closely any money put in the budget. We want to see such money prudently applied,” Lawan added.
In his remarks, the NDPC Managing Director said that the company was set up to bridge the infrastructure gap in electric power supply industry.
He explained further that the company started with 10 generation plants, and then moved on to transmission to ensure power distribution gets to the end users.