The House Committee on Power on Tuesday turned down the 2021 budget proposal for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
This is even as the company’s Managing Director, Mallam Suleiman Abdulaziz, lamented the inclusion of projects by some powerful authorities in the company’s projects’ portfolio for the fiscal year.
The Chairman House Committee on Power, Hon. Mogaji Aliyu, said the committee turned down the proposal on Tuesday during its defence by Abdulaziz during the committee’s consideration of budgetary proposals by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Making clarifications on the committee’s decision on the TCN’s proposed N165.8 billion for 2021, which was, however, reduced to N4 billion by the ministry, the lawmaker said that the committee would not approve money for new projects when several previous projects remained uncompleted by the power company.
He said: “We cannot give you money to embark on new projects when there are several projects you have not completed. Stopping TCN from embarking on new projects would allow it concentrate on old ones.”
Hon Aliyu, who noted that that the challenges in the nation’s electricity sector were worrisome, promised that to tackle the problems, the leadership of the National Assembly would devote more time for improved funding of the sector, including the TCN.
Earlier, during his budget defence, the TCN boss had alleged that some higher authorities, which the agency could not refuse, introduced new projects into the company’s 2021 budget proposal, despite the company’s indebtedness to contractors in the sum of N165 billion.
According to him, TCN has about 158 major capital projects awarded from 2001 to date with 39 completed projects, comprising 28 substations and 11 transmission lines.
He maintained that 25 projects were completed and commissioned to service without outstanding payments to contractors while 14 projects had also been completed and commissioned to service, but with indebtedness to contractors.
The TCN boss further explained that ongoing projects between 0-95 per cent completion are 119, including 45 transmission lines projects (Green Field); 70 substation projects (Green Field); and four reinforcement projects (brown field projects).
Abdulaziz listed the rising cost of projects, benefits to communities, compensation and court cases, among others, as some of the challenges the power company had been contending with in the past years.