For years, the 3,050 megawatts (MW) Mambilla hydropower project was only on paper until December 2020 when physical surveys began. But all that has ended as the latest update indicates that surveyors, who have not been paid, have left the assumed site, while residents, whose buildings were marked severally, have not received any compensation.
This may be spelling doom for the project, believed to be one of the most ambitious power plant projects in West Africa. The fresh obstacles are coming at a time when the federal government is already struggling to get the bulk (85 per cent) of the $5.792billion (about N5.3 trillion) funding from the China Exim Bank, which has rated the project below the 3050MW capacity presented by the government.
Daily Trust Saturday learnt that the survey contract was awarded by the Federal Ministry of Power at over N987million and the contractors mobilised to site after part payment by the ministry through the Taraba State Government.
And in spite of a N650m allocation in the 2022 budget for consultancy works, survey fees, counterpart funding, way leave consultancy, among other usual expenses that have dogged the project for over a decade, representatives of the 10 surveying firms said they left the site because they had not been paid for nearly two years, even when survey works advanced at the project site in Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba State.