A man walks past electricity pylons as he returns from work in Soweto, outside JohannesburgThe House of Representatives has expressed doubt over the ability of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to supply power to rural parts of the country.

The lawmakers’ vote of no confidence on REA followed the reported inability of the agency to spend N5 billion earmarked for rural electrification this year.

The agency reportedly received N5 billion for the project in July but has not mobilised contractors to site till date.

Also, the House Committee on Power expressed uncertainty on the essence of REA, following allegations of corruption in the agency.

The committee’s Chairman, Patrick Ikhariale, during an oversight visit to the Ministry of Power, expressed shock when the minister, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said the ministry had only utilised 18 per cent of the N5 billion it received in July.

The committee sought explanation on $1.2 billion China Exim Bank’s loan and the level of local content involved in it.

The lawmakers sought answers on the inability of the Hydro-Elecrric Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC) to take off, despite the budgetary provisions to it.

The committee expressed concerns over the sustainability of two electrification projects – Light up Nigeria, for selected mega cities and Light Up Rural Nigeria, for rural communities.

Ikhariale said: “This is December and less than three weeks to the end of the year. What kind of miracle do you want for the money that has been in your possession for the past five months?

“You have this money with you and Nigerians have been crying for power. This calls to question your capacity to spend the funds allocated to your agencies.”

The committee chairman expressed the displeasure of his colleagues on the situation of power in the country, going by the dismal performance of the new companies handling the sector.


[The Nation]