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Energy Commission Laments N5.78bn Debts From Constituency Projects

The Director-General, Energy Commission of Nigeria, Prof Eli Bala, has told the House of Representatives that the parastatal has been plunged into huge debts over the execution of zonal intervention projects, popularly known as constituency projects, facilitated by members of the National Assembly.

Bala, while appearing before the House Committee on Science and Technology for 2022 budget defence in Abuja, said the commission was now indebted to contractors to the tune of N5.78bn.

The DG, therefore, prayed that the Debt Management Office should take over the debt.

Speaking on the challenges of the ECN, the DG said, “Heavy debt of about N5.78bn owed contractors for constituency projects executed for 2009-2012 capital projects, inadequate physical infrastructure at the headquarters [new building required) and completion of permanent sites of three research centres in Bauchi, Ilorin and Lagos.

Other challenges, according to Bala, are inadequate funding, taking over of the debt owed contractors by the DMO, inadequate appropriation and release of funds to complete the permanent sites of the research centres in Bauchi, Ilorin and Lagos as well as a new building at the headquarters known as Nigeria Energy House.

The ECN boss further called for the empowerment of the commission to perform its mandate effectively through an amendment to ECN Act to allow the commission collect “one per cent of assessable profit  of all fossil fuel businesses for the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the country.”

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In the proposed 2022 budget, the DG said ECN allocated N2.35bn to personnel expenditure, N358.55m for overhead and N7bnfor capital.

The Chairman, House Committee on Science and Technology, Beni Lar, stated that the focus of the committee in the 2022 budget was to see direct transfer of profitable and technical renewable energy skills to Nigerian youths.

“Therefore, the Energy Commission of Nigeria can no longer afford to shelf its expertise that can beneficially empower our teeming youth populace,” he said.

She said, “We urge ECN to use the 2022 budget to empower the youths, thereby reducing the prevailing high unemployment rate and rising violent crimes ravaging the nation. This is a joint task that must be done, and quickly too.”

source: Punch

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