Nigeria’s Ministry of Power is unable to push forward with the 3,050MW Mambilla hydro power project which was initiated in 1982. Attempts by the ministry to contract Lot 2 and 3 of the project have not been possible owing to the challenges with Lot 1.
Although development of the project which will become Nigeria’s biggest hydro power plant when completed has always been included in the country’s annual budgets, eventual commencement of work on it had however been held back by controversial award of its initial phase by Nigeria to competing Chinese firms.
This elicited the intervention of the Chinese government which is providing a good chunk of the funding. Lot 1 of the project which involves its civil contract, the steel hydraulic structure of the dam, was first awarded to a Chinese consortium, China Gezhouba Group Company Limited and China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CGGC/CGC) at the contract sum of US$1.46bn between 2006 and 2007 with about 15 per cent payment advance initiated by the Nigerian government which later cancelled the contract and re-awarded it to another Chinese firm, Sinohydro under controversial circumstances.
Nowsources from the Nigerian government indicate that it is likely that President Jonathan will take advantage of the country’s hosting of the forthcoming 24th World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa to deliberate with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping and perhaps sort out controversies surrounding the award of the contract.
The forum, which is scheduled to last from May 7 to 9 in Abuja, offers a great opportunity for the controversy surrounding the contract to be solved as a large delegation that includes stakeholders in the project are accompanying the Chinese president.