The Federal Government on Thursday sealed an agreement of $11m (N2.17bn) with the Japanese Government for an emergency improvement of electricity supply facilities in Abuja.
The project to be implemented by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the Ministry of Power is aimed at procuring and installing power capacitor banks at the existing two sub-stations in Abuja and neighbouring Nasarawa State.
This, according to the agreement, will decrease the transmission loss and assist in stabilising power supply to approximately 7,000 households within the Federal Capital Territory.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, signed the pact on behalf of the Federal Government, while the Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Sadanobu Kusaoke, signed on behalf of his country.
He noted that the project had been designed to support Nigeria in promoting social-economic and infrastructural development.
Udoma said, “The sustained implementation of this project is expected to pave way for a significant access to quality socio-economic services, thereby leading to reduction in unemployment in the country and promoting community empowerment.
“The Federal Government remains committed to working closely with various stakeholders in the economy to achieve sustainable economic development. This ministry will ensure that we create an enabling environment required for the sustainability of this partnership.”
When asked by journalists how a padded budget was sent to the National Assembly without the ministry detecting the figures, the minister replied that such an occurrence was not unusual with budget proposals.
He said the issue was currently being discussed with the National Assembly and would soon be resolved.
Udoma said, “It (padding) is normal in a budget process. Proposals are presented, sometimes issues are on and they are sorted out. So, it is fairly routine and it shouldn’t be over emphasized.
“These are routine things, which are resolved as they come up; and so, it’s not an issue and we are discussing amicably with the National Assembly.”
In his remarks, the Japanese envoy said Nigeria’s power sector had been one of the priority in his country’s development cooperation with Nigeria.
Kusaoke said, “The power sector is a key to improve the quality of life for people and also to promote industry. Power supply is one of the determinant factors when both domestic and foreign investors decide whether or not to invest in a county.