12 December 2012

Nigeria: HYPPADEC States Demand Backlog of Funds

The technical committee of the five states that make up Hydro Electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) has resolved to demand the release of the funds accruing to the commission since the signing of the bill into law in year 2010.

This is even as all the 36 state governors have insisted on foreign loans despite advice from the Senate that it will lead to financial slavery.

The Secretaries to the State Governments (SSGs) of the states, who formed the technical and implementation committees for the take-off of the commission, made this resolution yesterday at their inaugural meeting at the Government House, Minna, the Niger State capital.

The committee, in a communiqué signed by the Secretary to the Niger State Government, Mr Daniel Clifford Shashere, expressed the group's resolve to convey this position to the minister of power.

According to the communiqué, each of the five concerned states would appoint a special assistant who would help in coordinating activities that advance the interest of the HYPPADEC states.

The meeting, which signalled the take-off of the commission, also resolved to access N100 million captured in the budget from the Ministry of Powers and Mines before the end of the 2012 fiscal year, just as the affected states also sought to be involved in the appropriation for the commission in the next fiscal year 2013.

The committee also commended the Niger State government for hosting the commission, and appealed for a speedy renovation and furnishing of the commission's temporary office accommodation.

Governors insist on $7.8bn foreign loan

Meanwhile, the 36 state governors, under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors' Forum (NGF), on Monday said they would engage in further deliberations with the National Assembly and the minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, over the $7.9bn foreign loans for pipeline projects.

This comes as the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Ado Muhammad, also briefed the governors over the recent upsurge in the polio scourge.

Reading the communiqué after the meeting, which stretched into the early hours of the morning, NGF chairman Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi said, "The Forum examined the revised proposed pipeline projects under the Medium Term External Borrowing Plan (2012 - 2014) and agreed to pursue further deliberations with the Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly."

The commissioners of the finance in the 36 states had earlier briefed the governors on the outcome of their meeting with the National Assembly over the loans, where the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, led by Senator Ehigie Uzamere, had warned them against enslaving future generations through their excessive borrowings and to ensure that those borrowed were used to people-oriented projects.

On the upsurge in polio attack, Governor Amaechi revealed the decisions of the group, which include motivating vaccinators with incentives for better performance; enhancing information sharing mechanism across states and engaging more stakeholders from local communities in the campaign, among others.

LEADERSHIP, however, gathered that the chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a major sponsor of the polio eradication campaign in the country, Bill Gates, was expected to visit the country next year to assess the progress of efforts to end polio.

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