Finally, all is now set for the take-off of the much awaited Hydro-Electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) following the recent passage of the Bill and assent by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Minister of state for power, Zainab Kuchi, said yesterday that the federal government has begun the process for the commission's take-off with the provision of N220 million in the 2012 budget.
Kuchi made this revelation when a committee set up to fast-track modalities for the establishment of HYPPADEC paid a courtesy visit to her office in Abuja, where she said the release of funds would be done before the end of the 2012 budget year.
She maintained that despite the fact that the year was far gone, the money budgeted for the take-off of HYPPADEC in the 2012 budget would not be lost since an Act setting up the commission was already in place, describing HYPPADEC as 'a done deal.'
According to her, "In 2010, something was budgeted and lost because the Act had not come into effect. In 2011, a certain amount was budgeted and equally lost because the commission had not taken off. In 2012, the Act is already in place; the framework for it to be done is already in place; we are not going to lose this money even though this is December because the framework is already in place, and we are working in accordance with the framework."
The minister further stated that there was a framework for collaboration with the private investors of the PHCN successor companies for them to work in line with the commission in areas of interest.
Kuchi, however, noted that there was an amendment to the HYPPADEC Act concerning certain finance and social responsibility issues and urged the committee to follow it up at the National Assembly. She noted that issues of social responsibility amount due to the HYPPADEC States and issues of percentages have not been addressed fully.
She assured the delegation that the ministry will handle their needs and those that concern the ministry of power in line with the laws of the commission, adding that "whatever is not yet given, we will tell you that it's not yet given because there is an amended to that Act which we will respect when it comes out."
Earlier, leader of the delegation and chairman of the HYPPADEC implementation committee, Daniel Shashere, had told the minister that their visit was to seek her support to help finalise and expedite actions on the quick and smooth take-off of the commission, and ensure that funds allocated to HYPPADEC in the 2012 budget were made available for the commission to get going.
Shashere expressed the need for a critical study of the contents of the law and their strict application, especially "the development of the common people and, more importantly, the provision of infrastructural facilities for their benefit."