The Federal Government Tuesday expressed fear over the delivery of the five-unit capacity National Integration Power Plant (NIPP) lot 1 located at Odunkpani, Calabar, Cross River State, following uncertain testimonies from contractors on site.
Although the site engineer, Edward O' Connor of Manitoba Engineering West African Limited (MEWAL), said installation of turbines at the plant was 99 per cent completed, and that the plant was awaiting the back feed and gas supply to fire it, apprehensions, however, sets-in when the contractor could not specifically confirm when power would be generated to the grip even if the required gas is supplied.
Questions on the cost of the project and when it was awarded was declined, as the contractors said they could not respond to it.
Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, who led the National Good Governance Tour (NGGT) team to the site decried the inability of the contractor to specifically state when the plant would be put into use.
Connor, who identified gas supply as a major challenge to firing the plant did not state specifically when the plant would supply power even if gas supply arrangement to the plant was met.
According to him, there is a temporary gas arrangement of 60 cubic units with Oando gas facility, which is about 25 kilometres always from the plant.
The 60 cubic units gas according the contractor would power two units of the two units turbines to generate 225 megawatts, and it is expected to be fulfilled by March 27.
"The installation of turbines is 99 per cent completed, there is temporary gas arrangement from Oando facility, and it is expected to be fulfilled by next month, the gas pipe is being laid, it is 70 per cent completed but I am not the commissioning engineer, I cannot say specifically when the plant will be commissioned. But after the commissioning of the plant, some tests which will take about three months will still be carried out before power will be supplied to the national grid," he said.
He added that there is a permanent gas supply arrangement being built by four gas companies including Septa Oil and Gas and Danga, which is expected to be ready by 2014.
Maku, who frowned at the response of the engineers, said Nigeria had invested more on power projects than any other sector under the current administration and would not tolerate low commitment on the part of the contractors.
The minister added that epileptic power supply is a major problem to Nigeria's economy and the government is striving very hard find a permanent solution to it.
"I am not comfortable with the response from the contractor, we are leaving this site with uncertainty. I thought the commissioning should be on ground, expecting the gas supply, you cannot wait for gas supply before you have you technical schedule, we need contractors who will speak with confidence, you technical schedule should be definite not tentative, that is our worry," he said.