The Federal Government may investigate the N1 billion power equipment which was abandoned at bonded terminals in Lagos, correspondent has learnt. Their abandonment is believed to have stalled the power projects in some states.
According to report, a senior official of the Federal Ministry of Transportation said over 200 containers laden with the equipment belonging to the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) were abandoned at various bonded terminals in Lagos.
The equipment is worth over N1 billion, the official said, noting that had they been installed, there would have been improvement in power supply.
About 80 of the containers, findings revealed, have been abandoned at a particular bonded terminal for over six years.
A senior official of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS),who pleaded not to be named, said the remaining 120 containers littered other bonded terminals in the nation’s commercial capital. The official alleged that some of the equipment imported by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) are rusting at the terminals.
“The practice of abandoning power equipment at these terminals is pure economic sabotage and the Federal Government must treat the officials responsible for the act as such, because the country, in the last two years, imported electricity equipment and tools valued at about $6.71 billion from China and other countries to boost power supply in the country.
“The equipment included electric power generators, transformers, circuit breakers, switchboards, conductors, power capacitors, power converters and electricity meters. Others include distribution boards, power plant valves, power storage devices, switchgears, turbines and voltage regulators. Figures from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) showed that some power equipment valued at $2.89 billion were shipped from China to Nigeria between 2014 and last year.”
The official said other items that came from the US valued at $321 million are among the stockpile of abandoned equioment.
Others are the goods from the United Kingdom with goods valued at $773.8 million; India, $399.1 million; South Africa, $230.3 million; Sweden, $260.4 million and the Republic of Korea, $122.5 million.
The offical also said many of the containers loaded with electricity equipment lying uncleared at the bonded terminals belong to the defunct PHCN. Some of the containers were transferred to Ikorodu Terminal as overtime cargoes, it was learned.
With this figure, the Customs official said, any official of the government who had the effrontery of abandoning power equipment bought with tax-payers money at the various terminals in Lagos must be punished to serve as deterrent to others.
“Worried by the neglect of the power equipment, in July 2014, the Federal Government secured the release of 248 containers rusting at the Lagos and Tin Can Island ports to Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
“The containers were meant for the Independent Power Project (IPP) and were imported by the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). Also, in 2011, the PHCN abandoned 250 containers, containing vital equipment to boost power generation in the country.
“Of the containers, 140 were abandoned at the Ports and Cargo Terminal in Tin Can Port, while 110 others were moved to Ikorodu terminal as over time cargoes. Also, in 2015, some power equipment in 27 containers was abandoned at the Lagos Port Complex.
The consignments, the official disclosed, were the remnant of the 69 imported into the country between July and August 2014. A source at a shipping line that ferried the equipment to the port revealed that the consignee of the goods, a Romania firm, Dextron Engineering Company Limited, incurred a demurrage of N100 million on the cargoes.
“The company was contracted by TCN to handle power project in Kaduna. The source told this newspaper that the shipping line that allegedly brought the containers to the port had written several letters to TCN to clear the cargoes, but there was no response,” the official said.
Also a senior official of one of the terminals where containers were abandoned who does not want his name in print said the government needs to probe and recover the abandoned containers to maximise resources and minimise waste.
“These containers may remain in our terminal forever and nobody would be bothered unless the Federal Government takes the necessary action. The equipment belongs to the Federal Government of Nigeria and it must be used for the benefit of the general public,” the official said.
He said it was part of the expectations of the government that, by 2020, the country would have the capacity to produce 20,000 megawatts of electricity. This would be a huge leap for Nigeria and the administration in the power sector.