Sunday, 17 December 2017
[BREAKING] Electricity agency spends N738m to clear goods abandoned for 10 years
The TCN said the unnamed goods had been at the port for 10 years.
The Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy condemned the agency for its action.
The Managing Director, TCN, Mr. Usman Gur Mohammed, told the Senate committee while defending the 2018 budget proposal of the company, that the unnamed imported goods had to be cleared when the contractors were not granted duty waiver by the Federal Government.
Members of the committee, chaired by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, expressed their displeasure with TCN for spending about 13 per cent of its budget to clear goods.
A member of the committee, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, asked whose responsibility it was between the TCN and contractors to clear imported goods.
Responding, the TCN boss said contractors were supposed to enjoy duty waiver. He noted that if a contractor abandoned the goods at the port, the TCN would have no option than to clear such goods.
Mohammed added that some of the goods had been at the port for 10 years, stressing that the company had spent N738m on goods clearance out of its N2bn budget.
Abaribe asked why government should tax itself so much to the extent of frustrating power projects.
He said, “Government is part of the Independent Power Projects. Goods for the IPP projects arrive in the country’s ports and the government insists on payment of heavy duty.
“Government ends up taxing itself, thereby increasing the cost of the projects and its execution.
“The goods were abandoned for years, some 10 years. I think somebody should be asked to explain this. The Senate should be told what is going on.”
Vice Chairman of the committee, Senator Bukkar Mustapha, also said the request by the committee to be furnished with the number of completed projects and the cost of each project have not been complied with by TCN.
The TCN boss said they received N5.9bn in the outgoing 2017 fiscal year, while still waiting to get over N36bn.
“We are hopeful that some releases will still be made,” he said.
On 2018 budget, Mohammed said TCN was given a limit of N32bn.