FG directs NSIA to source $200m for Mambilla judgement debt

The Federal Government has directed the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority to source $200m for settlement of the International Court of Arbitration in Paris award in favour of the Chinese firm, Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited.

Officials of the Federal Ministry of Power said the government had agreed to pay the sum and had mandated NSIA to work out measures for settling the debt.

The $200m settlement offer was to compensate Sunrise Power for the unlawful termination of the contract for the 1,525 megawatts Mambilla hydropower project and the re-award of the same to another Chinese firm.

Based on the terms of the settlement, Sunrise is expected to relinquish all claims to the project once the requirements contained in the agreement with the Federal Government were settled.

Officials of the power ministry also stated that the new contractors for the project were on the ground, holding on till when the ongoing survey of the site and compensation of landowners were completed in Taraba, where the about $4bn plant would be constructed.

The original contract for the Mabilla project was for the plant to generate 3,050MW of electricity, but this was reviewed downwards to 1,525MW and the cost cut down by $1bn to $4bn.

The Special Assistant to the Minister of Power on Media, Aaron Artimas, explained that the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority had been ordered by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to take up the matter.

He said the government through the NSIA and other channels were working on how to settle the debt, stressing that it was incorrect to allege that there was no plan to honour the agreement.

Artimas, however, admitted that the payment had been delayed, stressing that this was due to some challenges, which were currently being addressed.

He said, “The only issue now is the delay in payment, but the government has committed to the agreement. However, the government is explaining that the challenge of COVID-19 affected its finances.

“But despite that, the NSIA was given a mandate on this by the President, because the government has to find money somewhere, as this was not budgeted for. So the government will pay.”

The power minister’s aide also stated that the international court had not come up with any fresh issue for the Federal Government.

He said, “The international court of arbitration or commerce in Paris that did the arbitration did not say parties should come back for any fresh or new issue because the government has accepted and signed documents following that agreement.

“There is a signed agreement between the government and the firm. The document was signed by the Minister of Power and confirmed by the President. It is a standing agreement that Nigeria will pay the $200m.”

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