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Reps push inclusion of gas plan in 2014 budget, worry over 2013 implementation

By The Rainbow

The House of Representatives is making a strong case for the  inclusion of gas plan in the 2014 budget.

They anchor their case on the need to stimulate the gas sector for a sustainable power supply in the country.

The House, which resumed from eight weeks recess on Tuesday, demanded  that the Federal Ministry of Finance include the cost of gas feasibility studies in next year's budget.

The house members also urged the Federal Government to re-assess and re-evaluate previous proposals with a view to making the sector an integral financial base for subsequent fiscal budgets and policies.

In a motion sponsored by 36 members of the House, Hussaini Namadi noted that the roadmap of Nigeria's power sector reform, which is geared towards achieving the 40,000 megawatts target of power generation by 2020, requires a yearly investment of $10 billion for the next 10 years in gas-to-power generation, transportation and distribution.

Namadi also noted that the transportation of gas for power generation and domestic utilisation requires a set of rules to determine the quantity and quality of gas input and output by international oil companies to users and power stations.

Recalling that Osprey Investment Group Limited and its technical partners, TPA Solutions, had developed the Nigeria Gas Transport Network Code, which it delivered to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Namadi expressed disappointment that despite the nation's enormous gas resources with an estimated 187 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, the gas sector and transport infrastructure have remained underdeveloped.

'The Gas Master Plan (GMP) as a guide for the commercial exploitation and management of the nation's gas sector has three key strategies to stimulate the multiplier effect of gas in the domestic economy, position Nigeria competitively in high value export market and guarantee long-term energy security of Nigeria,' he said.

In his prayer, he also urged NNPC and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to initiate a gas pipeline project that will transport Nigerian gas from Itoki in Ogun State through Agido near Badagry in Lagos, passing through Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Niger Delta states.

The motion was later referred to the Committee on Gas for necessary inputs.

The Speaker of the House, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, in his message on the occasion of the resumption from recess of the third session of the 7th National Assembly, expressed dissatisfaction on the level of implementation of the 2013 budget.

The speaker said  was way below expectation, despite the early submission of the budget by the executive and subsequent early passage by the legislature.

Tambuwal, however, said that the House committees would conduct an oversight of the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) with a view to being guided in the consideration of the 2014 budget proposals.

'Budget implementation still remains a sore point of governance. The level of implementation of the 2013 capital appropriation is way below expectation given the early submission by the executive and equally early passage by the legislature.

'We have consistently advised that the procurement process be employed in a value-added manner rather than the slavish adherence to and unproductive worship of procedures. It would appear that not much progress has been made in that regard. 'So far, by the information and statistics at our disposal, there would appear to be no justification for this state of affairs'.