By NBF News

The Federal Government through the Board of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), yesterday approved a budget of N19 billion as compensation on property, crops and land along transmission lines across the country.

The Federal Government had in the 2007 and 2009 financial year approved N19 billion for similar compensation bringing the total to N38 billion.

Addressing State House correspondents, shortly after the meeting of the Board of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja,  the Governors of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Power Barth Nnaji and the Managing Director of NDPHCN, James Olotu, said the additional N19 billion budget approval would enable the government to pay compensation on property and lands on transmission line.

Suswam said it would also enable PHCN install new power infrastructure in the country.

He said the additional N19 billion was requested by the board because the N19 billion earlier approved had been exhausted.

The governor said government, by this effort, was determined to ensure that it delivers stable power supply to the Nigerian people in the shortest possible time.

According to Suswam, 'the general overview of the discussions which were held today, compensations have been approved, the board also approved monies for most of the outstanding contracts and we have encouraged the different sectors, minister of power, the minister of petroleum, the minister of finance and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company to have a synergy to deliver power to Nigerians within the shortest possible time.

'As governors, we share the concerns because if we have power supply, it will create more employment in my state, we will begin to have cottage industries in villages. We are very concern that is why we constantly fly in here to attend meetings.

'When President Yar'Adua became president and decided that this board should be re-energized and live should be introduced into it, most of the gaps experienced or observed in the award of contracts within the NIPP project, this board has consistently made sure we close the gaps.

'We are all worried because with power, unemployment will go, most of moribund companies will come to life. This why the Federal Government and the states contributed billions of naira to address this issue of power and I can assure you that we are doing everything humanly possible to do that. For us to spend close to 10 hours hear today is an indication of our clear commitment to make sure that we deliver on power.'

Speaking on the call by Nigerians for the installation of pre-paid metres in the country, Nnaji said government had directed distribution companies in the country to fast track the process of installation across the country.

'We are asking all the distribution companies in the country to install pre-paid metres but there are cases where it will be difficult to install the metres like the case of face me I face you buildings,' he said.

The minister said though government may not be able to give a definite timeline for delivering stable power to the citizenry, but government would ensure that it minimised system failure across the country.

He said the board which is chaired by Vice President Sambo resolved to meet on monthly to enable it monitor closely all NIPP and PHCN projects across the country.

'If the Federal Government does what it is doing presently, we won't be worried about power in the near future. The NIPPs will deliver power as soon as possible,' Nnaji said.

Fayemi, said power is not a partisan issue adding that it is something that everybody is worried about.