By; Bala B. Bitrus, Minna.
The National Assembly has again commenced the process for the amendment to the bill for the establishment of the Hydro Power Producing Areas Development Commission, HYPPADEC.
The bill which has twice been worked and passed is for the second time going through such rituals of amendments within four years.The new amendment is consequent upon the discovery that there were some lapses in the old bill which had made it non implementable.
The Senator representing Niger-South, Zone B, Mr. David Umaru explained that the upper chamber of the National Assembly has begun fresh moves to redress grey areas discovered in draft which though it was deliberated and passed is yet to be signed into law.
Senator Umaru explained that one of the problems uncovered in the bill had to do with the amount to be contributed for the funding of the commission by power generating companies, GENCOS and the nine power distributing companies, Discos which was initially put at 30% of their monthly income.
He said the 8th Senate has realised the impracticability of this provision hence the need to rework the bill.President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan had assented to the first bill sponsored by late Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta but it was returned to the National Assembly in 2014 for the first amendment to be carried out.The commission, (HYPPADEC) when established is expected to address the environmental degradation and penury of the communities living at the downstream areas of the nation’s three hydro electric dams in the country; Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro.
Regrettably however, since the passage of the bill by the Senate, the establishment of the commission has not seen the light of the day owing to high level politics and power play.
The present administration had in the 2016 appropriation apportioned N76 million as take-off grant for the commission before the discovery of new lapses in the bill.Senator Umaru who has taken over the sponsorship of the bill along with others, told journalists in Minna that all the discrepancies in the bill have been corrected while the new law had passed through the second reading in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.States to be covered by the commission when it comes on stream include Niger, Kogi, Kwara and Kebbi. Stakeholders from the benefiting states have agreed on the composition of members of the commission,
Senator Umaru said “the HYPPADEC bill is problematic at the moment because of certain nity gritty, but i can tell you that there is no problem with the law in itself. We have just discovered so many things that need to be amended in the bill”.
He explained further that contributions by the GENCOS and the DISCOS in the amended bill has now been put at 10% of their monthly incomes while the Federal government will provide the balance. The Governors of the benefiting states have met and have promised to support efforts made by the Senate to ensure the realization of the project”.