The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed on Wednesday said the Federal Government is set to disburse $2.5billion to the contractors of the Ajaokuta Kaduna and Kano, AKK gas pipeline.
She broke the news to reporters during her inspection of the project construction site in Ajaokuta, Kogi State.
The Federal Government is implementing the project with joint funding with China. While the later is contributing 85 percent of the money, Nigeria’s is to pay 15 per cent counterpart fundings the AKK gas pipeline project.
Meanwhile, she noted that the Federal Government of Nigeria has concluded its sovereign guarantee to the lender of the loan- Bank of China.
Her words: “We have to give a sovereign guarantee to the lender so that the loan is concluded. I am glad to say the loan has been concluded. And very soon the disbursement will start to the contractor. For now, it is $2.5billion.
The project that is scheduled for completion in 2023, according to her, the government will ensure that it is completed on schedule.
She added that work has not stopped on the site since its commencement in June this year.
Oilserve Limited, an indigenous company, is one of the contractors. It is implementing the first segment of the project from the Ajaokuta axis despite the economic slowdown in the country has not slowed down in its work.
The AKK gas pipeline project, which she said will create jobs and revive the industries in northern Nigeria, has already started impacting positively on the lives of the contractors’ employees.
She expressed satisfaction on the project implementation, noting that the contractor is doing an excellent and quality job.”
The minister said: “This is the AKK gas pipeline project. We are here to see the work that has been done or that is being done. This is a very important national project. We will see that this project is being delivered on time.
“Despite the slow down in economic activities, this project’s work has not stopped even for one day. We are glad that gas is being passed from this line from Ajaokuta to Kaduna to Kano.
“This will help to revive industries in those parts of the country, create jobs. Even as the construction is going on , you can see a lot of economic activities going on here for those that are employed who are working on day to day basis with the workers on site.
“The contractor that is doing this segment one that you are seeing is actually doing an excellent and high-quality job. I commend NNPC for their forthright in pushing this AKK gas pipeline project.”
The Oilserve Limited chairman, Engr. Emeka Okwuosa, revealed that the firm has so far done 10 per cent of the job.
He said the company has thoroughly adhered to local content in the project execution except where it is impossible to apply it.
The contractor said; “we employ local labour. We give subcontracts to locals. We also use them for security services. For communities, we engage them very well and that is why we don’t have issues here.”
Speaking, the Nigerian National National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, said since the board of China has approved the loan, nothing human can stop the completion of the project.
He said the consignment of pipes for the project has arrived in Warri and may be conveyed to sites by road.
The NNPC boss said “The Bank of China has approved its loan and nothing will stop this project except force Majure -the act of God only, not human.
“We are delivering on time and on schedule. Our pipes are arriving on schedule. Just like Engr has said they are already in Warri. And we are moving them to site either by road.”
“This AKK gas pipeline project has not stopped in one day. We will deliver this project on time and in the schedule. We have no issues with it.
“We have to give a sovereign guarantee to the lender so that the loan is concluded. I am glad to say the loan has been concluded. And very soon the disbursement will start to the contractor. For now, it is $2.5billion.”