FEC approves N62bn for roads, seaport, others

The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved a total of N61.464 billion for roads, dredging of seaport and construction of buildings.

The Ministers of Works, Power, and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau, Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, Education, Adamu Adamu and the Senior Special Assistant on Media and publicity, Garba Shehu, briefed State House correspondents.

The seven hours meeting was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Amaechi said that the Council approved N13 billion for dredging of escravos Warri Seaport and the replacement of the bad navigational aids.

Fashola disclosed that his Ministry presented three memos which resulted in the approval of three contracts.

The projects, he said, included Babalampa – Sharam road in Plateau State at a cost of N19.92 billion, Lagos – Ota – Abeokuta road revised upward by N22 billion  to a total of N56.7 billion and Enugu -Port Harcourt expressway at a cost of N6.31 billion.

Fashola said, “One was for Baban Lamba-Sharam Road in Plateau state for the contraction of 44.625 kilometers for  N19.392 billion. The second was for Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta Road 81 kilometers. That road was first awarded in year 2000 and it has since been left uncompleted because they want no budgetary provisions for it.

“This administration in trying to move this contractor to site stated  the revision of the rate. So the revised rate were brought to council today and a revision of  N22 billion was approved for the 81 kilometers  road, bringing the total contract price to N56.701 billion.

“The third approval was for the section four of the Enugu Port Harcourt Road, the part between Abia and Port Harcourt, particularly in Port Harcourt that has been problematic and has failed severally. We have a contractor there but we needed to change the design because of the storm water drainage needs and the high water tables there so that the road does not fail.

“So that requires a revision of the scope of work to include retaining sidelanes and also drainage facilities in the sum of  N6.309 billion.” he said.

Danbazzau said that N234 million was approved for construction of two buildings, cadet mess and cafeteria.

“FEC approved contract for the completion of two faculty buildings and Cadet Mess and Cafeteria for Police Academy in Kano. The reason being that there is minimum requirement  to be met by the academy before accreditation of programmes.

“In May 2010, a memo was submitted for the approval of a draft bill when it was upgraded to a decree awarding institutions. So the total amount of the contract is about l N234 million. Once it is completed, we will invite the NUJ to have a look at some of the programmes that are yet to be accredited.” he said.

Adamu Adamu disclosed that FEC approved the establishment of Nigeria Army University in Borno State.

The Water Resources Minister said that his Ministry presented a Policy memo highlighting the crisis facing water and sanitization in the country and the need for government to take action.

He said, “We highlight the fact that urbane water supply is regressing, access to improve sanitation has also decreased over time that we have not be able to meet the Millennium Development Goals and that works services in the rural areas are unsustainable, and spending on water sector has declined by .7% to .72% of the GDP in 2010.

“We submitted a memo to council to approve an action plan on how to address these issues. We had three prayers for the council to approve the action plan: to declare a state of emergency on water and sanitation sector; to approve the establishment of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Fund for the country.

“This fund will be one that federal, states and international donors can put in money so that we can begin to address the crisis water and sanitation sector in the country.

“We also requested that henceforth the budget for water and sanitation in the country to be significantly increased so that we will be able to face these challenges. Council accepted our prayers and we will move on.” he stated.

Garba Shehu disclosing that the  Minister of Women Affairs, briefed council on women empowerment programme undertaken, capacity development  for women, promotion of human rights, fighting violence against women, rehabilitation of victims of gender violence, promoting the health of women and children, and efforts on the rescue of Chibok and Dapchi girls.

He said that Council commended the Women Affairs Ministry for a job well done.

He added “Ministry of Information spoke on achievements made which include bringing down the wall that screens out Nigerians in the military engagement in the northeast, the role played in the prompt release of the Dapchi girls and have instituted town hall meetings, 11 of which have been held so far across the country.

“He said the town hall meetings are ways of getting feedback from the country. He also spoke about the national sensitization campaigns on insecurity in the country.

“He spoke about the institution of regular interaction with Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria, Nigeria Union of Journalists and other relevant bodies.

“Also interaction with International Press Institute that are coming into nigeria for their World Congress in June this year. They have made progress with the digital switchover campaigns.

“At the end of the day, the council decided to Set up an inter-ministerial committee to fashion out a marshal plan for the communications for the ministry to sit down and advise government on how policies and programmers can be better disseminated. In particular to advise government on how the ministry and its agencies can deliver on its own mandate.

“The ministers on the committee are finance, agriculture, budget and national planning, power, works and housing, transportation, communications, Information and Culture, petroleum and Niger Delta.

Speaking with State House correspondents after briefing FEC, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mrs Hadiza Bala Usman, said “I am at the State House today requesting FEC to approve the dredging works for escravos channel in Warri and its navigation. Is a challenge we have had in the Nigerian ports we need to ensure that the the channels into the Warri ports are dredged.”

On the economic implications of the project, she said “It will fundamentally change the fortunes of Warri ports, it will expand the utilization of our eastern ports, we believe in the need to ensure that all ports locations are given the seamless access by providing dredging works and that is what we are here to do today.”

According to her, she has been able to execute transparency and elimination of corrupt practices in the NPA.

“We serve the need to ensure that whatever government legal with an entity there is full compliance. We have noted the Treasury Single Account, we have had entities complied to the TSA, we have also made our budget very transparent.

“We believe in building institutions and we have done tremendous work in deploying Human Resources capacities within our systems.”

Asked if corruption is fighting back in the NPA, she said “Oh definitely corruption is pushing back, its fights back all the time. We have had instances where corruption is pushing back and we have remain resolute with the support of Mr. President in assisting us to fight corrupt practices in Nigerian Ports Authority.

On how much saved in the fight against corruption, she said “I will say we have saved billions of dollars in terms of ensuring that corrupt practices are eliminated.

“One of the key things the government has been able to do is to remove the monopoly of the oil and gas cargo, now in the Nigerian oil and gas you are able to take cargoes anywhere leading to any location in the country. Hitherto designated terminals got priority considerations to the extent that only those terminals had access to oil and gas cargo which made exploration of oil and gas in the country very expensive.

“This has tremendously assisted, we have saved billions and billions of dollars in crude exploration following the removal of the monopoly by President Muhammadu Buhari of oil and gas cargo designation.” she stated.

On what’s responsible for the increment of revenue generation in NPA, she said “It is to do with ensuring that debts are paid, ensuring that there is full compliance and deployment of the Treasury Single Account, these are the things we have been able to do to block revenue leakages and ensure that we have seamless accounting processes.

“On calabar Port, we have also reached an advanced stage for the procurement of the dredging works for Calabar. We had inherited a system that did not go through the relevant processes which we terminated. We are now almost concluding Calabar and we will also come and seek Federal Executive Council’s consideration for that.” she added.

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