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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved contracts for projects in the areas of road construction, rail transportation, river ports, health, national identity management and other infrastructures.
| FEC approves contracts for transport, health, others |
Nov 29, 2012, 06:42
Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity) Dr. Reuben Abati, made the disclosure at a media briefing on the outcome of the weekly FEC meeting chaired by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the State House, Abuja on Wednesday, November 28.
He also announced Council’s approval for the construction of a new 150 seating capacity banquet hall in the Presidential Villa at a cost of N2.2 billion.
Abati who stood in for the Minister for Information Labaran Maku and was in company of the Ministers of Transport, Idris Umar, Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, Communications Technology, Omobola Johnson, FCT, Bala Muhammed and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Prof. Viola Onwuliri, said that subsequent Council meetings would be devoted to reviewing government’s achievements in the last one year.
Apart from contracts for the infrastructures, Abati stated that Council also approved the award of contract for the conduct of fiscal allocation and statutory disbursement audit for 2007 to 2011 as well as oil and gas industry audit noting that the approval was in conformity with section 2 of the NEITI Act 2007.
“The objective of this initiative is to ensure transparency and accountability in the application of resources from payments received from extractive industries and to further ensure that all fiscal allocations and statutory disbursements due from the Federal Government to statutory recipients were dully made,” he noted.
Speaking further, Abati observed that the essence of the contract was to enable NEITI track extractive industry sector funds paid into the federation account as distributed and received by federal, state and local government areas adding that special emphasis would be on the application, utilization of the funds, on beneficiaries of the 13 per cent derivation and relevant federal institutions that directly received allocations from the Federation Account.
On the recent of bombing of a church in the Jaji military cantonment and the attack of the Police (SARS) station in Abuja, Abati said the federal government acted swiftly following the incidents adding that the President had received briefings from the Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector General of Police, while the Minister of FCT had convened a security meeting over the Abuja attack.
Speaking on transport projects, Umar explained that the Council approved the contract for the purchase of two sets of five-car Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs), each with a capacity for 540 passengers and an additional six 60-seater passenger coaches to be used for intra city mass transit services at the cost of N4.3billion to be completed within 13 months.
“It is against this background that government decided to place the order for the purchase of the two-set Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs), which is a train that has two locomotives and three coaches – all linked together,” he stated.
“They are fully Air conditioned and the same type you have in Europe, China, America and other parts of the world. They are going to be used on the existing narrow gauge track,” he explained.
Idris disclosed that the ongoing rehabilitation of the narrow gauge track is progressing and that the western axis Lagos-Kano line will be open for use before Christmas stating further that by the time the eastern corridor – Port Harcourt to Maiduguri is fully rehabilitated next year additional supply of locomotives and coaches will be made.
He disclosed further that the Council approved the contract for consultancy services for the residence of the supervisor of the construction of inland river port at Jamata- Lokoja at the cost of N121, 114,875 to be completed within seven weeks.
Idris also announced council’s approval for the supply of radiation and explosive detection devices to be used by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) at the cost of N189.7million with a completion period of four months.
In her briefing, Omobola Johnson disclosed that Council approved the importation of 13 million smartcards at a cost of N6.4billion, to be used in registering Nigerians under the National Identity Management scheme.
She stated that the second tranche of smartcards, which will be procured next year, will be produced in Nigeria, adding that 30,000 applicants have already been registered with the Direct Data Capture machines that have been distributed to all states of the federation.
"These are highly secured chip cards and have 18 security features that will ensure that the cards will not be easily forged or illegally acquired. The card will also host 13 applications and the reason for this is the beginning of the harmonisation and the integration of government agency databases for agencies that require the authentication and the validation of the citizen's identity before there are offered of given a service. And this will include things like the National Health Insurance Scheme, passport, pension, driver's license, tax, voting data and of course payment systems as well," she disclosed.
"Anyone in the 36 states that enrolls to get a social identity number will get the chip. It is on first come first serve basis. We are immediately going to the 774 local governments with connectivity. At the point of enrolment you will be asked to show some form of identity that shows you are a Nigerian," she disclosed further.
In his briefing, the FCT Minister Bala Muhammed stated that the Council approved N4.9billion for the construction of new Presidential Banquet Hall in Abuja and rehabilitation of selected roads in Garki and Wuse 1 Districts.
He explained that the contract for a new 150-seater banquet hall expected to generate about 750 jobs during execution, was awarded at a cost of N2.2billion to Julius Berger Nig. Plc for security reasons while resurfacing of some roads and remedial work on bridges in Garki and Wuse 1 Districts will cost N2.78billion.
“The second project approved by Council is building of a 150-seater Banquet Hall in the Presidential Villa. We notice that it is not in tandem with what is outside the country; even smaller countries have better banquet halls near the presidential residence and, of course, part of the things we are going to provide there is 150-seater with all the facilities that will cover the walk ways, security, Hall conveniences, technical room and press briefing room” he stated.
On Health, Chukwu disclosed that the Council approved the contract for the supply of anti-Tuberculosis drugs capable of treating 500 multi-drug resistant cases at the cost of N297.87m adding that not less than N400, 000 is needed to treat one patient.
Explaining that the Federal Government intervened for the sake of those who can’t afford that cost, the Minister for Health stated that more of the drugs would be provided next year to meet high demand as 5,000 drug-resistant new cases emerge every year and these are different from the 800,000 normal tuberculosis cases treated yearly.
Council according to him also approved the purchase of vaccines worth $2.10m (N333m) for routine immunisation, which has since 2006 been supplied through UNICEF for safety reasons.
On the diplomatic front, Prof. Viola Onwuliri beamed light on a landmark diplomatic agreement between Venezuela and Nigeria to allow transit and 90-day stay for holders of official and diplomatic passports of both countries.
Speaking on the approval by the President for the release of N13 billion to clear debts owed by Nigeria’s foreign missions, the minister said that the issue was not with the ministry as the missions get direct funds, noting that the CBN and Ministry of Finance promised to release the funds promptly.
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