The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the award of a contract worth $1.96 billion for the development of the proposed rail line linking Kano-Dutse-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi town in the Niger Republic.
The meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Wednesday, gave the approval following the presentation of a memo to it by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
He explained: “Two memos for the Ministry of Transportation. The first one is the award of contract for the design, manufacture, supply, testing and commissioning of one railway crane of 150 ton capacity for emergency and recovery of rolling stocks.
“This is to sort out say situations of an accident on the track. It is for a total cost of N3,049,544,000. That’s the first memo that was approved for the Ministry of Transportation.
“The second one is the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano-Katsina-Jibia to Matadi rail line in the Niger Republic and to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa, for a total cost of $1,959,744,723.71, inclusive of 7.5% VAT.”
Also speaking to correspondents, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, said the council similarly approved additional forensic auditors at the cost of N745.2 million for the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
He said: “This brings to the total number of field forensic auditors to 16 in addition to the earlier approved Lead Forensic Auditors, Messrs Olumiluwa Bashir and Co.
“These people are now going to be a charge of the nine states of the Niger Delta which has been divided into 16 lots. As I stated earlier, lots one is Ernst and Young for the headquarters. They will be undertaking the 19 years of audit and also bring out the organigram for the restructuring of the NDDC for better performance in future.
“Council also considered and approved the need to attach investigative security agencies, the relevant ones to each of the team to ensure transparency and also to be sure that whatever comes out is acceptable to not just in Nigeria but to the international community.”
On his part, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said that she got two of her memos approved.
One is for the procurement of 1,800 units of laptop computers for training school and computer-based test examinations at three Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) training schools in Gwagwalada, Lagos and Kano for a sum of N351,540,000, with a completion period of six weeks.
He explained the major advantage of the contract is that “it saves the department a lot of money in hiring consultants for training and other services.”
He said the Ministry of Finance also got another approval for N197,843,100 for the expansion of the Nigeria Customs Service’s cash management’s software in compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), saying: “This is also going to enhance the efficiency of the Department of Customs.”
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources’ memo for the augmentation of the contract for the construction of Petroleum Technology Development Fund corporate headquarters office in Abuja, was also approved by FEC at the sum of N3,773,784,399.48.
It raises the initial approval for the contract to about N14 billion.
On this. Mohammed stated: “However, the important thing about this particular contract is that the building has since been completed, it has since been in use and we inherited this augmentation from 2012. But since governance is a continuum, we are honouring the augmentation, but this headquarters building has been completed, the contractors have been magnanimous while all these arguments about the augmentation were going on, they were magnanimous enough to complete the project and many international conferences have been held in that building.”
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, also spoke at the briefing, announcing that the Council approved a N12 billion contract award for section two of the Ohafia to Arochukwu road.
“So with this award now, the entire length of the road is now under contract with the same contractor and we hope for expeditious execution.”