The federal government yesterday approved the contract for the construction of the 248-kilometre rail line from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic at the cost of $1.96billion, inclusive of the 7.5 per cent value added tax (VAT).
The government also approved N12.088 billion for section two of the Ohafia-Arochukwu Road in Abia State.
Minister of Transportation, Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the presidential villa in Abuja yesterday.
The rail contract was initiated in February 2018 and is designed to connect three Nigerian states in the North; Kano, Katsina and Jigawa States, as well as seven senatorial districts.
The rail line, which will start from Kano, is to pass through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi, Niger Republic and when completed, would assist in the supply of crude oil from Niger Republic to the refinery being built in the border town between both countries.
According to Ameachi, another contract was approved for the Ministry for the construction of design, manufacturing, supply, testing and commissioning of a railway crane for the purposes of clearing rail tracks in situations of accidents.
He said, “Two memos for the Ministry of Transportation, the first one, 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 situations of accident on the track,” adding, “It is for a total cost of N3,049,544,000.
“The second one is the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi rail line in Niger Republic and to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa, for a total cost of $1,959,744,723.71, inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT.”
During his briefing, minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the minister of state for Petroleum Resources, said the finance ministry presented two memos, which were approved by FEC.
He explained that the first contract would be for the procurement of 1,800 units of laptop computers for three Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) training schools, at the cost of N351,540,000.
The second contract, costing N197,843,100, would be for NCS cash management software.
The minister stated: “On behalf of the minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, I want to report also 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 training schools in Gwagwalada, Lagos and Kano for the sum of N351,540,000, with a completion period of six weeks.
“The major advantage of this particular contract is that it saves the department a lot of money in hiring consultants for training and other services.
“The minister 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). This is also going to enhance the efficiency of the Department of Customs”.
For the Petroleum ministry, he said, “On behalf of the minister of state for Petroleum Resources, a memo was presented today asking for approval for the augmentation of the contract for the construction of Petroleum Technology Development Fund corporate headquarters office in Abuja, for the sum of N3,773,784,399.48, therefore raising the initial approval for the contract to about N14 billion.
“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 it, but this headquarters building has been completed, the contractors have been magnanimous while all these arguments about the augmentation was going on, they were magnanimous enough to complete the project and many international conferences have been held in that building”.
The federal government also approved N12.088billion for the section two of the Ohafia-Arochukwu Road in Abia State.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fasola, who disclosed this to State House correspondents after the virtual FEC meeting, explained that the 45-kilometre stretch would complete the road, adding that the first section, measuring 19.27 kilometre, had been awarded earlier.
He added: “The memorandum presented by the Ministry of Works and Housing today is for the Section two of the Ohafia to Arochukwu road.
“This section comprises Umuahia/Bende/Ohafia road in Abia State and it was approved for construction at N12.088 billion comprising a distance of 45 kilometers to complement Section One which was previously awarded in 2018, that is the section from Bende/Arochukwu to Ohafia which was 19.27 kilometers.
“So with this award, the entire length of the road is now under contract with the same contractor and we hope for expeditious execution”.
During his briefing, the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said the council had also approved the acquisition of additional field forensic auditors at the cost of N745.2 million for the audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
FEC, a couple of weeks ago, approved the engagement of field forensic auditors for the various states under the NDDC, however, the latest approval has brought the number of auditing firms to 16.
“The memo that was presented by the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was a concluding memo on the procurement of Field Forensic Auditors for the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission and today the council approved additional forensic field auditors at a total sum of about N745.2 million.
“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 in charge of the nine states of the Niger Delta which have been divided into 16 lots.
“As I stated earlier, lot one is Ernst and Young for the headquarters. They will be undertaking the 19 years of audit and also bring out the organigram for restructuring of the NDDC for better performance in the future.”
On his part, the minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola said, “We considered in exco the award of contract for the procurement of 52 operational Green Maria vehicle to facilitate effective operation in the Correctional Service as well as ease of movement of awaiting trial inmate from the Custodial centres to about 5022 courts in Nigeria.
“This is to complement what we have already acquired between 2016 and 2019 of about 451 Operational Green Maria vehicles. The objective is to ensure that the delay associated with trial of inmates is reduced if not eliminated.”