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FEC approves $1.9bn rail line project to Niger Republic

Customs gets N549.3m for laptops
NDDC forensic auditors to receive N745.2m

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved $1.959,744,723.71 for the construction of rail lines from Katsina State to Maradi in neighbouring Niger Republic. Briefing newsmen after the weekly Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, told newsmen that the Council approved two memos for his ministry. One of the memos, according to him, was 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% VAT.

The other was 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 at the sum of N3,049,544,000. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, who stood in for the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Silva, said the Council approved the sum of N3,773,784,399.48 for the augmentation of the completed Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) headquarters in Abuja, bringing the total contract to N14 billion.

Justifying the approval of the augmentation, Mohammed said: “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, who also spoke on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, added that the Council approved the sum of N351,540,000 for the procurement of 1,800 units of laptops for training school and computer-based test examinations at three Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) training schools in Gwagwalada, Lagos and Kano. “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,” he explained.

He added that the sum of N197,843,100 was also approved for the expansion of the Customs’ cash management’s software in compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) to enhance the efficiency of the Department of Customs. Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said that Council okayed the approval for the construction of section two of Ohafia to Arochukwu road, comprising Umuahia/ Bende/Ohafia road in Abia State at the sum of N12.088 billion.

The 45 kilometres road, he added, was to complement Section One which was previously awarded in 2018, that is the section from Bende/Arochukwu to Ohafia which was 19.27 kilometres, making the entire stretch now under contract Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, said the concluding memo for the procurement of Field Forensic Auditors for the Forensic Audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) at N745.2 million was approved by the Council.

“This brings 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 has 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 organogram for restructuring of the NDDC for better performance in future,” he explained. On his part, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said the Council approved contract award for the procurement of 52 operational Green Maria vehicles to facilitate effective operation in the Correctional Service as well as ease of movement of awaiting trial inmates from the custodial centres.

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