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…Approves over N9bn for road, power contracts
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

THE Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday approved the National Quality Policy to stop rejection of Nigerian goods exported out of the country.

The approval was given at the 31st virtual Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, said the essence of the policy was to ensure goods exported out of Nigeria are accepted in the countries they are being exported to.

According to him, “For a long time, Nigerian exporters have been suffering because of lack of quality of their goods. We felt that it was high time we actually have a policy which will create a situation whereby standard of the Nigerian goods that are exported would be raised, such that that rejection would stop.

“This policy will create a situation whereby the government and the private sector will be able to collaborate to set up quality testing centers, testing labs which we hope will have accreditation with international centers, such that any good that has been approved to have met the standard, would be of international standard.”

The Minister said the council also approved the Nigerian/Hungarian Trade Agreement. He said the agreement between the two countries have now been ratified. The whole essence is for Nigerian businessmen to have access to export their goods to Hungary and to further increase trade between the two countries.

He further said council also approved a N50 million variation of power contract in the Kano Free Trade Zone.

The memo, he said was on behalf of the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority, NEPZA, explaining that a contract was awarded in 2018 for underground cabling for power project within the Kano Free Trade Zone but unfortunately it was not completed before certain specification changes were made.

He said: “So the contractor requested a variation of six percent increase of the initial contract sum, which amounted to about N50 million. Council has approved that variation and the job which has reached 93 percent completion will be completed within the next six months.”

Adebayo said, council also approved another contract for Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority, for the purchase of a property in Lagos to be used as their Lagos zonal office.

“As you are aware, Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority is responsible for all the free trade zones in the country, the value of the free trade zones in the Lagos area alone is valued at about $30 billion. So for proper collation and oversight of these free trade zones, we felt that it is only right that we have the zonal office of the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority in the Lagos area and that has been approved by council.”

Also briefing the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said council approved the contract for the design and deployment of a contract performance and compliance for highway and road management system at the sum of N203,845,332.50.

Fashola said: “this is an information and communication technology device being procured by the ministry in order to improve its capacity to monitor not only contract performance but also maintenance of its roads and to empower not only its 36 controllers in each of the state of the federation but also, the six zonal directors to improve our service delivery.

“The importance of deploying the ICT now perhaps would be better appreciated when it is understood that we have over 13,000 kilometers of road networks at different stages of construction or rehabilitation as at the close of December 2020.

“And those 13,000 plus kilometers are manifest in over 700 different contracts. I continue to explain this that some of our roads are so long that we have five different contractors. Like the Kano-Maiduguri road for example, we have five different contractors there, Benin to Lokoja, we have five different contractors there and so on and so forth.

“So we have different contracts to manage and so we are deploying ICT there. Upon full deployment, one of the things you will see is that, citizens will be expected to become army of reporters providing us with information so that we can respond more quickly. Because, this will be a web based reporting and monitoring system.”

The minister said council also approved the ratification of the emergency roads repair done in Zamfara State in 2016 caused by a heavy rainfall. He said the rain had washed out Gumi bridge, Dakitawa, Kebbi to Sokoto State border, and Gusau to Talata Mafara to Sokoto border.

He said, “the contract was awarded under the public procurement act in emergency situations as provisional contracts. So we had to go through procurement process, file reports of completion and then come to seek ratification.

“So, the work had since been completed but the paper work has now led us here. And the ratification was granted today by FEC for N7,923,706,078.86.”

On his own part, the minister of state for power, Prince Goddy Jedi-Agba, said council approved two months extension and the sum of N124.2 million for the variation of contract for the construction of sub-stations projects in Lanlate in Oyo State and Abeokuta in Ogun State.

He said: “The contract was awarded because of the typography of that area. The typography is tricky and so there is a need to upgrade and make the facilities usable and accessible by the people. So, if we have those two substations fixed, the transmission of power will be stepped up in that area and the whole of Ogun State and most of the South West will have improved power.”

The council was also notified of the progress in the metering Programme in the country.

Jadi-Agba said: “You know the president has approved the metering Programme for the whole country. So the Yola DISCO wrote to notify us that they have commenced this process and have entered into agreement with Meter Asset Provider (MAP).

“So this is ongoing and we assure you that the present directive regarding metering of the entire country will soon be completed and services will improved.”

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said council approved the sum of N1.146,659,500 billion for the award of contract for the installation of Solar street lighting for the Kershi-Jikwoyi dual carriage road in Abuja.

Mohammed who spoke on behalf of the Minister of the federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, said the construct was awarded to Messrs Bassman Nigeria Limited at the completion period of six months.

He said: “This is a 20 kilometer street lighting project and the area host some very strategic institutions such as the Treasury Academy, new Correctional Center which is under construction and it also houses the Federal Science College, the Armed Forces Post Service Housing Scheme in addition to Police Housing Scheme among others.

“Apart from beautifying the area, it also provides better security for the area. It means the SDG goal number 11 will be met and at the same time the global energy policy will be met.”

Meanwhile, before commencement of the day’s proceedings, cabinet members observed a minute silence for former Ministers, Alhaji Dauda Birma, Alhaji Mohammadu Gambo Jimeta and Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim.

The late Birma, who served as Minister of Education from 1997 to 1998, died on 5th January, 2021 aged 80.

Jimeta, who died on 21st January, at the aged of 83, was the Minister of Agriculture from 1995-1997 he was also the Inspector General of Police and National Security Adviser at various times.

While Adullahi Ibrahim was the Minister of Education, Science and Technology as well as Transportation Aviation between 1984 and 1985 when President Buhari was the military Head of State.

Ibrahim, who was the first Northern Lawyer to attain the position of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, died on Sunday 24th January at the age of 84.

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