FEC approves 44 infrastructural projects for Niger Delta states

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the execution of 44 infrastructural development projects for the nine oil producing states.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, disclosed this after the Council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House in Abuja.

The states are Cross River, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Imo, Abia and Ondo.

Mr Maku said that Council gave the approval following a memoranda presented by the Niger Delta Development Commission on a phased development of the oil-producing states.

“These infrastructural projects cut across road construction, construction of bridges environmental projects and a number of projects across the states of the Niger Delta, including Abia, Imo and Ondo, which are also oil producing states.

“The Executive Council took a look at the proposal; and we believe that approving these projects will accelerate the infrastructure development of the Niger Delta region as well as other states that have always suffer degradation as a result of oil mining,” the Minister said.

Though he did not give the contract sum of the projects, Mr Maku said they would be funded exclusively from the funds that accrue to the region through NDDC.

He said the approval would enable the Commission to expedite action in the execution of the projects at the exit of rainy season.

The Council also approved N13.3 billion contract for the provision of second phase of primary engineering infrastructure at Mbora District of the Federal Capital Territory.

Minister of State for FCT, Olajumoke Akinjide, said the contract involved the provision of arterial and collector roads, telecommunications, power supply, drainage works, among others.

She said the project, to be funded from the statutory budget of the FCT, would enable plot owners to start development in earnest.

Mrs Akinjide said that the development of Mbora district, which is part of the third phase of development of the FCT, would help in decongesting the city centre.

FG approves 44 projects for Niger Delta region

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved 44 infrastructural projects to help bring development to the Niger Delta region.

Briefing state house correspondents after the council meeting, the minister of information, Labaran Maku said the approval is part of the phased development of the Niger Delta from the funds that accrue to that region from the Niger Delta commission.

Also, the federal executive council approved a policy for Nigeria to deal with issues on climate change in the country.

FEC approves N325 million contract for second Niger Bridge

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the contract for the designing, building, financing and operation of the second Niger Bridge linking Anambra and Delta states under the private partnership scheme.

The consultancy contract for the final planning and design of the second Niger Bridge will cost N325 million.

Briefing State House correspondents on the contract, the Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen said that the bridge forms a major link between the South-east and the South-west sub regions of the country.

He noted that the Federal Government is concerned about the challenges the old Niger Bridge has posed to road users on the route and expressed the government’s desire to take immediate action by constructing a second Niger bridge that will ease traffic on the axis.

Also approved is contract for the dualisation of the Kano-Maiduguri road, Section Two, at the cost of N8.3 million to complement the development effort of the Jigawa state government.

President Goodluck Jonathan was said to have received a report by the Jigawa state governor on the need to extend the road from Dutse – the capital of Jigawa state to the some part of the Kano-Maiduguri expressway, an extension of about 24.2 km.

The governor is building an airport and some housing estates there, hence the need for the dualisation of the Kano-Maiduguri expressway.

The council also approved the expansion of the 2.8 KM dual carriage road connecting the Apakun-Murtala Mohammed Airport road to a modern eight lane that will provide smooth movement of traffic. The contract was approved at N297million.

The expansion of the Airport road was one of the key campaign pledges made by President Goodluck Jonathan during his election campaigns in Lagos ahead of the 2011 presidential election.

While the Minister of Works asserted that the Jonathan administration has taken a firm step to deliver on the Onitsha Bridge, he also added that the importance of the Murtala Muhammed Airport road cannot be underestimated, noting that the road which has been in a state of disrepair will be re-designed to eight lanes.

Profiting from Olympic Games

The council also deliberated on the business angle of the 2012 Olympic Games currently holding in the United Kingdom.

According to the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Segun Aganga, a forum was put together by the Bank of Industry and the forum was said to have drawn global attention to Nigeria.

There was also a report on the recent trip of President Goodluck Jonathan to the Caribbean, while Jamaica was marking its 50 years of independence; Trinidad and Tobago marked its emancipation.

According to the council, the visit also projected Nigeria positively to the rest of the world.

It was also revealed that the people in the two Caribbean nations are now interested in tracing their ancestry to Nigeria.

The council agreed that despite the odds, Nigeria is a power house in global diplomacy and the FEC urged Nigerians at home to take such international recognition seriously.

FEC approves framework for 2013 Budget

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the draft framework for the 2013 Budget for early consideration of the National Assembly in September.

Cross section of Ministers during a Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja.

Briefing State House Correspondents after the meeting Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that the theme for next year’s budget is Fiscal Consolidation with Growth and Job Creation.

Giving highlights of the budget, the Minister said that the key strategy is for the federal government to continue the downward trend in recurrent expenditure from 71.47 per cent in 2012 to 68.66 per cent in 2013.

According to her, the upward trend in capital expenditure will also be increased from 28.53 per cent in 2012 to 31.34 per cent in 2013.

She said that the projected revenue   for 2013 is N3.891trillion while expenditure will be N4.929 trillion.

Oil bench mark for the budget will be at $75 per barrel compared to $72 for 2012, while crude oil production will be 2.53 million barrel a day.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala noted that the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration will continue to manage the budget prudently, transparently and as efficiently as possible.

She also revealed plans by the federal government to introduce a sinking fund of N25 billion in the new year to retire the domestic debts that have been building up, as well as N75 billion to help retire a bond that is due in February next year.

She said that government will continue to manage down the yearly borrowing from N852 billion in 2011, to N744 billion in 2012 and now projecting N727 billion in 2013.

PDP vows to sort out grievances over Jonathan’s impeachment

The deputy National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Sam Jaja has revealed plans by the party to commence inquiry into the planned impeachment of President Goodluck Jonathan by members of the House of Representatives.


Addressing journalists in Abuja, on Thursday, Mr Jaja said that the party will fashion out modalities to know what the grievances of the members are as well as take urgent steps to address it.

He noted that what was going on is normal for a democracy and that the party’s concern will be to resolve the concerns of the two arms without overruling the grievances of any party.

“It is not a fluke that they are not making any sense, it is not also a fluke that the president is making error that requires impeachment,” Mr. Jaja said.

“At times we over bloat these things, but the party has setup machineries to look into all the grievances of the members of the National Assembly and what is the position of the President.”

“There must be an area for the two parties to meet and this thing should be resolved for the interest of democracy in this country. So there is no threat actually, as it were it is the usual thing that happens in any democratic process” he added.

He also stated that the National Working Committee of the ruling party is working assiduously to win more seats in states where the party has lost their grip in the last general election.

Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday , confirmed that the implementation of the 2012 budget has reached 56% from 39% as at the end of May.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the council meeting, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, stressed that “there is nowhere in the world where budget is implemented 100% by September” insisting that from her experience the least any country has done is 80%.”

 

 

FEC bans official delegation to London Olympics to save cost

There will be no official federal government delegation to the London Olympics next month.

The Minister of Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, made this known while briefing state house correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday.

The Sports Minister who briefed the council on the performance of Nigeria at the African Athletics Championships where the country came first on the table and set three new African records said the move was to save cost and get the athletes focused.

He said the decision was meant to stop the practice of turning such events to jamborees for government officials.

Dispatching large federal government delegations to accompany sportsmen and officials to major sporting events has been a practice in the country for several years.

Apart from the huge cost in estacodes, transport, accommodation and logistic bills, the delegations often comprise government officials with little or nothing to do at the sporting event and they end up engaging in shopping sprees or distracting the athletes.

 

FG to provide cheap housing for all; resumes subsidy payment

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved a new housing policy which aims at providing mass housing for Nigerians at affordable rate.

Cross section of Ministers during a Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja.

The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, disclosed this while briefing journalists after this week’s FEC meeting presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.

Mr Maku said the new policy, when operational, would provide additional employment opportunities and income generation in the country.

“Council deliberated on this policy and all of us appreciated the kind of effort, the energy, and the idea that went into the policy.

“Essentially this policy hopes to achieve certain strategic objectives for Nigeria. The first is that it hopes to bring about re-mass housing which this country has continued to dream about for decades.

“This policy emphasizes the central role of the private sector while the government serves as a regulator, as a policy facilitator.
“But, over and above this, the policy hopes to drive employment and income generation in the country.

“The Minister (Minister of Housing and Urban development) took pain to explain to us that in fact, far more than many sectors housing offers the opportunities for economic growth, GDP growth, job creation and driving income generation and welfare of people.’’

Adding to what Mr Maku said, the Minister of Housing and Urban development, Amal Pepple said that the new policy follows the work of a committee she set up to dust up all past works which have been silent on a policy that will make it possible for Nigerians to have a shelter over their heads.

Other special features in the policy include subsidy for what she called social housing projects, low income housing for workers in the formal and the informal sector as well as creation of jobs for the teeming unemployed Nigerians.

“There is one important issue that was brought up during our stakeholders forum, at the National Council; the issue of maintenance because a lot of our people, when we build a house we just leave it,” she said.

“Look at the block of flats in Abuja, I think I can’t remember, there was a ceremony we had and we had to go and repaint some of the houses. We don’t pay attention to maintenance. This we have also included in the policy.’’

Subsidy payment resumes

Also the Council approved the resumption of the payment of subsidy to approved oil marketers which was suspended following the probe in that sector. The minister of state for finance Yerima Ngama assures that claims for subsidy will now be properly processed to avoid the mistakes of the past.

The approval for the resumption of subsidies is designed to ensure that the country does not record any shortage in supply of petroleum products while it makes concerted effort to convince Nigerians on the need for total deregulation of the downstream sector.

Nigeria gets five new universities and more electricity

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved provisional licenses for the establishment of five new private universities in Nigeria.

This was disclosed on Wednesday by the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku after the weekly FEC meeting which was chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo.

This brings the total number of universities (government owned and private) in the country to 122 and this number, the government claim is still not enough to address the challenge currently facing the nation’s tertiary education.

The newly approved universities are Elizade University Ondo state, Evangel University Akaeze, Ebonyi state, Gregory University Uturu, Abia state, McPherson University, Ogun state and the Southwestern University Okun Owa, Ogun state.

Addressing Journalist after the FEC meeting, Mr Maku affirmed the educational challenge in Nigeria and stated that the federal government does not have the capacity to fund the sector. “The federal government believes that Nigeria is in need of higher education and the federal government does not have the capacity to fund higher education alone” he said, adding that “one of the best ways to promote quality higher education is to encourage private universities to spring up.”

MORE SUBSIDY BUSES

The council also approved the loan of N15 billion for the purchase of additional 1, 240 buses for distribution to competent transport companies in the country as part of the subsidy reinvestment programme.

The Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Samuel Ortom said that the loan at zero per cent interest is repayable in five years.

This will brings the total number of buses the government will distribute for mass transportation to 2, 840. In January, the Government set aside N10 billion revolving loan for the transportation sector. This was in addition to the deployment of 1,600 mass transit buses in the same month.

These measures, according to government were meant to ease the pains of the sudden hike in prices of petroleum products as a result of the ‘partial’ removal of subsidy in Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol.

MORE POWER FROM SAPELE

As the nation gears for another promise of attaining increased power generation in the country by the end of the year, the council announced that the Sapele power plant in Delta state has become operational with an additional 225megawatts of power generated into the national grid.

The Sapele power plant is one of the ten new power plants currently being built in the country. Though small, it is believed that the additional 225 megawatts that will be added to the national grid will go a long way to improve the power situation in the country

The Minister of Information noted that the federal government “will no longer beat its chest as far as issues of improvement in electricity supply are concerned” referring to the series of failed promises of achieving set targets of power generation.

He declared that government will no longer boast about its projects in the power sector “at least until they are very sure of what they are doing” he said.

FEC Approves Procurement of Fast Moving Ferries

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the procurement of two fast moving ferry boats to promote waterways transportation in the newly dredged river Niger for the sum of N623.5 million.

FEC Approves Procurement of Fast Moving Ferries

Briefing state house correspondents after the council meeting the minister of information Mister Labaran Maku said that this is in line with the palliatives being provided by the federal government to cushion the effect of subsidy removal on the citizens. The forty five seater boats will boost economic activities and reduce pressure on other modes of transportation such as roads.

The council also approved contract for the development of Phase II of the Kagini District in the Federal Capital Territory awarded since 2010 but could not be completed due to lack of funds.

Also following a memo by the minister of the interior, the FEC gave approval for the full automation of the Citizenship and Business Department of the ministry to improve the functionality and service delivery of the department through increased operational effectiveness and revenue collection as well as reduce wastage and eliminate fraud.

Minister for Information Labaran Maku, accompanied by the ministers of Interior (Abba Moro), Transport (Idris Umar) and FCT Senator Bala Mohammed, said the proposed automation programme in the Ministry of Interior would “comprise the documentation and re-engineering of the departmental business processes, development of web portal software and revenue collection systems, set up of local area network and internet connectivity, delivery and deployment of hardware peripherals, provision of training/capacity building and provision of maintenance and support services. When completed, the project is expected to improve the functionality and service delivery of the department through increased operational effectiveness, improved revenue collection and reduced transactional costs, faster response times, reduction in wastage and elimination of endemic fraud.

The department is charged with managing the expatriate quota system and the administration of the citizenship application and of course, the control of the Marriage Registry.

The Council also approved a memo from the Ministry of Science and Technology to set up a National Science Research Technology and Innovation Fund for the development of science and technology in Nigeria.
The Council had two months ago approved the National Science Technology and Innovation Policy for the country. A committee was set up to study the appropriate ways of funding Science Technology research in the country.

Jonathan, who revisited the low productivity in the civil service, blamed it on “over protectionism.”

FEC Orders Immediate Probe of Oil And Gas Sector

The federal government has ordered a fresh audit of its entire oil and gas sector covering the last three years on Wednesday January 18 2011, in its bid to clean up corruption in the country.

Federal Executive Council

“As part of government’s anticorruption agenda, council today … approved the award of contracts to two audit firms to conduct a thorough audit of the accounts and activities of all government institutions and entities in the oil and gas industry from 2009 to 2011 with nine months completion period,” Information Minister Labaran Maku said.

President Goodluck Jonathan has come under intense pressure to clean up Nigeria’s 2 million barrel per day oil sector, after a week of protests over fuel prices revealed public anger about corruption and waste of the country’ oil wealth.

Unions called off a weeklong strike on Monday, after Jonathan partly backed down on the scrapping of a popular fuel subsidy. He and oil Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke promised prompt action to implement delayed reforms to the oil sector.

Maku named two Nigerian firms as the auditors: Haruna, Yahaya & Co. and Sada, Idris & Co.

“The audit would be carried out in all government revenue generating … institutions and entities in the oil and gas and solid minerals sectors of the country,” he said. “The audit firms shall access production, exports, imports and unaccounted oil and gas … and other relevant streams.”

On Monday EFCC on orders from Allison-Madueke launched an investigation into the subsidy system, sending agents to the state oil company and petroleum pricing regulator.

A report compiled by international accounting firm KPMG into the opaque state oil company has been on the oil minister’s desk for a year, but no action has been taken on it yet