FEC approves reconstruction of UN building for N5billion

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the United Nations building in Abuja for the sum of N5.153 billion.

The contract for the reconstruction has been awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria PLC.

Briefing state house correspondents after the council meeting on Wednesday, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, stated that the reconstruction of the building damaged in a  terrorist attack last year will create good will for the country.

He said that the building has been subjected to series of integrated tests following the terror attacks while the various agencies of the United Nations who were functioning from that building are currently accommodated in different parts of the FCT.

The federal government disclosed that the various developments that the United Nations agencies offer to the country makes it imperative for the government to fulfill the promise to reconstruct the building in 16 months’ time.



FEC approves N99 billion contracts for Niger-Delta

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved contracts for 28 infrastructural development projects for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in nine oil producing states in the Niger Delta region.

The projects which will cover roads, bridges, land reclamation, erosion problems as well as power supply and education will cost about N98.589 billion and they are to be implemented between now and 2014.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Information; Mr Labaran Maku said that the contracts are in view of the government’s commitment and determination to create a conducive environment for sustainable development of the region.


NECO’s reader scanners for N1.99 billion

As part of efforts to improve the quality and efficiency in the conduct of examinations, FEC also approved 80 image mark reader scanners which will be used to mark the various examinations conducted by the National Examination Council (NECO) in the country.

The Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyat Rufai said the scanner’s technology will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the operations of the examination body because it can mark 7,200 multiple choice questions scripts per hour.

The scanner machines approved for the NECO will cost N1.99 billion.

Also approved is the execution of the Zungeru Hydro Power Project in Niger state which will provide 700 MW of electricity. The project is to be funded by the China EXIM Bank to the tune of N162.9 billion.

FEC also approved that Nigeria should pay its counterpart funding of $3 million for the supply of family planning as well as infant/maternal drugs and materials from donor agencies.

The President is a co-chair of the United Nations Commission for life-saving commodities for women and children.

The road sector received approvals for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of five major road networks across the country as the dry season sets in.

The roads approved for immediate execution include the Wude-Utai-Achika-Dake-Jigawa road, Kontagora-Rijau-Tunga-Mangaja road in Niger state and the Nenwe-Uduma –Uburu road in Ebonyi/Enugu state.

Others are the Auchi-Ekperi-Afuda-Usugani road in Edo state and the Funtua-Gusua-Sokoto road.

According to the Minister of Works, the roads are of great economic importance to the country.

Civil servants to be promoted on performance contract

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the use of performance contract system recently adopted by Ministers, as a basis for career promotion in the civil service.

Briefing state house correspondents after the council meeting on Wednesday, the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku said that the approval which will take effect from 2013 will take off with five ministries.

The ministries are Ministries of Education, Agriculture, Health, Finance and Works.

The approval is following deliberations on the report of the annual conference of the civil service commission held earlier in June this year.

Also the cabinet gave approval for the automation of its operations using the galaxy backbone.

The council agreed that memos must not be carried manually from next year.

FEC approves N1.5billion to complete Nnamdi Azikiwe’s mausoleum

The Federal Executive Council has approved the contract for the completion of a mausoleum in Onitsha, Anambra state, in memory of the first president of Nigeria, late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.

Briefing state house correspondents after the council meeting on Wednesday, the Minister of Housing, Lands and Urban development Miss Amal Pepple, said that the mausoleum which will cost N1.496 billion will be completed in thirteen months’ time before the centennial celebrations of Nigeria’s amalgamation.

The late Zik, as he was fondly called, was one of the leading figures of modern Nigerian nationalism.

He became the first president of Nigeria following the nation’s independence from colonial masters, the United Kingdom on October 1, 1960.

He died in 1996.

The mausoleum been built in his memory in Onitsha, his home town, which is yet to be completed, is now a major concern for Jonathan’s administration.

The contract which was initially handled by the President’s office has now been transferred to the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Urban development.

Giving a breakdown on the budgetary plans for the mausoleum, Ms Pepple stated that N530 million of the total sum was captured in the 2012 budget while over N1billion will be captured in the 2013 budget.

Also approved by the council was the road-map for the development of solid minerals and the metals sector of the economy.

The Minister for Mines and Steel development, Architect Mohammed Sada said that government has for some time been making pronouncement that it is one of the sectors it needs to develop to provide an alternative source of revenue for the country.

According to the Minister, the over-dependence on oil has led to the neglect of several sectors of the Nigerian economy and one of such sectors is the solid minerals, which the nation is highly endowed with.

He admitted that what the government has pledged for the sector, were mere pronouncements and that the Jonathan administration has now gone beyond rhetoric to produce a road-map that will turn the sector around.

Architect Sada, noted that the reforms in the minerals sector started in 2005 but have not been steady. He however stated that with the launch of the road-map, if and when followed religiously, will help move the sector forward and give direction to investors.

FEC approves N7 billion for procurement of textbooks for schools

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the purchase of 16 million textbooks and library resources materials for distribution to all public primary schools and Junior Secondary Schools across the country.

The Minister of State for Education, Ezenwo Wike, stated this in Abuja while briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the weekly FEC meeting which was presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.

He said the textbooks would be for core subjects in English Language, Mathematics, Basic Science and Technology and Social Studies for primaries three, four, five and six.

He said the library resources materials would be distributed to all Junior Secondary Schools across the country.

“You will agree with me that part of the transformation agenda of Mr. President is that education is core and in its resolve to improve the quality of education particularly at the basic level, Council today approved the procurement of core subjects in primary three, primary four, five and six for all public primary schools in this country and again for JSS for all the public schools.

“Now, the total number of books Council approved for purchase through UBEC is 16 million copies of textbooks in Mathematics, English language, Basic Science and Technology, Social Studies, while 1,010,100 library resource materials (were) being approved for JSS,” he said.

According to Mr Wike, 5,746,489 of the textbooks in English Language, Mathematics, Basic Science and Technology would be for primary four, 5,151,450 for Primary Five, 2,568,700 for Primary Six and 3,222,210 social studies textbooks for Primary Three.

The Minister said the distribution of the textbooks would not be based on equality of states, but rather it would be based on number of enrolment of pupils in the states.

He, however, maintained that the 1,010,100 library resources materials would be shared equally among the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.

Also addressing the correspondents, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said the Council approved the execution of three infrastructural development projects in the Niger Delta region.

He ssaid the projects included the construction of Kira- Dere –Mogho road in Gokona Local Government Area of Rivers and land reclamation/shore protection at Ogbeinana town in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta.

Mr Maku expressed Federal Government’s commitment to create the necessary atmosphere and the environment conducive to sustainable development of the Niger Delta.

FEC says flooding is national emergency; opens by-passes on Lokoja-Abuja road

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has described the flooding in Kogi State and other parts of the country as a national emergency and calls on all Nigerians to stop blaming the government and assist it in the provision of succour to the affected peoples.

Aerial view images of flooding around river Niger in Lokoja

The Minister for the Environment, Hadiza Melafia who spoke to state house correspondents after the council meeting said that the flooding being experienced in the country does not in any way fall into what can be described as man-made describing it as a natural phenomenon happening everywhere in the world.

Ms Melafia said the presidential committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan have visited seven states to ascertain the extent of impact of the flood on life and infrastructure and to identify immediate areas of intervention.

“The most devastating that we have witnessed is that of Kogi State where we have a major road completely made impassable.

“We have also seen a lot of infrastructure submerged and witnessed very traumatising experiences by people that were affected,’’ she said.

She said among the consequences of the flooding was huge loss of farmlands which might likely pose a threat to food security.

The minister said academic calendar was affected, people were displaced and there was likelihood of health challenges in the affected areas.
She underscored the need for Nigerians to make concerted efforts towards addressing the challenges of climate change.

She said the River Niger which over-flew its bank in Lokoja flows from Guinea Conakry through the northern region where there was acute desertification.

By-passes on Lokojo-Abuja road

Meanwhile, following the reports of a survey on the Kogi flooding by the presidential committee, the Federal Executive Council will on Thursday open a by-passes as a diversion for vehicles to drive through the Lokoja-Abuja road.

The Minister of Works, Mike Onolemenen, disclosed this to State House correspondents, after this week’s Council meeting presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.

Mr Onolemenen said the bye-passes which had been created around the flooded area would be opened to motorists from Thursday.
He said government had engaged construction giants in the country to create the bye-passes as a temporary measure to ease the suffering of commuters.

“What we’ve been doing since yesterday morning is that around the flooded area, we identified a bye-pass which we have created.

“As at this morning, we have attained about 60 per cent completion. From the way we are going, by tomorrow, the road should be opened to motorists.

“We have done a diversion at those drainages and vehicles will be able to now drive normally through this bye-pass without having recourse to canoes on our roads as a result of the flooding that happened.

“For us, that was a national priority because we needed to open that particular transport corridor so that movement between the southern states and the northern states will not be impaired.

“We have done that and I want Nigerians to be assured that government is with them in this situation and that government will continue to do all in its power to ensure that the pains are reduced to the barest minimum,” he said.

FEC approves report on strengthening Nigerian universities

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the tertiary education report which is aimed at strengthening Nigerian Universities and eliminates the weaknesses that have brought down the standard of education in the country.

Briefing state house correspondents after the weekly council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku said that apart from the issue of poor funding there are other systemic issues relating to the vision of the various universities, improper utilisation of resources as well as regulations that need to be tackled.

“The report which was ordered by the president following the last ASUU strike brought together stakeholders in the tertiary educational system to examine the state of development of our universities and to look at all the issues that have continued to lead to friction and also lower standards in the university system.

“So in order that we would be able to come up with a very, very comprehensive intervention policy, Mr President felt there was a need to draw in other stakeholders, particularly state governments. And after the presentation to the National Economic Council, Mr President will then proceed to agree on an intervention formula following a thorough analysis of the report that has been presented to us today,” Mr Maku said.

The Minister said the Council also recommended that it has become necessary for the National Universities Commission to begin to enforce basic minimum standards in terms of infrastructure, staff/student ratio and facilities, to ensure that the universities meet the best standards compared to any other in the world.

The Council also approved the Nigerian sugar master plan to reverse the decline in sugar production in the country.

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga decried the situation where over 90 percent of sugar used in the country is imported.

He said that Nigeria will benefit from the master plan which will enable the country produce 1,797 tonnes of sugar annually as well as generate 400 megawatts of power.

“Sugar is a very strategic commodity. It is strategic because it creates a lot of jobs. For you to have a sugar manufacturing firm, you have to have sugarcane farms. Sugarcanes farms create a lot of jobs,” Mr Aganga said.

“It also produces ethanol which is a source for electricity. This will help to save a lot of foreign exchange,” the Minister added.

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%.”