By Lawrence Olaoye
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N458 million for the retention of Malaysian consultants to conduct pilot laboratories as part of the implementation strategy of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The FEC chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday also okayed the sum of N27.23 billion for the construction of the 117 kilometers Gombe – Biu Road that connects Gombe State to Borno and also leads to Adamawa and Yobe.
The Council equally approved the proposal for the revised Nigeria National Building Code.
Briefing newsmen after the weekly Council meeting, Minister of budget and national planning, Senator Udom Udo Udoma, said the focus of the laboratories was to mobilize private sector investment to finance specific capital projects because public resources were limited. The laboratories were expected to bring in private sector players.
According to him, “The key objectives of the labs are as follows: One, to identify all relevant key stakeholders from the public and private sector that are crucial in the delivery and implementation of the ERGP initiative so as to create ownership early on in the development process. We will review and re-evaluate the ERGP and sectoral plans against set targets and progress and will include identifying gaps in the current ecosystem and the key success factors. We will further deliver detailed three phase implementation programme line by line implementation activities. We will identify entry point projects, we will identify key performance indicators, breaking down silos and encouraging key players.”
Asked about the cost, Udoma said “The cost of retaining the Malaysian consultants will be N458m. It is going to cover about three months. The duration of the lab is expected to last a minimum of 13 weeks. It will cover three phases – pre- lab activities for four weeks, phase two construction of the labs themselves-6 weeks and Phase three, post lab activities three weeks and you will have for each labs at least a 100 people from a cross section of the public and private sectors. So, that is the structure of the lab. So, they will do the pilot one. Subsequent labs will not be by them. They will help us, they will bring their international connections, reach and give it credibility. 500,000 dollars per lab.”
Power, Works and Housing Mimister, Babatunde Fashola in his briefing disclosed that the Council approved the sum of N27.23 billion for the 117 kilometers Gombe-Biu road.
He said “The strategic importance of the road is undeniable. It supports agriculture, access to our power plants – Dadin Kowa hydro power plants. It also helps security logistics to move personnel and troops to respond to distress calls. It is also going to be critical in the resettlement of IDPS. It’s part of the North East Development Plan so it ticks all the boxes in terms of development and so on and also as far as budget implementation is concerned, this is one further step in that direction.”
Fashola added that the Council approved the revised Nigeria National Building Code which he said was already eight years behind its scheduled .
“The information that is critical is that it first adopts international building code standards and it also seeks to improve fire protection systems in buildings, public and private and in this time of harmattan, dry weather, this is the appropriate time to revise this kind of standards and hope that they can quickly kick in and people benefit from them and we save lives and property,” the minister said.