By Lawrence Olaoye
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a contract of N1.4 billion for the design of new head office building for the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Abuja.
Briefing newsmen after the weekly Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, Minister of State for petroleum resources, Ibe Kachukwu, disclosed that the building will eventually cost N35 billion.
Asked why design alone would cost so much, Kachukwu explained that N1.4 billion was the least of the bids submitted by and eventually awarded to Artec Practice Limited.
According to him, two other bids considered were higher, even as much as N3billion adding that by international standards, the N1.4bn for the design of a structure that will eventually cost N35bn is within acceptable percentage of cost.
He said that the new building which will make the DPR relocate its head office from Lagos to Abuja, will have additional multi-level car parks and other relevant modern features, hence the high cost.
Kachikwu said: “The total projected potential cost for the building when it is done is about N35 billion. So, if you look at that as a percentage of the work, it is absolutely insignificant. In international terms, it is very justifiable, it is less than two per cent.
“The FCT did mention in our deliberation that because of the new zoning policies, the previous plan which was to build a car park of another five floors along with the 12 floors has to be changed a little bit because they are taking possession of additional green areas that were assigned to them.
“So they will have to build a lot of parking structures within the building. So I think because of the amount of work to be done and in line with international practice, it is quite frankly very reasonable.”
He pointed out that another target of the ministry is to get its parastatals self-funding instead of relying solely on federal budgeting; so a lot of funding for this development is going to come out of DPR itself, not out of federal budgeting”.
Another contract approved during the FEC meeting which lasted lasted several hours, was that of N1.55 billion for hiring a project management consultant and systems provider for the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), part of the social investment programs of the Federal Government.
Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, who disclosed this, explained that the contract is for providing services for 4.6 million people, noting that the program has already provided financial credit for over 1.5 million Nigerians.
He said the FEC also approved the establishment of a Committee to come up with alternative ways to complement what government is doing towards financing infrastructure.