By Egena Sunday Ode
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday approved the contract for the construction of the 248-kilometre Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic rail line at the cost of $1.96 billion, inclusive of the 7.5% value added tax (VAT).
This was disclosed by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to State House correspondents after the virtual Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The contract designed to connect three Nigerian states in the north; Kano, Katsina and Jigawa state, as well as seven senatorial districts was initiated in February 2018 by the present administration.
The Minister said the rail line when completed, would assist in the supply of crude oil from Niger Republic to the refinery being built at the border town between both countries.
According to Ameachi, another contract was approved for the Ministry, for the construction of design, manufacturing, supply, testing and commissioning of a railway crane, for the purposes of clearing rail tracks in situations of accidents.
He said “Two memos for the Ministry of Transportation. The first one is the award of contract for the design, manufacture, supply, testing and commissioning of one railway crane of 150 ton capacity for emergency and recovery of rolling stocks.
“This is to sort out say situations of accident on the track. It is for a total cost of N3,049,544,000. That’s the first memo that was approved for the Ministry of Transportation.
“The second one is the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi rail line in Niger Republic and to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa, for a total cost of $1,959,744,723.71, inclusive of 7.5% VAT”, he said.
Also briefing correspondents, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said the finance ministry presented two memos, which were approved by FEC.
The first contract, he said, was for the procurement of 1,800 units of laptop computers for three Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) training schools, at the cost of N351,540,000. The second contract, costing N197,843,100, would be for NCS cash management’s software.
“On behalf of the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning I want to report also that she got two of her memos approved. One is for the procurement of 1,800 units of laptop computers for training school and computer-based test examinations at three Nigeria Customs Service training schools in Gwagwalada, Lagos and Kano for a sum of N351,540,000, with a completion period of six weeks.
“The major advantage of this particular contract is that it saves the department a lot of money in hiring consultants for training and other services.
“The Minister also got another approval for N197,843,100 for the expansion of the Nigeria Customs Service’s cash management’s software in compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). This is also going to enhance the efficiency of the Department of Customs”, he said.
For the petroleum ministry, he said “on behalf of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, a memo was presented today asking for approval for the augmentation of the contract for the construction of Petroleum Technology Development Fund corporate headquarters office in Abuja, for the sum of N3,773,784,399.48, therefore raising the initial approval for the contract to about N14 billion.
“However, the important thing about this particular contract is that the building has since been completed, it has since been in use and we inherited this augmentation from 2012, but since governance is a continuum, we are honouring the augmentation, but this headquarters building has been completed, the contractors have been magnanimous while all these arguments about the augmentation was going on, they were magnanimous enough to complete the project and many international conferences have been held in that building”, he said.