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Published On: Fri, May 25th, 2018

FG: 2018 infrastructure budget ’ll boost economy, create jobs

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By Lawrence Olaoye

The federal government has said that the nation’s economy will receive a boom with several jobs created when the capital budget approved in the 2018 Appropriation bill is released.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, gave the assurance while briefing newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday.
Udoma, who disclosed that the Council was pleased with the latest National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) result which put it at 1.95 percent also assured that the 3.5 percent target for 2018 was achievable.
He said “I presented the latest NBS GDP result which was released on Monday. It showed a GDP growth rate of 1.95 percent with both the oil as well as the non oil sectors continuing to grow. Council was most encouraged by this result particularly because the first quarter is usually the weskest quarter.
With this first quarter of 1.95 percent we are on track to achieve the 3.5 percent GDP growth rate which is our target for this year particularly we believe that once the infrastructure spending in the 2018 starts to kick in, the whole economy will receive a further boost as more jobs will be created, consumer spending will increase thereby improving the performance of the servicing sector.
And apart from the GDP numbers, Council is also very happy to see the positive trend in all other major economic indices including inflation which has been trending down and capital importation which has been going up as well as our Foreign Currency Reserve which has been going up.
You will recall that our FOREX 2016 were about $23 billion now $47 billion.”
Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau, who also briefed said the Council approved the sum of N583 million as consultancy service for the construction of technologu building for Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
He explained that the technology building was meant to accommodate the service data communication command of control center which will be manned and managed by the Nigeria Immigration officers.
He said “We realized when we came in that we have a couple of data basics which were being handled by service providers that were engaged in a kind of PPP arrangements and the data involve that of passport issuance, visa issuance and green paper for resident permit.
So we are bringing all that together in the interest of national security under the control of Nigeria Immigration Service contrary to what we have been obtaining whereby service providers have been handling the data bases contrary to the interest of national security.
The total worth of the consultancy service is N583 million at five percent VAT at a completion time of 23 months.”
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, also said the Council approved the sum of N5.9 billion for road projects in the South West.
Mohammed who spoke on behalf of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing said the 34 kilometer road project spanned Ila-Orangun-Okeila-Ilale-Ikon road in Osun to Ekiti State and to will be completed in 15 months.
Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, told newsmen that the Council approved the purchase of equipments for cargo clearance at port (64 ton capacity mobile crane) at the cost of 3.5 million Euros while the naira component was N203 million and N69 million for training, totalling N1.6 billion.
He said that there was another approval of N280 million for international advisers for railways projects in the country including Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, Abuja to Itakpe, Kano to Maradu and the seaport in Bonny.
“These international advisers are to advise us on the financial model when we sit down to negotiate with the companies or contractors.” he said.
Minister of health, Isaac Adewole, also disclosed that the FEC ratified the protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products.

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