By Lawrence Olaoye
The Federal Government has said that the proposed economic laboratories would attract $25 billion worth of new investments.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, said economic indices since the introduction of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) was launched in April have been moving positive.
He however stressed that the government was not yet satisfied because it felt it could do better.
Udoma said “that is why we are organizing the labs. The Focused labs will be commencing in the week of the 5th of March. We will be bringing in investors both domestic and international. We will be looking at three areas Agriculture and Transportation, Power and Gas, Manufacturing and Processing.
“It is going to involved many ministers in the federal executive council who are actually going to drive that process.
The targets for the labs alone is to generate $25 billion worth of new investments. Some of the investments will be Naira, some will be dollars because we are expecting significant amount of domestic investments not just foreign investments.”
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, said he presented a memo seeking the augmentation of the price of ongoing projects due to the need for increased scope of work especially shoreline protection of the Tin Can Trailer and Truck Pack, which is almost finished.
“It is an ongoing project, we sought council’s to augment the price from N8.66 billion to N9.553 billion which was an augmentation of N892.177. 289 million.
We expect that that truck pack will now be completed this year and it will be one of the many multi-prong efforts being pursued to give relief to the Papa area, to facilitate vehicular truck and trailer movement and also maritime and import and export business and general economic activity for Apapa in particular, Lagos at large and the country as a whole. The memorandum was approved.”
On the construction of Apapa-Oshodi way “I think road development is clearly the mandate of the ministry of power, works and housing, especially the work sector by legislation. There is multi agencies collaboration with the Nigerian Port Authority, the Apapa Ports, Tin Can Island that are critical to the economy are affected. So there is multi-agencies interaction and that is what we have been having really and truly.
“You will recall I briefed you about a four kilogram stretch between the bridge from the Apapa Police when you are coming from Ojora, just to the junction of Point road right through to Wharf road, to entrance of the Apapa Port. That is the stretch that the Dangote Group, the Flour Mills, and the NPA agreed to do as soon CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility as possible, that is going on. It hit a problem because after the works started we found that the gas lines that supported most of the industries there and keep them in operation were within the right of way.
“Now we are faced with two choices, relocate the entire gas line which will cause a lot more in terms of relocation of services and reinstallation which was essentially outside the scope of what was a donation to them. Or to change the alignment of the road so that we don’t damage that gas pipeline. So that is what we are dealing with and those who know will tell you that construction in built up areas like that where vehicular traffic has to also pass through, cargo gas to move in and out of the port, is not a construction that is always easy to do because we can’t shut down as it were.
“The other side from Creek Road, Liverpool Road to the Coconut Bridge Tin Can Island part, is the part that is going to be concession to the Dangote group which showed interest to take it over, build it under the Tax Credit Scheme of the federal government. That requires first a design so that we can know what the quantities are, we have finished the design, we have handed over the designs to them, it also requires for them to get their engineers to say this is the price of this item or that item. And then we will now go to the BPP, fix the price because is public funds, even though they are advancing the money, they are going to claim it back.
“So we are at that process. We have finished the evaluation process on the sections involving Liverpool Road and the first five kilometers out of the Tin Can. So as soon as we get BPP approval we will come back to FEC because this public funds for which they will claim tax credit back, so we might as well get the price right.”