….FEC okays N539,277bn for FIRS, N501,472bn for Customs, N532. 6m for varsity library
By Egena Sunday Ode
The Federal Government has reproved the claim by Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, that it printed N60 billion in March to augmentation the monthly federal allocation to states.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, stated this Wednesday while answering questions from newsmen at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
According to Ahmed also, despite Governor Obaseki’s alarm over the alleged spiraling debt profile which he said had put the country in ‘huge financial trouble’, the nation’s debt was still within sustainable limits.
Obaseki was quoted to have said at the Edo transition committee stakeholders engagement last Saturday that, “When we got FAAC for March, the federal government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share.
“This April, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, our total borrowings are going to be within N15-N16 trillion.”
The Finance Minister, however, explained that what was distributed at the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings were generated revenue from government institutions available to the public at the ministry’s website.
“The issue that has been raised by the Edo State Governor, for me, is very sad because it is not a fact. What we distributed at FAAC is revenue that is generated and in fact distribution revenue is a public information, we publish it.
“So, it’s revenue generated by the FIRS, the Customs and the NNPC, that we distribute at FAAC. So it is not true to say we printed money to distribute at FAAC, it is not true.
“On the issue of the borrowing, the Nigerian debt is still within sustainable limits. What we need to do, as I have said several times, is to improve our revenue to enhance our capacity to service, not only our debt obligations, but also to service the needs of running government on day to day basis. So, our debt, currently at about 23% to GDP, is at a very sustainable level. You can look at all the reports that you see from multilateral institutions, those facts are stated, she said.
Speaking on the outcome of the FEC meeting earlier, the Finance Minister disclosed that Council, at at Wednesday’s meeting approved the award of contract in the sum of N539,277,673.75, inclusive of 7.5% VAT for the construction of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) building at the Ilupeju Medium and Small Taxpayers’ office in Lagos state.
She said her Ministry presented a memo on behalf of the FIRS to that effect.
Ahmed also said: “The ministry also presented, on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, a memo that was seeking for Council’s approval for the design, construction and supply of two NC36M patrol boats, in favour of Messrs of Boat Plus Limited, in the sum of N5,062,530,400, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of 12 months and council approved our request.
“We also presented a memo, again on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, for the approval of Council for the design, construction and supply of seven fast assault patrol boats and seven regular patrol boats, in favour of Messrs Siwa West Africa Limited, in the sum of N,501,472,471.08, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of eight weeks.
“The purpose of the purchase of these two types of patrol boats is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of operations of the Nigerian Customs Service in its bid to control smuggling and also ensure enhanced efficiency in all customs duty operations in the Marine Unit of the Nigerian Customs Service.
“We also presented, again on behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service, a request for Council’s approval and council approved the procurement of 427 operational vehicles for the Nigerian Customs Service operations in favour of various contractors in the combined sum of N14.55 billion, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of four weeks and there are several contractors, including Elizade Motors, Wada Motors, Westwood Motors, Global Motors, providing different categories of vehicles that are meant for field operations of the Nigerian Customs Service. These memos were all well received by Council and they were approved.”
Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, also presented a memo to council for the award of contract for the construction and furnishing of the extension of the library of the University of Ibadan at the cost of N532 million.
Lai Mohammed who spoke on behalf of the Minister, explained that “it was a memo that was very well received because of the need to actually extend the library facility in the University. For many years, the library of the University of Ibadan had needed real extension, given the surge of the students population.
“The extension project will comprise two suspended floors, two online reading areas, three cubicles, one physically challenged reading area, four seminar rooms, one reprographic unit, six staff offices, one control room, general rooms, stores, four E-libraries, a coffee room, a media unit room, one galaxies exhibition room and a journal publication unit, in addition to two reading areas.
“Like I said, this was awarded to UYK Nigeria Limited, at the sum of N532,609,000 and it’s to be delivered in 48 weeks.”