The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the variation in the sum of contract for East-West road project sections 1-4 from Warri to Port Harcourt, Eket, Oron, by N260 billion, bringing the total amount required for it to N506 billion.
The original cost for the sections was about N246 billion.
The variation was part of the decisions reached by the council presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.
According to the spokesman of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, who briefed correspondents on the issue, the variation followed a memorandum presented to the council by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, as part of efforts to provide succor and resolve issues around the recent floods.
The presidential aide said: “He got approval for the variation order in respect of repair works on the East-West road project affected during the recent flooding occurrences in the Niger Delta.
“So, the approval was for a variation order for the East-West road project sections 1-4 from Warri to Port Harcourt, Eket, Oron, including Oron-Eket bypass in the sum of N260 billion, thereby increasing the total contract sum for the outstanding sections 1-4 of the East West road projects from the sum of formerly of N246 billion now to N506 billion. The memo was approved.”
Fashola also got FEC’s nod for the award of contracts for the urgent repairs, and special general maintenance of a few roads nationwide.
These include the construction of Gogora Guru road in Yobe state, in the sum of N40 billion, with completion time of 36 months; the rehabilitation of the 90 kilometre Buni Gari Gulani road also in Yobe state in the sum of N4 billion, with a completion period of 36 months.
Approval was also given for the urgent repairs and the reconstruction of Water Cooperation Drive at Trinity Avenue Victoria Island Lagos State in the sum of N2 billion with a completion period of 36 months.
Similarly, approval was given for the award of contract for the dualization and reconstruction of the Kano-Kwanar-Ganja-Hadejia road in Kano and Jigawa states, in the sum of N94 billion inclusive of 7.5 percent VAT, with a completion period of 24 months.
Also speaking on the memorandum approved for his ministry, the Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed Mahmood, allayed fears of food shortage in the country due to the recent ravaging floods.
He said arrangements are in place to intensify dry season farming in the country to make up for the loss of production in flood affected places and other areas that have become inaccessible due to insecurity.
Asked how food shortage can be averted, he explained: “Number one, first and foremost, we have in place an intensive plan for dry season farming. We have gotten funding from the African Development Bank, we have some money also in our own provision, also, IFAD, that is the International Fund for Agricultural Development also just donated or grant, if you will, $5 million.
“So, we have some money that we are already planning to do dry season farming. Also, in areas of conflict, we are recruiting additional rangers. I told you in another forum that we have Agro Rangers that provide some measure of security on farm lands. We are recruiting more to do that.
“Also, we are intensifying farming in areas that have no conflict to make up for those areas that we are getting little or no access. So, the thing is the government, Mr. President, has specifically directed that we do everything humanly possible to make sure there is no food shortage in the country and I can tell you, there will not be any food shortage.
“Between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Central Bank and other private investors in agriculture, there’s enough grains in our own silos, in CBN and silos, that will cater for any eventualities and currently, the Humanitarian Ministry is picking up some grains from us to distribute to the needy. So, I can assure you, by the grace of God, there will be no food shortage.”
While urging farmers to take insurance cover for their farms, the Minister said government will come to the aid of farmers without insurance but are affected by the floods.
“For farmers especially, we always encourage farmers to take insurance. There are farmers that have taken insurance. So, now is the time for compensation after we finish all the assessments.
“Number four, the government will always have a plan of action or emergency response, just like this. What can the government do? What can the government do also to compensate those that don’t have insurance? Not really compensation, but assist, come to the aid. We have that plan and we’re already activating, pending when we finish all the assessments,” he stated.
Mahmood also revelaed that FEC approved the Revised Comprehensive Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Nigeria (the Animal Component).
Also fielding questions, the Minister of Science and Technology, Olorunnibe Mamaora, affirmed that local pencil production is ongoing at the Project Development Institute (PRODA) in Enugu.
He said the Institute had been unable to meet its objectives of producing machine tools and aircraft parts as envisaged because of crisis.
Mamora said FEC approved the memorandum presented on behalf of the National Space Agency and Development (NASDA) for public private partnership to secure partnership on the upgrade, equipping, operating and marketing of Space Museum, and Planetarium, saying that even though the buildings meant for the project had been in place since 2018 “but because of nonavailability of funds to put the necessary equipment is in place that project has been stalled.”
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