FEC okays N5.7bn contract awards for water, agric projects

The Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Wednesday, approved contracts awards totalling of N5.7 billion for projects under the miniatures of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Briefing correspondents at the end of the council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, Minister of Water Resources, Engr Sulaiman Adamu, said his ministry obtained an approval for the execution of two water projects in Gashua, Yobe State.

He said the projects became urgently needed because of observed surge in prevalence of kidney diseases and kidney failure among people living in the Gashua region in the last few years.

The minister noted that the two water projects were approved at the sum of N3.51 billion, adding that while one is to extend water supply service to Zango and Sabongeri Lamido, the other project is for an upgrade of existing waterworks.

He explained: “Council today approved a memo for the execution of two contracts for Gashua Water Supply Project (phase 2) in Yobe State, (Lot A) in the sum of N1.27 billion and Lot B in the sum of N2.24 billion.

“Essentially, one lot is for extension of the water supply service to Zango and Sabongeri Lamido, comprising of battery, boreholes, submersible pump, solar panels and so on and the other contract is for the upgrading of the existing waterworks, which also includes rehabilitation of some elevated tanks, provision of potable water treatment plants and a host of other ancillary facilities.

“The contract is for a period of 18 months and essentially, this contract was awarded to address the acute water supply situation in Gashua, which is well within the Sahelian region and also because in recent years there has been some prevalence of kidney diseases and kidney failures and a quick intervention were required so that we’ll be able to address this situation.

“In the interim, the National Water Resources Institute under my ministry is conducting an investigation as to why this high prevalence of kidney disease in the area. So, the council graciously approved these two contracts.”

Also speaking at the briefing Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, said Council approved two memoranda for his ministry.

He also explained: “The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development today presented two memos to the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“First is a memo seeking for the approval to the award of contract to Agriculture Research Institute and agencies and two certified companies for the production and distribution of seeds and seedlings to farmers.

“The second memo is for the approval of the award of contract for the purchase of 1014 in numbers of soil test kits and soil analytical laboratory equipment to National Institute of Soil Science at the cost of N278, 858,163 million.

“The first memo is the cost of N2,164,702 billion. This memo is, as I said, seeking Council’s approval for our research institutes to produce seeds for farmers for next year’s farming season”, he said.

The Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, speaking more on the unveiling of the National Development Plan earlier by President Buhari, said: “The difference with this plan is that it provides a mechanism to engage, empower, and employ our teeming energetic youth.

“The plan puts opportunities for inclusiveness for young people, women, people with special needs, and the vulnerable ones, mainstreaming women gender into all aspects of our social, economic and political activities.

“This plan also has a financing plan to increase revenue to 15 per cent of GDP. Currently, revenue to GDP is 7 per cent. This plan also separates sports from youth and take sports as business.

“For the first time in our planning history, we have three volumes of the plan. In the past, we have always had one volume, which is the plan itself. But this time, we have three volumes. Volume One is the main plan, and that’s what will be accessible to the public.

“Volume Two is the prioritised and sequential list of programmes and projects that will be fed into the annual budgets. While Volume Three are the legislative imperatives.

“What Volume Three really seeks to cover are those laws or policies that impede the private sector from being the main driver of the economy.

“So, laws have been identified that need to be reviewed or changed. Policies have also been identified that need to be worked upon. So, Volume Two and Volume Three are not for the public. They are essentially for government to see what they need to do.

“Another difference between this plan and the previous plan is the issue of Integrated Rural Development. This plan takes rural development away from agric.

“It looks at how to bring in different levels of infrastructure to the rural areas with a view to discouraging rural-urban migration and ensuring that broadband technology gets to the rural areas, and that power supply, even if it’s an upgrade, it’s within the rural areas. And we begin to open up our rural areas.

“Another differentiating factor between this plan and the previous plan is that this plan has a strong implementation framework. And there is also a framework for monitoring and evaluation because it takes into cognizance, vertical, lateral and horizontal coordination. And so basically, Mr President unveiled the plan to Nigerians today.”

Before the commencement of the meeting, the Council observed a minute silence in honour of former minister of Labour and Productivity, Hussaini Akwanga, who passed on December 17th at 77.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, informed council members of his demise shortly before the commencement of the weekly meeting and urged that a minute silence be observed in his honour.

The late Akwanga served as minister in 2003 during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

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