FEC approves $1.96bn for Nigeria-Niger Republic rail line

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The construction of a 248-kilometre rail line linking Nigeria and Niger Republic is to commence soon as the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved $1.96 billion for the project.

FEC also okayed N12.9 billion for section two of the Ohafia-Arochukwu Road in Abia State and N548.54million for the purchase of laptops and software by Nigeria Customs Service(NCS).

These were disclosed by Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed and Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola after this week’s virtual meeting of the council in Abuja.

Amaechi explained that the cost of the rail line, which will run through Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states and terminate in Marada, Niger Republic, includes 7.5% Value Added Tax (VAT).

It is projected that when completed, the rail line would assist in the supply of crude oil from Niger Republic to the refinery being built in the border town between both countries.

Amaechi also disclosed that another contract for the construction of design, manufacturing, supply, testing and inauguration of a railway crane was approved by FEC.

The rail crane is for the purpose of clearing rail tracks in situations of accidents.

He said: “Two memos came from the Ministry of Transportation. The first one is the award of contract for the design, manufacture, supply, testing and commissioning of one railway crane of 150 ton capacity for emergency and recovery of rolling stocks.

“This is to sort out say situations of an accident on the track. It is for a total cost of N3,05 billion. That’s the first memo that was approved for the Ministry of Transportation.

“The second one is the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi rail line in Niger Republic and to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa, for a total cost of $1,959,744,723.71, inclusive of 7.5% VAT.”

Also, Fashola told the correspondents that second part of the Ohafia-Arochukwu Road covering 45-kilometre stretch would be handled by the same contractor in charge of the first phase.

He explained that the first section covers 19.27 kilometres, “The memorandum presented by the Ministry of Works and Housing today is for the Section two of the Ohafia to Arochukwu road. This section comprises Umuahia/Bende/Ohafia road in Abia State and it was approved for construction at N12.088 billion comprising a distance of 45 kilometers to complement Section One which was previously awarded in 2018, that is the section from Bende/Arochukwu to Ohafia which was 19.27 kilometres.

“So with this award now, the entire length of the road is now under contract with the same contractor and we hope for expeditious execution.”

Mohammed, who briefed the correspondents on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and Minister of Petroleum Resources, Timipreye Sylva, said the Finance Ministry presented two memos, which were also approved by FEC.

The first was for contract for the procurement of 1,800 units of laptops for three NCS training schools, at the cost of N351.54 million while the second was for NCS cash management’s software valued at N197 million.

The minister said “I want to report that she(Zainab) got two of her memos approved. One is for the procurement of 1,800 units of laptop computers for training school and computer-based test examinations at three NCS training schools in Gwagwalada, Lagos and Kano for a sum of N351,540,000, with a completion period of six weeks.

“The major advantage of this particular contract is that it saves the department a lot of money in hiring consultants for training and other services.

“The minister also got another approval for N197,843,100 for the expansion of the NCS cash management’s software in compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). This is also going to enhance the efficiency of the service.

“On behalf of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, a memo was presented today(yesterday) asking for approval for the augmentation of the contract for the construction of Petroleum Technology Development Fund corporate headquarters office in Abuja, for the sum of N3,773,784,399.48, therefore raising the initial approval for the contract to about N14 billion.”

On his part, Aregbesola said that FEC approved a contract for the purchase 52 more vehicles for the Nigeria Correctional Service.

He stated that the vehicles would help ease the transportation of awaiting prison inmates to and from courts.

He said, “We considered in exco, the award of contract for the procurement of 52 number operational Green Maria vehicles to facilitate effective operation in the Correctional Service as well as ease of movement of awaiting trial inmate from the custodial centres, 247 of them in all to about 5022 courts in Nigeria.

“This is to compliment what we have already acquired between 2016 and 2019 of about 451 Operational Green Maria vehicles. The objective is to ensure that the delay associated with trial of inmate is reduced if not eliminated.”

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