By Kamil Opeyemi
The Federal executive Council has approved N15 billion for the construction of an access road linking the Benin-Asaba expressway to the second Niger bridge.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the council’s meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, in Abuja.
He expressed the hope that the completion of the road would help achieve the dream of inaugurating the bridge before May 29.
“The Minister of Works presented a memo seeking approval for the award of contract for the construction of an access road from the existing Benin-Asaba expressway to approach the link road to second Niger bridge in Delta.
”As you are aware, the government is determined to inaugurate the second Niger bridge before the expiration of this administration.
”We can tell you that the bridge itself is substantially concluded, but the contract that was awarded today, although the work has started before now, is actually to connect the Asaba-Benin end to the new bridge.
“The contract was awarded to Julius Berger at a sum of N15billion. They have started the work but they said it is only proper that they have a contract.
”We can assure you that the road will be finished in good time for us to inaugurate the 2nd Niger bridge,” he said.
Mohammed also disclosed that the council has approved N16billion as variation for the dualisation of Suleja-Minna road in Niger.
The Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, who also addressed the correspondents revealed that the council approved 3.7 million Euros as contract variation for the Transition Company of Nigeria.
He said the amount was meant for the procurement of some equipment and to complete the construction of two sub-stations that would help boost electricity supply in the country
Aliyu said: “Today, I presented a memo on behalf of the Transition Company of Nigeria to the Council and it approved the variation.
”This was due to the escalation of prices for the supply of equipment and the construction of 132 33KV substations at Nnewi and 132 KV line bay extension at Onitsha, both in Anambra.
“The approved amount for the variation is 3.7 million Euros plus N1.137 billion inclusive of 7.5 percent Value Added Tax, with a completion period of 18 months.”
The minister disclosed that the contracts started in 2006 but were abandoned due to lack of budgetary provisions.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, also disclosed that the council approved six medium term development plans for Nigeria, which will run from 2021-2050, dealing with various specifics.
He said: ”The broad objectives are to create a stable and predictable macro-economic environment.
”This is by adopting policies that are consistent with raising domestic savings and investments, to establish a solid foundation for a concentric diversified private sector led economy.
”It will as well create a more resilient business environment that creates and support opportunities for Nigerians to realise their potentials, among others.”
Agba said the plans were developed in collaboration with the sub-national governments, the three main political parties, PDP, APC and APGA as well as the organized labour, the youth and women organisations, religious bodies and traditional institutions.
The minister, who fielded questions from the correspondents, said the Federal Government was yet to conclude plans on palliatives that would cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians.
It will be recalled that under the Federal Government’s 2022 to 2023 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, a proposal of N3.3trillion was made for fuel subsidy between January and June 2023.
Agba stated that a Committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had been working with the National Economic Council ( NEC).
It is a body made up of Governors of the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory( FCT), working on the palliatives that will help to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal.
According to him, the provisions for subsidy is up to June, 2023, adding that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and other relevant agencies have also been working on the issue.
He, however, stated that the Minister of State , Petroleum Resources would be in the best position to provide more updates on the issue of the subsidy removal.
Agba said: ”For over a year plus now, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has been leading a Committee working on this and the National Economic Council also has a committee that has also been doing same.
“So, the stage that we are in now is how to finalise the suggestions that have come out from both the Federal Government and the Governors side.
”Like you know, it is something that is going to affect the entire nation. They will just have to ensure that everyone is carried along, that is both the federal and sub-national governments.”