Transparency and Integrity

9/23/2020

$1.96bn Rail Contract : Nigerians React, Accuse FG Of Bias


Nigerians react as the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approves the sum of $1.96bn for rail contract from Kano to Niger Republic.

The Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday approved about $1.96 billion for the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano-Jigawa-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi rail line in Niger Republic.

Also approved by the council is the sum of N745.2 million for the procurement of additional eight Field Forensic Auditors for the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and another N12.088 billion Umuahia/Bende/Ohafia road with a distance of 45 kilometers.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, minister for Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and Lai Mohammed the Minister for Information and Culture made disclosure on the approval in a briefing of State House correspondents at the end of the FEC virtual meeting which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Amaechi speaking on the rail project said,  that his ministry presented two memoranda that were approved by the council.

He said,

 “ Two memos for the Ministry of Transportation were approved by the council. 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 accident on the track. It is for a total cost of N3,049,544,000. 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.”

Information reveals that the proposed rail line from Kano in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic is expected to cover a track length of 248 kilometres and will pass through seven senatorial districts in the North.

The rail contract which was initially budgeted in the 2018 Appropriation will connect at least seven cities in Nigeria and one city in Niger Republic and is expected to start from Kano and pass through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi, Niger Republic.


Also, it is anticipated to connect about three states of Jigawa, Kano and Katsina and when completed, would assist in the supply of crude oil from Niger Republic to the refinery being built in the border town between both countries.


Media Orchid recalls that an agreement between Niger Republic and Nigeria for the construction of the refinery had earlier been reached reached using Katsina State as the border town.

Nigerians have however taken to various social media platforms to express displeasure as they accuse the Federal Government of bias pointing out that the South East region has been left out of all rail projects

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed however while briefing on , behalf of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed said that the council approved the procurement of 1,800 units of laptop computers for training schools and computer-based test examinations at three Nigeria Customs training schools said,

 “ On behalf of the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, I want to report also that she 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 Nigeria Customs Service 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 Nigeria Customs Service’s cash management’s software in compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). This is also going to enhance the efficiency of the Department of Customs.”

Lai Mohammed while briefing on behalf of the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said,

 “ Finally, on behalf of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, a memo was presented today 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.


“ However, the important thing about this particular contract is that the building has since been completed, it has since been in use and we inherited this augmentation from 2012, but since governance is a continuum, we are honouring the augmentation, but this headquarters building has been completed, the contractors have been magnanimous while all these arguments about the augmentation was going on, they were magnanimous enough to complete the project and many international conferences have been held in that building.”

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