Coordinating Minister for the Economy (CME) and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
By Muhammad Bello
A template that will allow the federal government conduct an in-depth scientific and financial analysis on new projects in order to assess their environmental impact and benefit to Nigerians, prior to their incorporation into the national budget, is under consideration by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The template was contained in a memo brought to the weekly FEC meeting by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy (CME) and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as well as the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs, Dr. Nweze Okeidegebe.
This was one of the outcomes of the FEC meeting presided over Wednesday by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Other issues discussed at the meeting were: a memo from the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, for a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project for a gas plant, approval of N2.99 billion for the extension of the Ogoja-Calabar-Ugep Road and a report on the United Nations (UN) decision to organise a mini conference on HIV/AIDS to be co-chaired by President Jonathan.
The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, alongside the Minister of State for Works, Bashir Yuguda, told journalists that the project analysis and design being considered by the apex government is to enable it analyse new projects before inculcating them into the budget.
The council also ratified the president's anticipatory approval of a new contract to extend the Calabar-Ugep-Ogoja-Katsina-Ala Road section 1 (Calabar-Ugep) in Cross River State, in favour of Messrs Piccolo Brunelli Limited in the sum of N2,999,979,575.00 to N7,613,176,725.00 only.
A post-council document indicated that: “The first phase of the project is aimed at addressing the heavily distressed sections of the road while other sections not captured in the original contract scope of works would be addressed when funds became available. This is to ensure that government and the public get the full benefits of the investment made on the roads in terms of improvement if the level of service.”
Being an existing contract, Yuguda said the contract, to be handled by Picollo Brunelli (Nig) Ltd, is “to take the remaining section not covered in the original contract of N4.6 billion,” and is expected to be completed in 24 months. So far 80 per cent of the job has been completed.
The rehabilitation of section 1 of the Calabar-Ugep-Ogoja-Katsina Ala Road awarded to Picollo Brunelli (Nig) Ltd provides for full rehabilitation of 25 kilometres of the road from Odukpani Junction en route Ugep and includes the replacement of existing or failed Armco pipe culverts.
Meanwhile, the forthcoming UN mini conference on HIV/AIDS following the recent summit in Abuja, will be on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, to be co-chaired by Jonathan, Ban Ki-Moon and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma.