•Approves coastal road running from Lagos to Calabar
•Gives go ahead for concessionning of six inherited road projects
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the 30-day implementation period of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the federal government entered with organised labour over the effect of the withdrawal of fuel subsidy on the Nigerian workers.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Hon Simon Lalong, while speaking with newsmen on Monday after the Federal Executive Council meeting said Council had approved a 30 day implementation plan for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently signed by the federal government and the organized Labour.
According to Lalong, who said the MoU was presented to the Council on the implementation of the agreement with labour, himself and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, had met with the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), in fulfilment of one of the items of the MoU.
His words: “We presented a memo from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the memo was basically on the agreement between government and the labour. You are already aware that 15 items are parts of the agreement.
“But we went beyond mere agreement, we told them that something different this time is happening because one, part of the agreement is to file it in the court of law which we have set the process already.
“And the other one was the presidential approval. There cannot be any presidential approval more than the Federal Executive Council. So we presented them to the Federal Executive Council. We analyzed each and every aspect of the agreement and to show the genuineness and also provide for harmonious and good industrial relationship and that was why it was presented and it was approved for implementation.
“It was agreed that within 30 days , there must be evidence of implementation and that was the basis of presenting to the Federal Executive Council the memo and the Federal Executive Council also approved it and within this 30 days, we will go on with the implementation of the agreement between labour and government,” he said.
Responding to a question on item six of the MoU which was the government alleged interference in the activities of the democratically elected leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the mandate to him (Lalong) to resolve the crisis in the union on or before October 13, the Minister said he had already met with the various factions
He said “item six in the MoU is about interference specifically with issues that were about road transport workers. Immediately the next day, we embarked on meetings between the two organisations.
“As of today, they have already reached out and have concluded that of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, today they are making a report to the ministry about their agreement because they went into agreement too and we are also going to get back to their parent association.
“The next one is the NURTW. Last week we were with them. Of course if some of you were there, you knew why we postponed it, I reminded them that we are keeping to the date of the agreement but they said they cannot strictly keep to the date because it is very important to them that we realized the aim. So we shifted the meeting till tomorrow. Today, we are going to get the report, by tomorrow we will fix a meeting.
On his part, the Minister of Works, Umahi said, “Today we presented a memo on an inherited scope of road infrastructure from the past administration and the total length of the roads we inherited and bridges was 18,897 kilometer.
“We also brought to notice of FEC that a number of projects were awarded some lasting up to 20 years back, abandoned, ongoing with no proper funding and so on and so forth. And there’s some new critical roads totaling 12,000 kilometers and 24 bridges.
“You know, FEC approved for the continuation of these inherited projects and the new proposal and directed that Federal Executive Council committee, Chief of Staff, Minister for Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Minister for Works, Minister of Budget and Planning, GCEO/GMD of NNPLC, Chairman of FIRS and SSA on Tax Reform, to meet and come up with strategies to source for funds and everything patterning to the funding.
“Number two, FEC was also informed on the ongoing projects and to mitigate so much inflation and variation of the projects, to have some of the projects that have attended completion to be redesigned on concrete and going forward for new projects to be done on concrete.
“FEC approved that concept that most of the ongoing projects should be desired on concrete pavements depending on the level of completion and if you’re doing Asphalt there are also conditions for that.
“FEC also approved the coastal road running from Phase 1 which runs from Lagos to Port Harcourt to Calabar. Phase 2 runs from from Sokoto to Ogoja. It was approved to be done on EBC + F, that is Engineering Procurement and Construction plus Financing.
“And that eight roads that were started in the past administration for concessionning that have gone through all the processes were also approved. That the financial closure should be reached in the month of November.
“There were nine actually but one was pulled out that is Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta and that has been given to the Ogun State government based on their request that they should do the road on their own and they will follow the HDMI that is Hardware Development Management Initiative.
“No refunds for that but they will do it and toll it. And new 25 roads were also approved for concessionning, which takes a very long time on the PPP (Public Private Partnership) model.
“Lastly, the PPP for Ijora park in Lagos. It was approved that it should be done on PPP. And it was won by Beta Nigeria Ltd, which was actually started by the last administration. So we just have to convey what they did to FEC which we got approval.
“Finally, the consultancy for NNPC and FIRS who oversee the projects funded by them was also approved today”, he said.