The Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday approved contracts for the rehabilitation of roads, building of bridges and purchase of high speed boats for the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) fitted with surveillance equipment to combat smuggling at a combined cost of N8, 610,884,077.13.
Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting which was presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, Minister for Information, Mr. Labaran Maku; alongside Minister of State for Finance, Alhaji Yerima Ngama; and the Minister of State for Works, Ambassador Bashiru Yuguda, said the memos were brought in by the Ministers of Finance and Works.
President Goodluck Jonathan was absent as he travelled to Ethiopia to attend African Union (AU) meeting,
Part of the contracts was for the rehabilitation of the three sections of Owerri-Umuahia road which links the two states and provides access to the Sam Mbakwe Airport which will include construction of two bridges on it to ease traffic.
The rehabilitation which the Council agreed would reduce accidents on the road and reduce travel time between the two states was awarded to Zerock Construction Nigeria Limited for N4, 207,774,864.51 with completion period of 24 months.
Also the Council approved the construction of two bridges along Auchi Polytechnic Ekperi-Agenebode which was said to be impeding traffic within the area. The bridges were awarded to Niger Construction Limited for N1, 330,416,048.02 with 12 months completion period.
The two anti-smuggling boat approved for purchase by the Council by the Nigerian Customs are the New KDN Aluminium P249 high speed patrol boats said to be needed to combat the upsurge in smuggling activities in the nation’s waterways.
Maku said Customs had 60 boats out of which 55 were in service explained that negotiations for the purchase of the boat started in 2011 but spilled over to 2012 when the requisite cost was captured in the budget as the government was mindful of plugging the economic drain which smuggling constitutes.
The boats reasoned to also contribute to checking illegal influx of goods into the country will help revive the manufacturing sector which will be shielded from undue competition from foreign manufacturers.
The boats which are built in South Africa has a Nigerian vendor and would cover spare parts and training of 72 crew members for three years will be delivered within nine months at the cost of N3,072,653,164.60.
“In view of the above, and given the current security challenges posed by the rising rate of disruption of economic activities in the nation’s maritime environment, Council approved the procurement of two numbers new KND P.249 Aluminium High Speed Boats with back up spare parts and Training crew members in favour of Messrs Kobus Naval Design/Portplus Limited in the sum of N3,072,653,164.60 inclusive of five per cent VAT, with delivery period of nine months following a memo by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy/Minister of Finance.”