FG Okays N5.6 Billion Mangu Water Project

President Jonathan

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the re-award of contract for the completion of Mangu Dam in Plateau State at a cost of N5.6 billion.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe while briefing State House correspondents at the end of FEC meeting presided by President Goodluck Jonathan.

She was accompanied by the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga and the Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson.

According to Ochekpe, the contract for the Mangu dam, which is a component of the Mangu regional water supply scheme, was first awarded in 2002 but was terminated due to lack of performance on the part of the contract.

Thee scheme, she noted, will produce 17.2 million metric metre of water per day, will generate 1.5 megawatt of electricity and will also be used for irrigation.

She said: “The project upon completion will serve about 10 communities. An estimated population of about 700,000 people will benefit from the project and it will generate employment opportunities for about 12,000 people within the catchment areas of Mangu, Gindiri, Mangu Hale, Kudunu, Vodni, Payam, Pushit, Ampier, Mangun and Lagai.”

“A budgetary provision of N5.4 billio has been made available to the ministry by the president from the Hudraulic Infrastructure and National Security Fund and the sum of N100 million is appropriated for the project in the 2014 budget, while the balance of N101,309,351.75 will be provided in the 2015 budget to complete the project.”

“After deliberation, council approved the award of the contract in favour of Messrs Infiouest Limited in the sum of N5,601,309,351.75 with a completion period of 36 months.” She added

The Minister of communication during the FEC meeting tabled a memorandum to seek Council’s approval for the ratification of the instruments (Revised Acts) of the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU), which is a specialized agency of the African Union, charged with the regulation of postal affairs in Africa.

Omobola Johnson said: “The document when ratified will strengthen PAPU’s operations, commitment and by extension will enable other countries to transit their Mails through Nigeria to other West African Countries. This will translate to additional revenue for Nigeria and an improved standing in the Universal Postal Union (UPU) which will facilitate future election into strategic and important positions in the union.”

In another memo, the Ministry sought for FEC’s approval for the ratification of the decisions of the 24th Congress of the Universal Postal Union (2008)

She said: “The reason for the amendments of the UPU Acts is to enable Nigeria as a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), to benefit from the various provisions that will strengthen our postal service to compete favourably with private operators locally and globally, increase revenue and provide better universal postal services.”

The ratification of the instruments, she said, are in line with the ongoing Postal Reform process that will place NIPOST on a more commercially viable platform to address the global challenges to postal services in addition to other benefits.

According to her, the two approvals were given by FEC yesterday.

Aganga, on his part, said that he briefed the council on misleading articles on the government’s new automobile policyand he was mandated to clear the air on the report.

He said “I briefed Council today on one of the misleading articles on one of the newspapers yesterday on the auto policy. And we thought it necessary to make sure the misunderstanding is properly understood and cleared with the Nigerian public.”

“The article had claimed that the duty on the used cars is now 70 percent from yesterday, that is incorrect. It is 35 percent . It also claimed all used cars now coming into the country would pay duty of 70 percent, that again is incorrect.”

“For all those in the auto policy programme, all those assembly cars in the programme, the policy is that they would be able to import cars to meet the gap when you look at production and the demands in the country, they would be able to import those cars at 35 percent, so it is not 70 percent.”

“It is only for those who are putting strain on our foreign reserves who have no intention to create jobs who want to continue to remain traders that the 70 percent applies to and this is to discourage trading. It is to encourage local assembly and job creation and unnecessary pressure on our foreign reserves.”

Continuing, he said: “So it is an economic issue and it is very deliberate. And we don’t expect that at all because there is no point. Why would you import cars at 70 percent while others are importing at 35 percent ? So we do not expect to see anyone importing cars at 70 percent. It was just a measure to encourage people to go within the policy group.”

“When you look at the blended rate of those in the auto programme for the CKDs SKD 1 and SKD 2 they bring to the country, they only pay duty of zero percent, five percent and 10 percent. So when you look at the blended rate of what they produce locally and what they import, it is just above 20 percent. That is the policy and that is why all the manufacturers, assemblers of cars which include some of the major distributors of cars and importers of cars before, companies like sterling, even Cocharis they have given an undertaken they will not increase their prices at all. Anyone who wants to buy cars from anyone of them, they will find out that none of them plans to or has increased prices at all.” He added

“On our own part, because we are sensitive to price increases, that had always been part of the policy, that is why we brought this policy in place. We will continue to monitor prices of cars every week. The policy as it is should not lead to any price increase if they are being fair to Nigerian consumers that are critical to us.”

He noted that Nigeria is the only country implementing such auto policy without banning importation of used cars.

Aganga said: “In every country when you have auto policy, used cars are banned. Even when there was a meeting of the auto manufacturers last week, they pushed for banning of used cars. This government under this President bearing in mind the socio-political environment we operate today and that most people import used cars so this government decide not to ban used cars.”

“It will be the first country out of all the countries that have implemented auto programme that has refused to ban used cars at the time of implementation because of the interest of the Nigerian people.”

“The second thing which we did was to say we will emphasize and work on two things encourage our manufacturers to prioritize the assembly of affordable cars because that is important even for them, if they are going to get the market share of the used car market. We have the duty which 35 percent over time as we watch it we can increase it, but we have not increase it and we do not intend to increase it until the dynamics are right.”

“The second thing which we have emphasized is to make it easier for those who buy used cars is to make sure that we work with the financial institutions to have car purchase scheme in the country, where they can borrow money to buy cars as long as you are working at very reduced interest rate, not 20 percent. We are looking at very low interest, we are at advanced stage of negotiating that. We are doing that because we understand the issues with Nigerian public and we want to make sure this policy once it is going to lead to so so amount of jobs, we don’t unnecessary strain on Nigerians. Consumers are very important to us, it is not just the investors, the money makers but consumers, we must regularly be in touch with them and make sure that we address their interests.”

“We are very sensitive about price increases and the auto manufacturers, assemblers our cooperating and working with us very closely, that is one of the reasons why we said we know they will not be able to produce all the cars that are needed in the country, that is why we say whatever they produce, whatever the demand is the country, the gap will be, they can import cars at 35 per cent and not 70 per cent, so if there is any gap, we can fill that gap quickly. So anybody who prices his car 70 per cent more will be out of market, there is no need to patronize them because there is no reason buying a car that is more expensive.” He stated

Maku disclosed that the Minister of Sports briefed the council on Super Eagles’ outing in Brazil and felt that the team should be commended.

According to him, FEC congratulated the team as they performed better than world footballing nations like Spain, Italy and England.

He explained that policy reforms are already ongoing to ascertain why it has been difficult for the team to go beyond the round of16.