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FEC approves N454bn for Kano-Niger Republic rail, others


FEC meetingThe Federal Executive Council, on Wednesday, approved the sum of N453.90bn for the procurement of rolling stock, operation and maintenance equipment for the Kano-Maradi standard gauge rail line currently under construction.

The amount also includes N510.93m meant for procuring four customised fire service/search and rescue vans in seaports at Port Harcourt, Lagos Port Complex, Tincan Island port and the Marina headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority.

The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, disclosed this to State House correspondents after this week’s Council meeting chaired by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Kicked off in 2021, the 248km rail line will traverses Kano other cities such as Kazaure in Bauchi State, Daura and Mashi in Katsina State; Dutse in Jigawa State, the border town of Jibia, before terminating in Niger Republic’s trade and agricultural hub of Maradi.

According to a former Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, the line has 15 stations along its path with a forecasted daily traffic of 9,364 passengers and approximately 3000 metric tons of cargo.

However, the project has been fraught with resistance, especially from lawmakers.

In November 2021, The PUNCH reported that the National Assembly Joint Committee on Land and Marine Transport faulted the proposed rail  project.

But speaking on Wednesday, Sambo explained, “The memorandum sought council’s consideration and approval for the award of contract for the procurement of rolling stock, operation or maintenance equipment for the Kano-Maradi standard gauge rail line that is currently under construction.

“The contract was awarded to MSSRs Mota-Engil Nigeria Limited, who are the contractors handling this particular project in the sum of $984,722,302.5 inclusive of seven and a half per cent VAT with a completion period of four years.”

Sambo also revealed that the Transport ministry presented another memo on behalf of the Nigerian Ports Authority “for the award of contract for the construction and supply of four customised Fire Service search and rescue vans for extrication of accident victims for Rivers Ports in Port Harcourt, Lagos Port complex, Tincan Island Port and the Marina headquarters of the NPA, all in Lagos.

“Council considered the memorandum and approved the award of the contract as recommended and reviewed by the Bureau of Public Procurement in the sum of N510,934,600 inclusive of seven and a half percent VAT with a completion period of nine months in favour of Messrs All Works Commercial Company Limited.”

Also speaking was the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Abubakar, who said his ministry secured the council’s approval for a revised 2022 National Agricultural Seed Policy memo.

He said Nigeria had been operating the 2010 policy revised in 2015 before the latest revision in 2022.

Abubakar said the current revision was to meet up with globally approved standards in terms of seed quality and also to ensure food security.

He explained, “With the continuous technological development, seeds are constantly being upgraded, standardized four to five with several vitamins. There’s also the issue of genetically modified organisms or seeds.

“So, this revision seeks to conform with global best practices in yield. Our farmers must have access to the best quality seeds that have been fortified, seeds that can produce the yield that will be worth their while, seeds that can produce again, the produce that can compete in the world market. This is the basis for this particular policy.”

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