The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved over N22 billion for Niger Delta road projects. The approval was sequel to memos brought before the council by the Minister of Niger Delta, Mr. Stephen Oruh. Briefing State House correspondents after the weekly meeting, Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, said the first memo the council approved was the construction of Mbaise Ring Road intersecting and Owerri-Umuhaia Road in Imo State.
He said N6.178bn was approved and the contract awarded to Messrs Arab Contractors with a completion period of 18 months Yuguda further told journalists that the second memo approved by the council, was the construction of Calabar-Oban-Nsan-Okoroba-Ajassor Road in Cross River State, which was awarded to Messrs CCECC Nigeria Ltd at N9.067bn with a completion period of 24 months. The minister equally disclosed that the third memo approved by council was the construction of Phase 1 of Mbak Mkpeti-Itu-Okoita-Arochukwu Road in Abia, Cross River and Akwa Ibom States.
He said the contract was awarded to Messrs United Radak Nigeria Limited at N3.55bn with a completion period of 24 months. The construction of Mbak Atai-Ikot-Ntu-Mkpeti-Okuiboku Road in Akwa Ibom State, was also awarded at N3.246bn to Messrs Jukoko International Ltd with a completion period of 18 months, the minister said. The council also approved $945m foreign loans for irrigation system, flooding prevention in Ibadan, Oyo State, water provision in Bauchi, Ekiti and Rivers States.
The weekly FEC meeting was presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.Minister of Special Duties, Taminu Turaki, Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, Minister Water Resources, Sarah Ochepe, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adesina, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Steve Oruh jointly briefed State House correspondents after the meeting.
According to Yuguda, the Ministry of Finance presented a memo to the council seeking approval for International Development Association’s credit of $495m for the proposed irrigation management. According to him, the proposed irrigation system would improve farming in the country. Yuguda noted that the facility would come with five years grace period, while repayment period was 20 years with 0.75 per cent service charge.
The interest rate for the loans according to Yuguda, stands at 1.25 per cent per annum and a commitment fee of 0.5 per cent per annum. “Part of the fund under this IDA credit is to upscale the cultivation of the irrigatable land in the country. Currently, we have an estimated 2.2mn hectares of potentially irrigatable land in the country out of which about 1million hectares is situated in the Northern part. “The beneficiaries for this loan which will be managed by the Ministry of Water Resources is on four components. One is Water Resource Management and Dam Operation Improvement to the tune of $81m. Irrigation Development and Management to the tune of $294m.
“Enhancing the agriculture productivity and support the value chain development is $38m. Governance and institutional framework is $30m and the contingency under this programme is about $52m. “For specific intervention for the $495m, the Bakolori Dam and Irrigation Scheme in Zamfara State will benefit. We are talking about the rehabilitation of the dam which has an existing 8,000 hectares irrigation scheme, recovering the over 1,557 hectares lost due to poor drainage and converting 13,000 hectares of abandoned areas” the minister said.
On flooding in Oyo state, he said council approved $200m loan to curb the trend. “We have all been witnessing the flood that have happened in Ibadan, the first one was in 1980 and the second one in 2011. “Some remedial works were carried out to avert the future occurrence of flooding in the city but we believe, with this credit facility of $200m, we will be able to arrest the frequent flooding within the Ibadan city. “The idea is to work with the Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Agriculture in order to arrest the situation,” the minister disclosed.
He also said council approved another $250m for the proposed third national urban water sector reform project. According to him, one million Nigerians would benefit from the project in the three states of Ekiti, Rivers and Bauchi.