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FG approves N283.26bn, $18.12m for Customs boats, scanners

The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved two contracts totalling N283.255bn and a foreign component of $18.12m.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of a virtual meeting of the council presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

Ahmed said the two contracts were approved for the Nigeria Customs Service.

She said the first approval was for the revision of a contract that was previously approved by council in 2018 for the supply and installation of three mobile cargo scanners that would be placed in Onne, Port Harcourt and Tin Can Ports.

Ahmed said, “This contract is awarded to a company that is named Messrs Airwave Limited and the contract is in the sum of $18.12m of foreign component. There is also local component of N3.26bn inclusive of five per cent VAT.

“The review became necessary in order to accommodate VAT which was not included in the initial contract and also due to dispute that we had arisen from exchange rate differential. So, we now have a resolution and an understanding and FEC’s approval for this contract to go on.”

The second contract, according to the minister, was for the design, construction and supply of five ballistic assault boats and five patrol boats with all associated accessories in favour of Messrs CY West African Limited in the sum of N280,992, 888,75 inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT.

She explained, “The Nigerian Customs Service needs these boats to enhance its operational efficiency and combat smuggling activities on our waterways.

“This will also significantly boost revenue collection and other core duties of maritime unit of the Nigerian Customs Service.”

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On his part, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the council approved a policy for the local production of bitumen that is being used for road construction.

He said a significant amount of bitumen being used in road construction in Nigeria was imported, therefore creating jobs abroad.

Fashola said his ministry therefore recommended to the council to approve a directive to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Mines and Steel to develop strategies to enhance, stimulate, and encourage local production of bitumen.

He said, “That policy recommendation was approved by the council today to encourage bitumen production locally in Nigeria.”

According to him, this will help to further diversify the economy and open another sub-sector of the extractive and hydro-carbon industry for local opportunities.

The FEC also approved the establishment of a N75bn youth investment fund.

The Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare, disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the end of the council’s meeting.

The minister said the fund, which he described as “youth bank” was to support youth enterprise among Nigeria’s 68 million youths between ages of 18 and 35.

Qualified candidates, he said, would have access to the funds.

The minister said further details on the scheme would be released later.

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