The Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a N29.4 billion contract to be awarded for rehabilitation of the “tricky, steep and dangerous” 15-kilometre 9th Mile section of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, made the disclosure to State House correspondents at the end of the almost seven hours meeting. He said the contract, which involved redesigning of the road to manage persistent erosion and other challenges, was retrieved from an earlier contractor for incompetent execution and now awarded to RCC construction firm, already handling the remaining stretch of the highway. Fashola said: “We had one memorandum in respect of the 9th Mile section of the Enugu-Onitsha Highway just to disengage the contractor who was previously handling that 15 kilometre section and award it to the contractor that now has the majority of the rout, which is RCC.
That section was determined and approved for re-award to RCC so we now have a wholesome strategy to complete that road. “Of course, the 9th Mile section, as you might know, is a very tricky, difficult area: very steep, dangerous, a point of many accidents before, so we have to change the design and do a lot of other alterations in quality to ensure now that we manage, not only the erosion there, but that very good work is done. “So Council approved that in favour of Messrs RCC for the sum of N29.4 billion. It’s rolled into the existing contract, which I think was for 24 months.”
Meanwhile, the FEC committee on implementation of newly-increased Value Added Tax (VAT) presented its report for approval. The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu explained that all government contracts awarded and signed for before the February 1, 2020 commencement date will retain five percent, while those awarded after that date will attract 7.5 percent new VAT rate. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, also presented the ministry’s scorecard to the FEC, in continuation of assessment of ministers ordered by the president.
Nanono said the council also approved N13.9 billion on pest control, animal diseases like rabies, lungs and liver diseases as well as Quella birds in the North East. He said: “We had one memorandum from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and that was on pest control, animal diseases like rabies, lungs and liver diseases as well as Quella birds, especially in the Nlnortheastern part of the country. “There are 12 frontline states that are being affected by Quella birds, grasshoppers and those that have been pestering us. “The prevalence of rabies in the country has risen quite substantially; in fact in some cases, we have recorded some deaths. The Federal Government has taken a serious look at it and has approved intervention fund of about N13.9 billion for this.”