By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Federal Executive Council, FEC. on Wednesday approved a total of N5.49 billion for revised costing of federal secretariat projects in five states of the federation and a dam project in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the virtual FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fasola explained that the contract for the construction of the federal Secretariat was approved in 2011 for N13. 565 billion.
The Minister said the variation based on the current realities on ground was N3.975 billion for the buildings in five states, thereby increasing the total contract sum to N17.541 billion.
According to him, “What we have is a memo on the public housing side of our ministry. We applied to Council to revise the estimates and total cost of files of 16 contracts because the cost of materials had altered significantly since 2011 when these projects started and we want to complete them and these are the federal secretariat projects in Anambra, Bayelsa, Nasarawa, Osun and Zamfara states.
“The variation was for N3.975 billion total for all the five. They are handled by different contractors, but each one wanted a variation and the total sum of variation came to N3.975 billion and we sought Council’s approval and the approval was granted so the old contract price of N13,565,621,307 has now been increased to N17,541,456,168.
“These secretariats are necessary to enable us to house federal workers in these states. The problem arose from the creation of new states, in assets sharing some of the old states took the whole secretariats, so our staff in those states, across all federal ministries, are either in rented official premises for their work or squatting in state government premises.
“For example, my ministry has Controllers in all the 36 states; Controllers for Works, Controllers for Housing. These are some of the people, apart from other ministries who have staff in those states.
“Council approved this variation and the intention is to enable us to complete the projects. You might recall I briefed you some time last year about approval for the award for the furniture, so all the furniture has been complete, they are in the warehouse, so it’s just for us to complete the buildings now and install them.”
Making clarifications on the approval for the variation, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said,”What was approved today is N3.9 billion, not N17 billion. N17 billion is the total cost of the projects.
“These projects started since 2011 and many of them have reached completion, like Gombe State. Some are in various stages of completion, money has been paid to a certain level. So all that has been approved today was the variation of N3.9 billion, not N17 billion.”
On the rehabilitation of the Lower Usuma Dam Water Treatment Plant Phase Two, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, Mohammed Bello said that Council approved additional N1.5 billion for the project which was initially awarded at the cost of N1,017,979,566.
He said, “In the meeting of today, the council approved a very important infrastructure project for the city of Abuja. And that project is the rehabilitation of Lower Usuma Dam Water Treatment Plant Phase Two at the sum of N1,510,206,066.
“And the contract was awarded to a company calls Cupero Nigeria Ltd with a completion period of 12 months.
“The contract was originally awarded at N1,017,979,566, the additional sum of N1,510,206,066 approved by FEC brings the total contract sum to N2,528,187,633.
” The scope of work entails general rehabilitation, repairs of and replacement of electro-mechanical components and laboratory restoration, rehabilitation of chemical and chlorine buildings, and general civil engineering work.
“As you know, the water treatment plant is a very important infrastructure project. The contact is to rehabilitate that Treatment Plant, which has been in operation for about 30 years. And it fills into Mr President’s agenda of providing needed infrastructure and rehabilitating already existing infrastructure.
“By the time it is done, the Water Treatment Plant will continue to provide service to residents of Federal Capital city of Abuja for maybe another 30 years to come.”