From Basil Obasi, Abuja
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator , yesterday threw more light on the proposed presidential emergency economic recovery bill being sought by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that it would guarantee timely action by the Presidency whenever prevailing circumstances make prompt decisions compelling.
The minister, who spoke through his media aide, Mr. James Akpandem, explained that the emergency power being sought by the President was in line with his government’s philosophy of pulling the economy out of recession by spending huge amounts of money on infrastructure.
According to him, part of the provisions in the bill seek to authorise the President to abridge the procurement process to permit the government to fast-track the award of important contracts and projects without being encumbered by existing legislation.
He said the aim was to empower local contractors who should, in return, employ Nigerians to execute these projects.
Udoma said: “Currently, contracts need to be advertised for several weeks before they are awarded and the President is saying he doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for about two months before giving out an important job. For sometime now, General Electric (GE) sought to acquire our old rail line and use it for freight transport; they came with money, which we accepted considering the advantages across the agricultural and export value chain in the country, but the procurement procedure stalled the process from being our immediate help in time of need.”
The budget and planning minister noted that in a period like this, emergency power was very crucial. “What we need is a pragmatic and result-driven process that would ensure speedy action to get the country on track for sustainable economic growth and development,” he said.
Power: FG to provide stable power for varsities
From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Federal Government is set to leverage on off-grid Independent Power Projects and Public Private Partnership structures to provide stable power for 40 federal universities.
Government explained that the projects would be environment-friendly with little or no carbon emission.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, and his Power, Works and Housing counterpart, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this in Abuja yesterday at an interactive session with vice chancellors and directors of physical planning of all the 40 federal universities. They said the project would be achieved through the platform of Energising Education Programme Initiative initiated by the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Folashade Yemi- Esan, Malam Adamu expressed hope that the project would achieve its desired objectives, which is to provide uninterrupted power supply to all the federal universities through the utilisation of off-grid Independent Power Projects.
He solicited the support and collaboration of the vice chancellors and other stakeholders to ensure hitch-free execution of the project.
The minister also encouraged the institutions to train students, especially those in the Faculty of Engineering, on how to utilise various energy sources in their respective departments.
On his part, Fashola, who was represented by Minister of State, Alhaji Mustapha Baba Shehuri, challenged all stakeholders to support the project in order to permanently solve the issue of power outage in universities.
FCT: FCT gets land use, allocation committee
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muhammad Bello, has constituted the Land Use and Allocation Committee (LUAC) in line with the provisions of the Land Use Act, 1978.
Speaking while receiving the commandant of the National Defence College (NDC), Rear Admiral Sunday Alade, in Abuja, yesterday, Bello said the 12-member Land Use and Allocation Committee was to be chaired by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye.
A report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said the committee is expected to identify land available for possible allocation within the territory and process requests.
The committee is also expected to advise the minister on matters connected to the management of land as well as resettlement of persons affected by the revocation of rights of occupancy, he said.
Furthermore, the committee would determine land disputes and the amount of compensation payable for improvement on land.
The minister said that the committee would ensure equity, transparency and due process in all land allocation in the territory.
He identified members of the committee to include the General Counsel/Secretary, Legal Services Secretariat; Secretary, Area Council Services Secretariat and Director of Engineering Services.
Also in the committee are directors, resettlement and compensation; urban and regional planning; survey and mapping as well as Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS).
EDUCATION: NIPC to facilitate FG’s ‘Education-for-Change’
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has pledged to facilitate the recent ‘Education-for-Change’ initiative launched by the Federal Government.
According to a statement by Mr. Joel Attah, the commission’s head of Media and Protocol, the decision to spearhead the campaign was necessitated by its recent launch by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu.
Attah was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) as saying that the launch of the programme revealed the financing needs of the education sector as well as the need to open it up for domestic and foreign direct investments while deepening the Nigerian education market.
Disclosing that the forum earlier scheduled from September 26-28, 2016, would now hold between November 1 and November 3, 2016, at the Calabar International Convention Centre, he said: “The forum has been shifted owing to the groundswell of activities as well as broad-based interest. It will also ensure an inclusive, strategic and impactful platform with the participation of sectoral stakeholders.”
Attah said the commission’s Education Sector Investment Promotion Initiatives would address the core challenges and framework being created to accelerate reforms by enabling a convergence of education sector stakeholders.
Customs: Customs, FRSC, FIRS partner to stop vehicle smuggling
The Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have forged a partnership on a project to ensure that duties are paid on all vehicles imported into Nigeria before registration to shore up revenue of the country.
The Customs Public Relations Officer, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja that the objective of the collaboration was to shore up the revenue base of the country and stop vehicle smuggling.
He said that the meeting of the heads of the agencies was to fashion out the modalities on the implementation of the project.
According to him, the collaboration is in response to the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari that government agencies should think out of the box to enhance the revenue base of the country.
Adeniyi said: “This project involves high level collaboration among the three agencies to ensure that no vehicle will be registered unless verification of duty payment is made.
“There will be one-shop verification facilities, and officers who will be deployed to state licence offices. These officers will be able to check the system and confirm payment before such applicants are directed to the licencing authority for vehicle registration.”