Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The 19th virtual Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved Nigeria’s contribution of $2 million to the 2020 budget of the West African Power Pool (WAPP).
Minister of Power, Saleh Mamma made the disclosure at the end of the meeting held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The specialized pool covers 14 of the 15 countries of the regional economic community (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra.
The West African Power Pool (WAPP) was created by a decision at the 22nd Summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government in 1999.
At the 29th Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held in Niamey, in 2006, it adopted the Articles of Agreement for WAPP organization and functions.
According to Saleh who briefed alongside his colleagues, Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami and Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said participation in the regional market will generate immediate foreign exchange for Nigeria as oil revenue is dwindling.
He said: “The pool is about having synergy within the West African region. The decision has been taken by ECOWAS, it’s for the generation of electricity of the region, so as to have more constant and steady power supply. It’s like the national grid in Nigeria, so we are going to have regional grid. It means in case there is a failure in one country, another can supplement. The $2 million is a contribution.”
Also commenting, Mohammed said: “The West African power pool is made up of all west African countries because each member state contributes annually to the cost of power transmission across the pool. Because, the consequence is that if there is a problem in one country it could inadvertently affect the other country.
“This was created in 1999 by authorities of the West African Heads of State. It’s a common pool and every country has its own section and our contribution for this year is $2 million. It’s not as if we are giving $2 million to ECOWAS, we are simply paying our own contribution for the transmission from Nigeria to other wear African countries and viz-visa.”
The Minister of Information, Mohammed, said council approved over N30 billion for roads in Kano and Lagos, presented by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
It approved the sum of N22,247,332,000 for the award of contract for the reconstruction of the Apapa-Oworonsoki-Ojota Phase Section II, an 8.1kilometer stretch road.
It also approved N8 billion augmentation for the award of contract for the dualisation of Kano-Maiduguri road (about 560 kilometers).
Mohammed said: “I want to report that he presented a memo which was approved in council today for the award of a contract for the reconstruction of the Apapa-Oworonsoki-Ojota Phase Section II, which is bit land Interchange, 8.1 kilometer stretch. You will recall that in 2018, the Federal Government approved an award of contract to Dangote Industry for the sum of N72 billion. By the time the award was made, there was this Section of the road that was in fairly good condition. But with the construction of the Oworonsoki project coming to an end, it now makes better sense to include that section which was fairly good.
“This contract was awarded today for the sum of N22,247,332,000. But you must know that this is one of the projects being awarded under Infrastructural Tax Credit Scheme. In other words, it is awarded to Dangote and Dangote will will construct it and over the years, it will be deducted from the tax payable by the group. It is one of various means of PPP that this administration has embraced. It is not only restricted to Oworonsoki-Apapa road, it is the same system that is being used in Obajana-Kaba road. Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) is also using the same formula for the bridge to link Bonny and Boro in Rivers State.
“Another memo which he presented was for the award of contract for the dualisation of Kano-Maiduguri road. That is Section One. That is Kano-Wudil-Shuarin section. This is about 560 kilometers contract between Kano and Maiduguri. The section awarded today is actually more of approval for an estimated total cost. They found out that at the time of the award of the contract, certain conditions have to be known. He sought for a revision and an increment in the sum of N8 billion which will bring the total cost of the contract to N63 billion. It was approved by council today.”
Minister of Transportation, Amaechi, said council the sum of N1,208,335,464.60, inclusive of 7.5% tax for the supply, deployment, installation, testing and commissioning of security equipment for seven railway stations.
The stations are mainly Idu, Rigasa, Jere, Kubwa, Kaduna and Kano in favour of Messrs Avonics Services Nigeria Limited, with a completion period of 12 months.
The Director General for Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP), Mamman Ahmadu, said council approved the sum of N1.6 billion for e-government procurement.
He explained: “E-government procurement has the potential of improving procurement process, eliminate corruption and reduce the leak time in the procurement process itself. There have been a lot of complaints about the long time it takes to go through the due process. With the establishment of this, we will reduce that time.
“It also removes subjectivity from the process. There have been lots of complaints about subjectivity in the approval process, that will be dealt with squarely when it is eventually launched.
“E-government procurement is a global trend and from the research carried out by the World Bank, it had been established that countries that have taken off with e-government procurement have witnessed exponential economic growth and and they have stimulated ICT in those countries.
“It will reduce corruption to the barest minimum because it will reduce the human interface within the process.”
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said council approved the national policy on virtual engagements in federal public institutions.
It’s a joint memorandum between Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
Pantami said: “In January 2020 as we all know, the world had been taken by surprise with the emergence of COVID-19 in which the World Health Organization declared it as a global health challenge. By 11th March 2020, WHO declared it as a pandemic and that COVID-19 has disrupted the world and the way we conduct our activities and now virtual engagements are becoming the new normal.
“It is because of this that we came up with a memo that will institutionalize virtual engagements in federal public institutions in order to make sure that even after COVID, virtual engagement is recognized by the Federal Government of Nigeria as a medium of communication. It is because of this we came up with this memo.”