FEC Approves N970.2m Contract For Provision Of Barracks For Customs

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the sum of N970.2 million for the proving of residential accommodation for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The meeting lasted late into in the night.

Ahmed said that the accommodation was important because the Nigeria Customs Service  , being a para-military organisation, was trying to ensure that its members of staff were kept in barracks.

“The Nigeria Customs got approval today for acquisition of residential accommodation for the staff of the service.

“What the Customs is acquiring is an estate that has a total of 42 flats and the total cost is N152 million per block of six units.

“The approval that we got today is in the total sum of N970.2 million inclusive of VAT.”

She said that the NCS, in its desire to upgrade its services to international best practice in information and communication, also got an approval to procure modern communication gadgets.

She listed some of the gadgets as HF radios, BHF radios, walkie takies , cable towers and accessories.

The minister said that the gadgets were necessary for the Nigeria Customs to enhance its end to end encryption of messages delivery to avoid tapping by unscrupulous elements, smugglers and their cohorts.

“The need has become necessary because of increased onslaught by the service on smuggling and other illegal economic activities.

“The contract that was approved is in the total sum of N247.907 million inclusive of five per cent VAT and the equipment will be delivered within a period of eight weeks.’’

President Muhammadu Buhari has conveyed to the Senate his decision to withdraw assent to the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority Bill.

In a letter read by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at plenary on Wednesday, President Buhari gave reasons for withholding assent to the billThe decision brings to over 30, the number of bills rejected by Mr Buhari since the inauguration of the 8th Senate.

His reasons for rejecting the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority Bill borders on funding and overlap of functions.

The letter reads, “The comprehensive definition of the Nigeria Inland Waterways covers virtually all rivers, lakes and lagoons irrespective of the location of the body. The bill contradicts provisions of the constitution which limits the power of the National Assembly to make laws in relation to water from sources affecting more than one state of inland waterways which has been declared to be an international waterway or inter-state waterway.

“The bill as currently drafted subject the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Environment and Nigeria Ports Authority to the supervision of the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority.

“The funding provision of the bill which seeks to appropriate 25 per cent of the ports development levy annually, 15 per cent of the ecological fund annually and 1 per cent of the funds accruable to the federal government for oil and gas within the cleared waterways and the right of way and 2.5 per cent fees annually paid by companies operating power plants within waterways are grossly excessive and will negatively affect the revenues of the federal government.”