The Federal Government on Wednesday approved N1.3 billion contracts to strengthen and reposition its media outfits for effective information dissemination.
The media organisations to benefit from the projects include the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Nigeria Television Authority and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this when he briefed State House Correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister announced the approval of the contracts for the procurement of cameras, television packs and other broadcast equipment at a cost of N283.8 million for the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
He also announced sum of N148.7 million for the procurement of 15 Peugeot vehicles for the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He added that N873.5 million was approved for the procurement of twelve 10 Kilowatts FM transmitters and three Outside Broadcast Vans for the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).
He went further to give the breakdown of the FRCN contracts as N561million for the twelve 10 kilowatts transmitters, and N311 million for the three Outside Broadcast Vans.
The minister also explained that the last upgrade of equipment at the NTA took place more than a decade ago.
“It is significant to note that in the last 20 years, only twice that attempts have been made to upgrade the equipment of the NTA.
“The first attempt was in 1999 during the FIFA Under-20 World Cup and the last was in 2009 when Nigeria hosted the FIFA Under-17 World Cup ,’’ he said.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, who also spoke on the outcome of the Council’s meeting, disclosed that N1.4 billion was approved by the council for the award of contract for the design of the Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR) head office in Abuja.
He said that the contract was awarded to Messers Arteck Practice Limited to design a 12 floor building on a plot already allocated to it by the FCT administration.
According to the minister, DPR is currently based in Lagos and operates as the regulatory and supervisory arm of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and is also instrumental in terms of income generation.
He said that the design was to start the process of moving the agency to Abuja.
On whether the amount was not too much for design of a building, Kachikwu said that the contract sum was the lowest of the bids.
“The highest bid was about N3 billion; the total projected potential cost for the building when it is done is about N35 billion.
“So if you look at that as a percentage of the work, it is absolutely insignificant, in international terms it is very justifiable, it is less than two per cent.
“The FCT did mention in our deliberation that because of the new zoning policies, the previous plan which was to build a car park of another five floors along with the 12 floors has to be changed a little bit because they are taking possession of additional green area that were assigned to them.
“So they will build a lot of parking institute within the building. So, I think because of the amount of work to be done and in line with international practice, it is quite frankly very reasonable.’’
Kachikwu said that part of the programmes the ministry had pursued was to get a lot of our parastatals to become independent and self financing generating agency in order to get out of federal budget.
He said that the Nigerian Content Development Management Board (NCDMB) had done that while DPR would be the next to do that.
The minister said that the funding for the design would come out of DPR itself not out of federal budgeting.
“The plan is that if we continue the way we are doing, a lot of federal agencies will be out of federal budgeting and be self reliant.
“ Be it PPPRA, DPR, Petroleum Equalisation Fund(PEF), that is the game plan.
“So far, we have exited NCDMB and we are near exiting DPR and then PEF,’’ he said
On his part, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said FEC approved the award of contract to engage a Programme Management Office Consultant and System Provider, for the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme(GEEP) at the cost of N1.55 billion
He said that the contract which was for the provision of services for 4.6 million people was a viable contract.
Enelamah said that the programme had provided credit for over 1.5 million Nigerians
The minister said that FEC also approved the establishment of a committee to come up with alternative ways to add to what government was doing in financing infrastructure.
“It will be a committee of ministers and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Africa Finance Corporation and some private sector players to serve in the committee with Minister of Trade and investment as Chair of committee, Minister of Finance.
“Others are Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Minister Transportation, Minister of Water Resources and Minister of State for Aviation.
“Obviously government cannot do it alone and will like to partner with others and it is expected to be done as part of the concluding work of this administration,” he said.