……FEC considers 37 agenda items in one day
…….Approves multi-billion contracts for roads, Ogoni, others
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council meeting Presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, after seven and half hours approved multi-billion contracts, even as it explains why it was still approved contracts in the twilight of the administration.
The council which considered 37 items on the agenda, insisted that it continue to work until the last day as constitutionally required.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, described Wednesday’s session as quite extraordinary, saying: “It’s been a very long day for everyone, 37 agenda items were considered for today’s meeting. Quite extraordinary.”
Fielding questions on why the administration had waited till late hour before churning out multi-billion naira contracts, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, maintained that the administration will continue to perform its duties to May 28.
He said: “Ladies and gentleman, without any intentions of mischief, this government was elected to function from 2019 to precisely 29th of May 2023. Should we now stop functioning one month before the next appointment because we’re coming to the end of the tenure?
“This government must work. We expect the next government to also work until the very last day of their tenure.”
Throwing more light on why several contracts were approved, the Minister of Water Resources, Sulaiman Adamu, explained that contracted processes take time, saying that even if the administration cannot finish what it has started, adding that government is a continuum, it will be the business of the incoming government to continue.
He said: “If I may add, there are processes and this process has started. We’re still operating the 2022 budget, we have agencies…These things are not just done in one day. We had lots of submissions to BPP (Bureau for Public Procurement) to ICRC (Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission) all the agencies involved in the procurement, and they have to get ready.
“So, anytime they’re ready, it’s at that point that we have to submit. And like the Minister of Transportation said, we’re still in office technically until the 28th of May.
“So, we still have to operate. And this is the instruction that we have from Mr. President.
“Since the elections were conducted, that government must continue to function regardless of elections and so on. And so we’re just doing our duty as we should serve in the country.
“We do not control the process, but when it’s completed and we’re still in office, we’re duty-bound to bring these memos to Council for Council to approve. Government is a continuum. There are still a lot of memos.
“I can assure you a lot of contracts will not see the light of day in the next one week or two. And for those, we don’t have any option but to let the process continue. And then for the next government to come and continue. That’s what we face also.
“Some of the very first memos we brought to council in 2015, for me, I had no idea when they started, but I had to be briefed on, this was the the way that it had to be and then we were brought in here. So, government is a continuum. And it should be seen as such.
“And I think this administration should be given that full credit because, to a large extent, we have continued since 2015, to implement projects and programs that we didn’t initiate that which, in our assessment, were good for the country. We continued them, we didn’t jettison them, and we’re confident that the incoming administration will do the same.”
Meanwhile, the Council has announced the introduction of three key policies aimed at driving economic growth and attracting domestic and international investors.
These policies include the Nigeria Investment Policy (2023-2027), the Nigeria Automotive Industry Development Plan (2023-2033), and the Trade Policy of Nigeria (2023-2027).
The Minister of Trade and Investment highlighted the significance of these policies in stimulating investment, strengthening the automotive sector, and enhancing trade, with the ultimate goal of bolstering the nation’s economy and increasing revenue.
“Prior to the introduction of these policies, Nigeria lacked a comprehensive investment policy, leaving room for improvement in attracting investments.
“The newly introduced Nigeria Investment Policy (2023-2027) aims to address this gap by creating a favorable business environment and providing incentives to attract both domestic and international investors. This policy is expected to stimulate sustainable economic growth and diversification across various sectors, fostering job creation and technological advancement.
Automotive Industry Development Plan (2023-2033) is designed to revitalize the automotive sector within the country. By attracting global automakers, promoting local production, and encouraging research and development, Nigeria aims to position itself as a regional hub for automobile manufacturing and assembly. The plan seeks to generate employment opportunities, facilitate technology transfer, and reduce the nation’s reliance on imported vehicles.
“In parallel, the Trade Policy of Nigeria (2023-2027) focuses on enhancing trade activities and increasing revenue. The government aims to diversify Nigeria’s export base and expand its export markets by removing trade barriers, improving trade infrastructure, and creating an enabling environment for export-oriented industries. This policy is expected to contribute to economic growth and improve the balance of trade.
“The introduction of these policies signifies the Nigerian government’s commitment to driving economic transformation and attracting investments to the country. By implementing strategic initiatives across various sectors, the government aims to unlock the nation’s vast potential and create an environment conducive to business growth.
“These policies provide a clear roadmap for potential investors, signaling the government’s long-term vision and commitment to sustainable economic development. The Nigeria Investment Policy presents opportunities for investment in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, and technology.
“The Nigeria Automotive Industry Development Plan holds the promise of job creation, technology transfer, and the development of a local automotive supply chain. The government’s focus on attracting global automakers is expected to stimulate investments and contribute to the growth of the manufacturing sector.
“The Trade Policy of Nigeria aims to facilitate trade and boost export activities, leading to increased revenue generation and economic stability. By streamlining trade processes, improving infrastructure, and expanding market access, the government seeks to create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive in domestic and international markets.
“With the introduction of these policies, the Nigerian government is taking proactive steps towards driving economic development, attracting investments, and promoting sustainable growth. It is expected that effective implementation of these strategies will unlock Nigeria’s immense
potential and position the country as a regional economic powerhouse in the years to come.”
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