Sunday Ode, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari will on Friday chair a special session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to deliberate and approve the 2019 Budget.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina disclosed this Wednesday after the weekly FEC meeting presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Adesina said the FEC meeting is expected to put finishing touches to the budget after which it will be forwarded as Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly.Its being suggested that President Buhari may present the budget to the National Assembly next week.
Adesina said “On Friday, by 10:30am there is going to be a special session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The intention is to look at the budget, get the proposals approved by the FEC and then it will be transmitted to the National Assembly. So, that happens on Friday by 10am.
There have been concerns that the President may not present the budget to NASS this year but with FEC approval on Friday, there are indications that the legislature will get the budget before going on their Christmas recess.
Recall that FEC, in October approved the 2019-2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategic Paper, FSP .FEC also approved a budget proposal of N8.73 trillion for the 2019 fiscal year which is about N400 billion lower than that of 2018.
Meanwhile,during his briefing, minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola disclosed that FEC has approved N1.6bn for the Osegudu-Uweto road, which is a bridge that links the North and South of Nigeria.
According to him “We had only one memorandum and it was just a cost review memorandum really; to approve cost variations on Osegudu-Uweto road. That road, as you might know, links the Loko-Uweto road, which is now substantially completed.
“The Usegudu-Uweto road links the road to that bridge on the Benue side that helps connect Nasarawa from the Loko side to Benue.
“The importance of the Loko-Uweto road, which we have substantially now completed is that it is the bridge that links the North and South of Nigeria. Unlike the old Niger Bridge and the Second Niger Bridge, which link the East and the West.
“Linking the bridge reduces journey time from that part of the country and the eastern part of Nigeria, especially people who link through Makurdi, Enugu and all of that coming to Abuja, it would reduce their journey time by a couple of about few days that it currently takes.
He further explained that the revision for that contract was N1.6bn extra because the contract was awarded using 2010 rates and the contractor asked for review to cushion cost and naira depreciations and council approved that.He said the initial cost of the bridge was about N7.9 and then they had a variation of about N1.6 that takes it to N9.5.
“The contractor is on site working and he would feel comforted now that at least his rates has been improved and expect that his certificate would be paid,” he stated.
On his part, minister of transportation,Rotimi Amaechi said the council approved N551million for the building of a national freight office in Jibia,Katsina State.
“We awarded the national freight office in Jibia for the sum of N551,810,060 million and the contract is to last to 36 weeks. You know that the national freight office is usually located at border post. So, the border post between Katsina and Niger Republic. That is where it is located,” he added.
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