The Federal Government has begun plans to construct a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) which met on Wednesday approved N1.6bn consultancy services and the design of the runway for construction.
The virtual meeting was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
The Minister or Aviation, Hadi Sirika, told reporters after the session that the contract went to a consortium of consultants comprising foreigners and Nigerians.
The minister stated that the contract sum included seven per cent of VAT and an exchange rate for the dollar component of $360 to one.
He gave details, “What I want you assure the public is that a lot of work has been done in this procurement of consultancy services.
“It will be fast-tracked and it is the intention of the ministry to conclude before the end of the year, so that the balance of money that we have in the budget, we can appoint a contractor and commence the construction of the second runway, we hope to conclude the second runway if awarded before the end of the life of this administration.”
The FEC also approved N148.1bn as reimbursement to five states for funds they spent repairing federal roads in their jurisdictions.
The beneficiaries are; Cross River, N18.3bn; Ondo, N7.8bn; Osun, N2.4bn; Bayelsa, N38.040bn; and Rivers, N78.9bn.
According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who spoke on the reimbursement, the council warned that henceforth, any state that embarked on such projects without the prior approval of the federal government would not get a refund.
The minister added, “You will recall that in 2016, 36 states of the federation sent a very huge bill to the federal government, asking for compensation for money that they had expended on federal roads. This prompted Mr. President to set up a committee to go and verify the claims of these 36 states, whether indeed these projects were actually constructed, were they completed, in line with the federal government standards.
“At the end of that exercise by an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the minister of works and housing but also had ministers of education, transportation, finance, minister of state go works, DG BPP and permanent secretary cabinet office as members.
“At the end of that exercise, the committee recommended that the federal government should refund N550,364,297.31 billion to 31 of the 36 states, after they were convinced that, yes indeed, the projects were completed and there were federal government roads.
“But the claims of five other states; Cross River, Rivers, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun, failed on the grounds that they did not do proper documentation and they committee felt they needed proper documentation.
“So, the committee went back with a new terms of reference to ensure that the claims of the five states were in order. That is why the BPP is on the committee. So at the end of the exercise, the committee now reported that the five states – Cross River with 20 roads and one bridge, will get a refund of N18,394,737,608.85; Ondo with six roads to get a refund of N7,822,147,577.08; and Osun with two roads and one bridge to get a refund of N2,468,938,876.78.
“Others are Bayelsa with five roads and one bridge is to get a refund of N38, 040,564,783.40; and Rivers with three roads and three flyovers is to get a refund of N78, 953,067,518.29.”