By Ismaila Chafe
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N50 billion for rehabilitation of roads in Taraba and Yobe States as well as the construction of injection substations to boost power supply in Gwarinpa area of the Federal Capital Territory.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that N48.4 billion of the amount was approved for roads in Taraba and Yobe while the remaining N1.6 billion was meant for the FCT electrification project.
The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, revealed this to State House Correspondents at the end of the council’s meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday.
Giving the breakdown of the N48.4 billion, the minister said N29.8 billion was approved as revised cost for the rehabilitation of Yola-Hong-Mubi road and N18 billion was approved for the Yobe State Government as refunds for the construction of federal government roads in the state.
He said: “The Minister of the FCT brought his memo seeking for approval for the upward review of the contract for the construction of two 15 MVA injection substations at Life Camp Gwarinpa, in Abuja.
“In 2015, council approved the contract to supply 15/33 MVA injection substations to improve power supply in Gwarinpa, but regrettably for more than two years the contractors could not access the site due to ownership tussle of the land.
“By the time they later had access, prices went up, dollar appreciated and they came back in 2018 and are coming again today saying that given the population of Gwarinpa now, they need not two but actually three injection substations there and that contract was approved today for the sum of N1,640,406,426.26.”
Also fielding questions from the correspondents, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, dismissed the insinuation that the Federal Government was planning to introduce different salary payment platforms for the trade unions in tertiary institutions.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had insisted on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) it created, claiming that the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) was short changing them.
The federal government had in March said UTAS failed three integrity tests.
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions (NASU) had also recommended Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS) as their own payment platform.
Ngige, however, said: “No employee or worker can dictate to his employer how he or she will be paid.’’
He assured that efforts were on towards resolving the ongoing faceoff between the government and ASUU as well as other university based unions over payment platforms.
He said contrary to insinuations that the government was not engaging with ASUU, there had been series of meetings between all parties with the next one coming up on Thursday. (NAN)