Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has approved contracts worth N4.26 billion, which cuts across petroleum, investment programme and information gadgets.
The meeting, which lasted over six hours, approval of N1.4 billion for the design of the headquarters of the Department of Petroleum Resources ( DPR) in Abuja, the sum of N1.56 billion to hire empowerment programme consultant and N1.3 billion for broadcast equipment, vehicles for Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, while briefing State House Correspondents in company of his counterparts from the Ministry of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said the award of the contract was part of efforts to relocate the headquarters of DPR from Lagos to Abuja.
Kachikwu, who said the entire building of 12 floors will cost N35 billion, also said the contract will be funded by DPR as part of government’s game plan to ensure parastatals and agencies are self-financing and are exited from federal budgeting in the nearest future.
The minister said, “FEC approved N1. 4 billion for the design of DPR head office in Abuja. The contract was awarded to Messers Arteck Practice Limited to design a 12-floor building at a plot which has already been allocated to them by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“They are currently based in Lagos and are the regulatory and supervisory arm of the Ministry of Petroleum, and is instrumental in terms of income generation. It will enable DPR move to Abuja.”
Asked if N1.4 billion was not too much to design a building, Kachikwu said that was the lowest bid while the highest bid was over N3 billion.
He said, “the contract was awarded to DPR tenders board, their bid was the lowest, 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 justifiable, it is less than two per cent.
“The FCT did mention in our deliberations 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 because they are taking possession of additional green area that were assigned to them. So they will build a lot of parking spaces within the building. So I think because of the amount of work to be done and in line with international practice, it is quite reasonable.
“Let me also say that part of the programmes we have pursued in the ministry is how to get a lot of our parastatals to become independent and self-financially generating agencies and so get out of federal budget. Nigeria Content Development Management Board (NCDMB) has done that, DPR is the one to do that next. So a lot of funding for this development is going to come out of DPR itself not out of federal budgeting.”