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Nigeria Approves Committee to Sell, Repurpose Abandoned Properties

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Nigeria’s federal government has approved the setting up of a committee to review, repurpose, privatise or transfer ownership of abandoned and uncompleted government buildings across the country.

This was one of the resolutions arrived on Wednesday, at the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held in Abuja and was presided over by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, who said he presented four memoranda on behalf of agencies under the Ministry, pointed out that two of the memoranda were on behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service, both targeted at making the work environment conducive for officers and men of the service.

He said the team to assess the abandoned properties, known as Council on the National Capital Projects Information System, would be chaired by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

According to him: “The memo I presented had to do with approval for the creation of a database of National Capital Projects Information System of Government and what this project seeks to take care of is the increasing number of abandoned and uncompleted projects that we have all over the place, which is turning out to be a major drain of funds and represent a waste of the nation’s budget and scarce resources.

“So Council approved the setting up of a team; Council on the National Capital Projects Information System, which involves the key infrastructure ministries. This team will be headed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

“They are to look at and prioritise funds selected projects on a yearly basis for completion. Look at the possibility of maybe privatising some of the projects or transfer of ownership to either state or local government, how to repurpose the projects for alternative use, or completely abandon or dismantle the project and treat those as a sunk cost,” he further explained.

The federal government also approved over N14.8 billion for the construction of a new office block and parking lot for the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Speaking on the new office for FIRS, the Minister of State said when completed, the office complex, which would be located at 17b, Awolowo Road, Lagos, would save the service about N4 billion that it pays on rented property.

He revealed that the 12-storey building would also alleviate the traffic problems that the old FIRS office causes in the area.

His words: “I also presented a memo to Council for which we obtained approval for the award of contract for the construction of a new Federal Inland Revenue Service office, with parking lots, at 17B, Awolowo Road in Lagos.

“This contract was awarded in favor of Messrs. CCBCC Nigeria Limited, at a total cost of N14,880,887,805.80, inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT, with a completion period of 24 months.

“The construction of this building will save the Federal Inland Revenue Service about N4 billion yearly rent that they have been paying and it will also help the Lagos state government to reduce traffic congestion along Awolowo Road and the adjoining roads.

“The building is to be sited in the premises already owned by FIRS, so there is no purchase of land involved. The property measures 11,857 square meters,” he said.

On the memoranda presented on behalf of the Customs Service, Agba said “one of the other memos I submitted had to do with the Nigeria Customs Service and there was approval for the award of contract for the purchase of property at Mumbai Estate, which is on Plot 21 Cadastral Zone E 23.

“This has to do with the welfare of the Customs officers. Provision of residential accommodation, like you know, is a major incentive for officers and men towards improving their efficiency and productivity. Some of these officers are currently residing in hotels, some stay back in their offices and we think that that is not too good enough.

“So, the service intends to purchase an asset consisting of 274 housing units, which are categorized as follows: 128 units of three bedroom flats, 96 units of two bedroom flats, and 50 units of three-bedroom terrace duplexes and this is in favor of Messrs. Mobi Estate and Properties Limited, to the sum of N14.40 5 billion.

“The last memo for which we obtained approval, again was also for Customs and it’s in favor of three companies; Messrs. Perkins Engineering Limited, Cosgrove Investment Limited and Tranquil Energy Limited and these are basically for purchase of laptops for training and CBT examinations for the Customs Cadets, construction of two numbers 30 rooms, male cadets hostels and one number 30 rooms, female cadets hostel at Customs Training College in Kano and for the supply of 703 laptop computers, with mouse for the training school,” he said.

The Minister of State put the figure for this at N1,568,494,555.

FEC also approved the procurement of medical equipment and furniture for the ongoing construction of one of the prototype Aviation Medical Centers at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja.

Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, who briefed on behalf of the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said, “in other words, we are building Aviation Medical Centers in all the airports and this is the first prototype at Abuja and the contract was approved for the supply of medical equipment and furniture, to the tune of N1,000,684,789.32, with the delivery period of six months and the contractor is Tasodic Sodica Limited.”

Deji Elumoye

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