The Federal Government on Wednesday approved contracts totaling about N358bn for roads, bridges and power at a meeting of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari. The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting. Fashola said the council approved contracts totaling N8.9bn for the construction of the Ikom Bridge and roads in Cross River State. The minister explained that the idea behind the contracts was to create access to the ports for trucks. He said the bridge, in its current state, was restricting the movement of trucks.
According to Fashola, the proposed new bridge and roads will help facilitate the activities in the Calabar Port and ease the challenges being faced by the Nigerian Ports Authority. He said the council also approved N11.77bn contract for the Section II of 37km Nguru-Gashua-Benmari Road, with delivery time of 24 months. The third road project, according to him, is the 50km Ilorin-Igbeti-Keshi Road, Section I, in Kwara State, which was awarded at the cost of N8.6bn. Fashola said the FEC also re-awarded the Arochukwu-Ohafia Road, Section I, at the cost of N5.4bn, with a completion period of 20 months.
He stated that the council also approved the procurement of an automated meter reading machine. The contract, which he said was at the request of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, included the installation of equipment and training of engineers, who would operate and maintain the system. The contract, the minister noted, was awarded at the cost of N933.7m. Fashola said, “The purpose is to facilitate remote meter reading of wholesale at the custody and trading points. This is different from remote reading of retailed meters used by consumers like you and I. “The point to be made is that the entire value chain from where gas is produce to where it is fed into the pipes of the Gencos to produce energy, to where that energy is picked up from the transmission company, to the trading points at stations of the distribution companies and the feeders, is entirely metered.
Those are the bulk trading meters that we are talking about. “The challenges that we have is that many of these meters, sizable number of them, still have to be inspected manually to have to be read. And that is the basis for computing the settlement system at the end of the month. That causes delay in accounts settlement.”