Cabinet approves N1.2bn for Customs barracks

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja.


The Federal Executive Council has approved the sum of N1.2billion naira for the acquisition of additional 81 units of two-bedroom residences for customs officers in Abuja.

Minister of State for Finance, Kemi Adeosun, stated this while briefing State House correspondents on Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Adeosun said the housing units would be bought from a developer, Brains and Hamas City.

The Finance Minister said the approval for the customs barracks was one of the two sought on behalf of the Nigeria Customs and Exercise Department at the meeting.

The other was for the purchase of 50 operational vehicles that would be “deployed for anti-smuggling or anti-rice smuggling task force that is being put together, which customs will be leading.”

Protecting farmers
He said this was imperative for Nigeria’s effort to become major rice producer, which has resulted in the revival of local rice growing.

“What we have found is 90 per cent reduction in the official import of rice but smuggling has increased and of course, our borders are very, very porous,” she said.

Adeosun said the approval was aimed at protecting farmers and their investments.

“So, there is a multi-task force agency that has been working since last July which includes customs, NAFDAC, the Consumer Protection Council, the Ministry of Finance, the Trade Mark Practices Bureau, gathering information on how this rice is coming in,” she stated.

She said the value of the 50 vehicles was N1.12 billion.

Scorecard of Power, Works and Housing
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said he gave account for the approvals given to his ministry since 2015, totaling 66.

He said the approvals covered roads, power and housing projects across Nigeria.

He said, “Some of the topical ones were the progress of works ‎on the Katsina Wind Mill, the Kaduna 216 mwt power plant, the Afam 240mwt plant, and of course the Mambilla 3,060mwt hydro power plant, and the project to evacuate the Ajura 459mwt power plant,” It also covers federal secretariat in states like Gombe, Zamfara, Bayelsa, Ekiti and of course the Zik Mausoleum in Anambra.”

He also said that his ministry reported about the state of the pilot housing projects that is also going on in 33 states.

Over 69,000 jobs created
Fashola said the approvals given to his ministry resulted in the creation of 69, 736 jobs.

“Our report also dealt with the short, medium and long term impact of these approvals vis a vis the budget implementation for 2016 and 2017, and our report showed that the implementation of these projects had led to 69,736 jobs,” he said.

He said most of the jobs were those largely lost in the construction industry before the advent of the Buhari administration.

He stated further that the approvals have “also helped to revitalise the mining sector. Up until quarter two of the 2017 the mining sector has suffered nine consecutive quater losses.”

He said it was the impact of these projects and the implementation of 2015 and 2016 budgets that have seen to the return of growth to that sector producing largely limestone, granite and sand for construction companies.

Lateefah Ibrahim