The Federal Government, on Monday, in Abuja, approved the total sum of N19.24bn for the training of 50,000 non-graduate N-power beneficiaries and the procurement of taxiway lighting system in the Port Harcourt, Lagos and Abuja airports.
The sum also covers consultancy services for the Dadin Kowa 40MW power project in Gombe State and the furnishing of the 10-storey headquarters of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency located in Victoria Island, Lagos.
The Ministers of Humanitarian Affairs, Social Development and Disaster Management, Sadiya Farouk, and her counterparts in the Ministries of Aviation, Education and Water Resources, revealed this to journalists after an extraordinary meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House, Abuja.
In March 2023, FG had approved the engagement of four of its agencies to train 50,000 Non-Graduate N-Power beneficiaries for nine months. They include the National Institute of Transport Technology, Industrial Training Fund, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism and the Hydraulic Equipment Development Institute.
Farouk said “The other memo is submitted, which is to seek Council’s approval for the engagement of four federal agencies for the training of the non-graduates N-Power beneficiaries. This is in the total sum of N14.21bn with 7.5% as VAT.”
She added that the life skills acquisition programme had been on since the inception of the N-Power programme in 2016 as the third batch begin training soon.
“We’re now in Batch C of that programme. And we have received a report from these agencies of what we have done thus far and we are very satisfied with them. We have engaged them again and this is what we brought to the Council for approval and it graciously approved,” said the Minister.
Farouk added that the council approved a policy on the homegrown school feeding programme. An initiative she said has reduced the number out-of-school children nationwide.
Although silent about the actual figures, she expressed hope that Nigeria’s out-of-school population would be drastically reduced by 2030.
“One memo we presented today is a policy on the national home-grown school feeding programme which is a food-based and cost effective programme widely used around the world.
“This is under the national social investment programme. It is an important aspect of that programme because it seeks to address issues of education, health, social protection and agriculture.
“It also seeks to address the issue of out-of-school children. Recall that this programme feeds primary one, two and three pupils in schools daily and in fact, we have witnessed significant school enrollment nationwide,” Farouk explained.
She said the programme has provided significant socio-economic relief to poor and vulnerable households, encouraging them to allow their children to attend school.
‘So this policy is the guiding document that is supposed to guide the activities and enhance this program delivery for a period of time. Hopefully, between now and 2030 we should be able to get all our children that are out of school back to school,” she said.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, revealed that the council approved the full business case for the establishment of an aviation leasing company and the sum of N3.05bn for taxiway lighting and other equipment for airports nationwide.
Sirika said, “So today in council, something very significant has happened in the world of civil aviation, part of our roadmap. The Aviation Leasing Company has been established and approved by council.
“Therefore, entrepreneurs and civil aviation will have access to lease equipment at affordable rates and within Nigeria.
“A second memo was for the award of contract for the procurement and installation of taxi lighting system and photometric pattern for Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja airports and some other equipment all over the country.”
He explained that the contract sum for the photometric and taxi lighting system for the airports amounts to N3.05bn with seven and half per cent VAT and to be completed by MSSRS KSR3 Global Nigeria Limited within 12 months.
On his part, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, said the FG approved the sum of N605m as a five-year consultancy fee to supervise the concession of the Dadinkowa 40MW hydropower project.
The independent consultant is appointed to supervise the facility’s operations and income generation.
“It is for the first five years, renewable every five years for a total of 25 years. The amount is N605m for the first five years and then subsequently, based on performance of the consultant, it can be renewed.”
The council also approved another memo to regularise an ongoing lease arrangement with a concessionaire under the auspices of the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority.
The approval extends the initial 10-year lease period of lands to farmers in the River Basin and Gurara, Niger State, to 25 years.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Ademola Adegoroye, revealed that the council approved N1.3bn as furniture costs for the newly-acquired 10-storey building to house the headquarters of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency in Victoria Island, Lagos.
It also approved Nigeria’s implementation of six international maritime organizations’ conventions, treaties and protocols. Adegoroye said although Nigeria had been a signatory to the six treaties, it was yet to fully implement them.
“The FEC approved that memo and also directed the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to present the treaties conventions, all six of them before Mr. President for eventual execution,” he explained.
Also speaking was the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who revealed that the FG approved the establishment 37 new private universities nationwide.
Monday’s approval brings the total number of universities approved for establishment under the Buhari-led government to 72. They include, 14 Federal Universities, 21State Universities and 37 Private Universities from 2015 to date.
Adamu who declined mentioning the names of the newly-approved higher institutions of learning only revealed that one of the 37 was an online university operated by a female Chancellor from Bauchi State.
“One of the universities is an online university by a woman from Bauchi State and this is significant in the sense that we always want to have our women coming forward in education,” he said.
When questioned about the FG’s move to establish more universities despite the ailing public university structure nationwide, Adamu argued that the country needs more universities to school its swelling youth population.
Adamu argued, “As far as I’m concerned, we need more universities. We are still under-University. And if there are universities that are underfunded, they should be funded. It shouldn’t affect new universities that are been established.
“In any case, this one is by the private sector. And I assure you that the regulatory process is such that they will not be established unless they are fully ready for it.