…As Ex-ANAN president lauds CBN’s N100bn grant for vaccine production***
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved a memo for the award of N683 million contract, for the purchase of 19 operational Toyota vehicles for Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi stated this while briefing State House correspondents after the virtual FEC meeting anchored from the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“This is the first time in four years that NPA is buying any vehicle and that is why the council said it’s fine.
“These are operational vehicles; they are not for management staff; they are all Toyota vehicles,’’ he said.
The Council also approved a loan facility of 1.2 billion dollars to finance the mechanisation of agriculture in the country.
Mr Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, highlighted this, at the end of a virtual meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The online FEC meeting was in line with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocol on physical distancing as Nigeria strives to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nanono said that the planned mechanisation of agriculture would span across 632 local governments.
“Today, we presented a joint memo with the Federal Ministry of Finance in which we seek the approval for a loan facility of about 950 million Euros translated probably to 1.2 billion dollars.
“This loan is for the purpose of agricultural mechanisation in this country –that will cover about 632 local governments plus 140 processing plants.
“This is going to be a major revolution in the agriculture sector, that we have never seen before,’’ he said.
More so, the Minister of Power, Malam Sale Mamman, said the ministry sought approval for the revised estimated total cost for the augmentation of the subsisting contract in the sum N47.2 million.
He said that the contract was for the provision of additional critical power grid infrastructure for the full evacuation and utilisation of 40mw currently from Kashimbila via Takum-Wukari and Yendev.
“This is to evacuate completely 40 megawatts to the National Grid.
“If it is not evacuated, Nigerian government will lose not less than 130 megawatts of power which is equivalent to almost nine million in a year,’’ he said.
Contributing, Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, said that the critical power evacuation served not just Taraba and Benue but the entire North East.
“Power is something that you cannot store and once it is stranded, it poses a lot of risk.
“It is better for us to get this additional funds so that we evacuate it and then of course, 40 megawatts power will do a lot to improve the lives of many Nigerians,’’ he said.
In a related development, Dr Samuel Nzekwe, former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), has lauded the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) N100 billion grant for the production of coronavirus vaccine in the country.
Nzekwe made this commendation on Wednesday in Ota, Ogun.
The CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday in Abuja, announced N100 billion to support researchers; to produce a homegrown vaccine that would combat COVID-19.
He noted that such support for researchers and scientists was long overdue so as to enable the country to be self-sufficient.
The former ANAN chief said that it would be difficult for Nigeria to grow technically and produce a local vaccine for COVID-19 if we do not have researchers.
“No country can develop without having well-equipped and funded research for development.
“How does the country want to manufacture planes, cars, electrical appliances among others, without huge investment in researches,” he said.
Nzekwe stated that massive investment in research would be given opportunity to enable the country export some of its goods that would enhance the country’s foreign earnings.
He called on the federal government to encourage local researchers and scientists after the COVID-19 so that the country could have immediate solutions to some of its challenges.