FEC approves N5.6b for 37 COVID-19 oxygen plants

 Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed (left); Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola during Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja…yesterday

The Federal Executive Council (FEC), yesterday, approved the establishment of an oxygen production plant for COVID-19 pandemic intervention in each of the 36 states of the country at N5.6 billion.

This followed the Presidential Steering Committee’s (PSC) announcement to increase oxygen reserve capacity in the event of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who briefed newsmen on behalf of Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, shortly after the meeting, said the approval was to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Minister of Health presented a memorandum, which was approved for emergency supply, installation and maintenance of oxygen production plants and construction of plant houses in each of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

“The contract was approved for N5. 6 billion inclusive of 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT), in favour of four companies, with a completion period of 20 weeks,” he said.

Also speaking on behalf of the Head of Service of the Federation, Mohammed said the FEC approved N9.2 billion as a
the premium for group life insurance of federal civil servants in the country.

“This is part of Federal Government’s welfare programme for public employees so that in the event of death, they are assured of compensation,” he added.

On the approval of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, he said the council also approved N18.1 billion for the infrastructure development at the Kano and Calabar Free Trade Zones, the Textile and Garment Park in Lagos, as well as the Special Economic Zone in Lekki, Lagos.

Insisting that the approval was critical to the country’s infrastructure development plan, Mohammed also said N1.1b was approved for the procurement of aviation security uniforms and accessories in various airports across the country in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.

On the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Mohammed said the FEC approved N864.7 million for two road contracts that were abandoned by previous administrations.

“The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs got approval for Okpula-Igwartanta Phase I linking Imo and Rivers states, started in 2010. Council approved a variation of N620.7 million for control of erosion and flood on Ndemili-Utagba-Onitsha road in Delta State, which started in 2014. The council approved N244 million to augment the original contract sum,” he added.

Speaking, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said she briefed the council on the latest National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report on the 0.5 per cent growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and presented the first quarter 2021 GDP results and other performance indices.

“The first quarter performance marks the second consecutive quarter of positive real GDP growth following two previous quarters of negative growth in Q3 and Q4 2020, which saw the country going into recession, but we exited recession in the fourth quarter of 2020.

On his part, Minister of Environment, Mahammad Mahmud, said the council approved the revised National Policy on Climate Change.

“The last one was in 2012 and it became necessary to revise based on what has been happening in the last three years since 2012, particularly with the various agreements. We all know that climate change has serious implications for the economy and livelihoods,” he added.

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