From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Following the recent flooding in the Niger Delta, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of N260.5 billion as variation order for repair works and completion of various sections of the East – West Road projects.
The approval was sequel to a memorandum by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola to the council presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, at the weekend.
The memorandum document dated October 27, 2022, covers the request of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs for inclusion of additional works and review of unit rate for the outstanding works required to complete the East – West road projects which the president directed that the Ministry of Works and Housing be engaged to revalidate the proposal.
So, following the presidential directive, the Ministry of Works and Housing constituted a Task Allocation Committee (TAC) comprising its officers and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) which conducted a site inspection on sections I – IV of the East – West Road projects from October 14 to 16, 2022 to assess the need for the augmentation and additional works to complete the projects.
Recall that 13 years after it was taken away from the Ministry of Works and Housing, President Muhammadu Buhari had, in May, this year, directed the MNDA then under Senator Godswill Akpabio, which had been handling its construction to return the challenging East-West Road to the Works and Housing Ministry.
According to the memorandum, the contracts for the dualisation of East – West Road projects Sections I – IV from Warri – Port Harcourt – Eket-Oron (338 km) were awarded at different dates and are at different levels of completion.
In a statement, Special Adviser, Communications, to the Minister of Works and Housing, Hakeem Bello, disclosed that sections covered in the Federal Executive Council’s approval included Section III: Port Harcourt (Eleme Junction) – Onne Port Junction in Rivers State in the sum of N156.7 billion being handled by Messrs RCC Nigeria Limited and Section II: Subsection I (Port Harcourt – Ahoada) in Rivers State in the sum of N64.3 billion being done by Messrs Setraco Nigeria Limited as well as Section II: Subsection II (Ahoada – Kaiama) in Bayelsa and Rivers States in the sum of N144.7 billion being handled by the same construction company.
Others are Section IV : Eket – Oron Road in Akwa Ibom State in the sum of N64.3 billion being handled by Messrs Gitto Nigeria Limited and Section IV : Eket – Oron Bypass in Akwa Ibom State in the sum of N76.8 billion being handled by the same construction company.With the approved variation order, the contract sum for the East – West Road project Sections I – IV has changed from N246 billion to N506 billion.
The memorandum showed the scope of work necessitating the requests for augmentation in the various sections to include outstanding works, asphalting of inner and outer shoulders, repair of settlement on carriageways, construction of additional drainage and culvert works, construction of flyover and repair of distressed bridges among others.
While presenting the memorandum which was in line with the Federal Government’s continued engagement in bringing succour and resolving issues around the recent flooding, the Minister of Works and Housing explained that the approval would enable the contractors to carry out repair works with respect to Sections of the East – West Road in the Niger Delta affected during the recent flooding in parts of the country.
The table showing changes in basic item rates in each of the projects were clearly itemised, while Fashola also gave extensive details of the procurement processes which the participating companies went through that culminated in the certification and issuance of a Due Process Certificate of “ No Objection” for each of the projects by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
According to the Minister, due diligence and post-qualification checks were also carried out which showed that the companies have the capabilities to execute the contracts and are fully compliant with the Nigerian Local Content Policy.
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