- NIMASA Contractors Fail to Remit $286m Revenue – Reps
Private firms engaged by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to collect revenue on its behalf have failed to remit money in excess of $286m to the Federal Government, the House of Representatives Committee on Marine Safety/Education alleged on Wednesday in Abuja.
The committee, which is chaired by Mr Mohammed Bago, is investigating the processes that led to the award of the contracts and others that had generated petitions and controversies since 2016.
One of them is the National Security Surveillance and Waterways contract that was awarded to an Israeli firm, HLI International Systems and Technologies Limited, for $198m.
The committee had summoned the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, and the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, to address the issues.
Also summoned were the officials of HLS and the various beneficiaries of the revenue contracts, which later became the subjects of petitions sent to the House.
However, on Wednesday, lawmakers paid more attention to the security surveillance contract, which was designed to monitor the country’s waterways and combat illegal activities.
Better known as the Deep Blue Project, it is designed in the first phase to train 1,000 naval personnel; 1,000 soldiers; 1,000 marine policemen; and 200 Department of State Service operatives, who will run intelligence gathering operations on the waterways and combat criminality.
The Israeli firm, in the second phase, will supply three special mission helicopters; 17 special patrol boats; two special mission aircraft; 16 fast vehicles; and four units of UAVs.
But, members raised questions on the alleged violation of due process requirements in the award of the $198m contract and the implications of getting a foreign firm involved with a project that could compromise Nigeria’s internal security.
Amaechi stayed away from the committee’s hearing, sending the ministry’s Director of Procurement, Mr Shehu Aliyu, to answer questions on his behalf.
He dismissed allegations of due process breaches, saying that after presidential and Federal Executive Council approvals were secured in 2016, a certificate of no objection was also obtained from the Bureau of Public Procurement.
He claimed that being a security contract, the law allowed for some waivers to fast-track the award.
NIMASA’s Executive Director, Mr Gambo Ahmed, who represented Peterside, told the committee that though he was aware that the agency had been under the watch of anti-graft agencies in the past, he reassured the lawmakers that the current management was different.
“All our contracts are transparent and our books are open. We are ready to provide any information that the committee wants us to provide,” Ahmed stated.
The Managing Director, HLS, Mr Tai Spektor, made a presentation to the committee to justify the competence of his firm and its ability to deliver the intelligence services covered under the contract.
Spektor, who dwelt much on the illegal activities taking place offshore Nigeria and the economic losses to the country, stated that over $70m was being lost to illegal fishing alone every year.
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Nigeria’s Presidential CNG Initiative Allocates N100bn for CNG Buses and EV Adoption
The Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative has allocated N100 billion to expedite the deployment of CNG buses nationwide, according to a statement released on Wednesday.
The initiative, designed to catalyze an Auto-gas and Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution in mass transit and transportation, aims to enhance sustainability and cost-effectiveness.
The statement revealed that the fund would be instrumental in supporting the adoption of auto-gas and electric vehicles, signaling a commitment to a more sustainable and economical future in the transportation sector.
The Presidential CNG Initiative plans to leverage over 11,500 CNG and electric-fueled vehicles, along with the deployment of 55,000 conversion kits.
This strategic approach is intended to reduce transportation costs for Nigerians and mitigate the challenges posed by the rising cost of living.
Under the Renewed Hope Agenda, the Presidential CNG Initiative is dedicated to realizing the President’s vision, guided by its steering committee led by FIRS Chairman Zacch Adedeji.
The statement highlighted recent achievements, including strategic technical partnerships and the ongoing commissioning of CNG Conversion centers in key states such as Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Ogun, and Rivers.
Several more centers are slated for commissioning in the coming weeks, reflecting the initiative’s momentum and commitment to achieving its objectives.
Nigeria’s Power Transformation: 53 Projects Worth N122bn on Track for May 2024 Completion
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and power distribution companies, is set to complete 53 power projects by May next year.
Valued at N122 billion, these projects aim to add over 1,000 megawatts to TCN’s wheeling capacity.
During a recent tour of three ongoing projects in Lagos, TCN’s Programme Coordinator, Mathew Ajibade, assured that the projects were not abandoned, refuting speculations.
He confirmed that work is progressing smoothly and is expected to be completed by May 2024, as initially planned.
Assistant Director/Head of Infrastructure Finance Office at the CBN, Tumba Tijani, highlighted the CBN’s support for the power sector, revealing that the bank released a loan at a 9% interest rate in August last year for the projects.
The funding, part of the Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility-3, amounts to N122,289,344 and aims to address transmission/distribution bottlenecks, enhance supply to end-users, and unlock unutilized generation capacity.
Tijani disclosed that N85.43 billion has been disbursed into the Advance Payment Guarantee account of the 53 contractors responsible for executing the projects.
The comprehensive project list includes the delivery of power transformers, re-conductoring existing transmission lines, upgrading existing substations, and constructing 33KV line bays.
The initiative reflects a concerted effort to enhance Nigeria’s power infrastructure and meet growing energy demands.
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