The Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, approved projects for three ministries worth N26.7 billion.
The FEC meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, held in the Executive Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, also approved a new National Policy on Aging.
This is as the federal government has said that the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy generated over 17.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Products, GDP, of the country.
The ministries for which the projects were approved include Water Resources; Information and Culture; Communication and Digital Economy, and Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the meeting, Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, said the Council approved the sum of N8.4 billion for the construction of a dam for the Damaturu Water Supply project in Yobe State, North-East Nigeria
The Minister said the approval would help address water supply challenges in the State, caused mainly by insurgency.
“I presented a memo for the construction of Damaturu water supply project in Yobe State in favour of three contractors at a total sum of N8.43 billion. The contracts divided into three are all groundwater or borehole-based projects spread over a wide distance because they are covering three major cities.
“They will be mostly solar based and also they are in response to the critical needs of these localities within Yobe State, especially as they have been suffering a lot because these areas affected by the Boko Haram insurgency which started several years ago and therefore, we need to support their water supply needs.
“These are high Sahelian region where surface water is difficult to come by so we hope that by this intervention, the water supply in these locations would be greatly enhanced”, he said.
Adamu said the project has a completion period of twenty four months.
His Communication and Digital Economy counterpart, Isa Pantami, disclosed that the council approved about N8.9 billion for a new National ICT park in the FCT to coordinate public and private ICT hubs in the country.
He also revealed that government would soon release the timelines for the mandatory linking of the National Identity Number, NIN, to bank accounts.
He said “the wisdom behind the ICT Park is for it to be a center where public and private ICT hubs are going to be coordinated by the federal government of Nigeria, where young innovators with crazy and disruptive ideas will be mentored and all what they need provided for. We will provide enabling environment for them to utilize and come up with disruptive technologies.
“This is the first of its kind in Nigeria, we have so many parks and hubs but they are regional. This one will be central and will be a center of job creation for our teaming youths. It will be a center where technology will be developed and incubated. It will play a significant role in reducing unemployment and the reduce the gap of unemployability.
“The Federal Executive Council has approved the memo and we are going to start of establishing it in Abuja and we hope Abuja is going to be another Silicon Valley in Nigeria”, he said.
Lai Mohammed, the minister of Information and Culture, said FEC gave approval for the sum of about N9.43 billion to complete the digital switch over, which had previously missed the deadline set for implementation.
“As you know, the ITU had two cut off dates, one in 2017 another in 2020, where nations were supposed to completed their movement from analogue to digital. Regrettably, we were not able to make it. But with the approval of this memo today, we would be striving to switch from analogue to digital.
“We will now agree on a date for a launch in the biggest cities like Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt. And we will start the switch off in the already switched on states.
“The effect of the more today is that, digital switch over is now real and the economic effect of it will be the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in content production, channel distribution, Nollywood and Electronic appliance productions to service about 20 million Nigerian homes.
“At the end of the switch over, we would have created the biggest free to air TV platform in Africa. I will be announcing a ministerial task force that will execute the council resolve either this week or next”, he explained.
He also revealed that the council approved a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, between the ministry and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Bankers Committee for the renovation of the National Theatre, Iganmu Lagos.
The CBN is expected to provide about N21.89 billion for the refurbishment of the National Theater and is expected to manage it for few years before handing it over to government.
“I sought and obtained an approval to execute a memorandum of understanding between the Federal Ministry of Information, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Bankers Committee worth N21 billion for the renovation of the National Theatre Iganmu, Lagos.
“This is a landmark approval because it has paved the way for investment in the creative industry as part of the resolve of this government to create at least 1,000,000 jobs in the next three years from the creative industry.
“The CBN, through the Bankers Committee, is willing to invest N21, 894,000,000 to renovate the National Theatre, refurbish it and run it profitably,” he said.
Mohammed said the MoU has a life span of 21 years before it will be reverted back to government.
Sadiya Umar Farouk, the minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, who also spoke at the briefing, said that the Council approved a new National Policy on Aging, which would take care of the needs of the aged people in the country.
According to her, the objective of the policy is to ensure that older persons in the society are guaranteed security, independence anticipation, participation, comprehensive care, self-fulfillment and dignity.
“The policy covers spectrum of issues and opportunities for older persons, older persons with disabilities, older persons who are internally displaced, older persons engaged in farming in the Nigeria, in urban and rural areas,” she said.
Source: The Nation