The Federal Executive Council (FEC), at its meeting on Wednesday, approved a total sum of N8.8 billion for the completion of the Bagwai irrigation project in Kano State and the Biu water supply project in Borno.
Engr. Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources, told State House correspondents after the virtual FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that the Bagwai irrigation project was stalled due to lack of funds.
“Today, I presented two memos to the FEC; both of these memos are requesting for augmentation for existing and ongoing projects; one for irrigation and one for water supply.
“The first one was for expansion and completion of the Bagwai Irrigation Project on Watari Dam in Bagwai local government area of Kano state; we have sought for an augmentation of N3.76 billion, which was approved.
“The contract has been ongoing and at some point suspended because of lack of funding.
“It was awarded to Messrs Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company Limited; mobilised in 2006 for an initial period of two years; the scope of work was a special irrigation scheme involving 872 hectares.
“We have done an audit, in line with our policy since the inception of this administration and since I came into office in 2015, whereby we are laying more emphasis on completion of ongoing and abandoned projects.
“Therefore, council was gracious to approve this augmentation with the sum of N3.762 billion, bringing the new contract sum to N9.2 billion from N5.4 billion, inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT, with an additional completion period of 24 months plus another 12 months liability period.’’
He said that the second memo was a request for augmentation for the Biu Water Supply Project that started in 2001.
Adamu said that the project ran into a lot of problems, mainly associated with funding and the Boko Haram insurgency.
“So, we sought for an augmentation; there were two contracts; Lots one and two, which have now been merged into one contract in favour of Nalado Nigeria Limited, who are the contractors for one of the Lots.
“But because the contractor for Lot one has decided to opt out of the contract, we sought approval of the Bureau of Public Procurement and the other company that was doing the Lot; Nalado Nigeria Limited, agreed to take over the Lot which was being executed by Mothercat.
“So, the total augmentation, like I said, is N5.063 billion, bringing the contracts sum now to N9.36 billion from N4.29 billion, inclusive 7.5 per cent VAT, with a new completion period of 24 months.
“ We hope that these projects will be implemented in earnest and hopefully, we will be able to get them completed by 2023 for the overall benefit of the people.’’
He said it was prudent to complete the projects rather than embark on new ones because a lot of investment had already been made and the investment would be lost if the projects were abandoned.
“If we are not able to complete them to a logical conclusion to ensure that the people they are meant for directly benefit from them, then it would have been a lost investment.
“ That is why we are laying a lot of emphasis on completion of ongoing and abandoned projects. We have made a lot of progress in that regard since 2015 or 2016,’’ he said.