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HomeNewsSeized Lagos Properties: FEC Orders Buyers To Pay 2001 Price, Says Govt...

Seized Lagos Properties: FEC Orders Buyers To Pay 2001 Price, Says Govt Was Short Paid

…Okays new regulation for use, disposal of public assets

…awards N30.1bn for road works in FCT, Bayelsa

…as Nigeria sets to commence construction of vaccines manufacturing plant

KUNLE OLUTAYO

The Federal Government has ordered the buyers of the two underpriced public properties seized by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), in the course of narcotic prosecution, to pay the differentials of the real values as at 2001.

Addressing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC), meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, disclosed that the council’s decision followed a memorandum he presented to the Council, where it was revealed that government was short paid.

Fashola said that the properties, a four-bedroom bungalow on Adeniyi Jones Lagos, and another five-bedroom duplex on Amadasun Street in GRA, Ikoyi, Lagos, sold for N2 million and N5 million respectively, were seized by the NDLEA in the course of narcotic prosecution.

He said government now wants the buyers to pay the sum of N18 million for the bungalow and N21 million for the five-bedroom duplex being the cost at which they were valued in 2001.

“They were properties sold as a result of a prosecution for narcotics by NDLEA. So, they were proceeds of drug crimes, but the valuation process followed the NDLEA Act instead of the Financial Regulations Act. So essentially, those policy proposals were approved by the government.

“The addresses of the properties, the first one is a four-bedroom bungalow with two room boys’ quarters at Adeniyi Jones in Ikeja Lagos, and the other one was a five-bedroom duplex with two room boys’ quarters at Amadasun Street, GRA Ikoyi, so they were sold for N5m and N2m respectively in 2001.

“At that time, the valuation we got was that if they were properly valued, they should have been sold for N18m and N20m respectively,” the former Lagos governor explained.

He noted that the NDLEA Act of the time gave precedence to the directives from the Ministry of Justice and regulations were made according to powers under the Act.

“But they did not take cognizance of the procurement law and the financial regulations of the time.

“So, we are now saying, going forward, the financial regulations must take precedence. So, those are all proposals that will come as a new law when the Ministry of Finance finishes with them, so that you cannot have different regulations for disposal of assets that have been forfeited to the government. They must be subject to one superior procedure,” he added.

The Minister also revealed that the government approved a policy recommendation to extend the usage life of government assets such as plants, equipment, land, property and machinery.

The new recommendation, Fashola said, will ensure proper disposal while saving government expenditure.

“The purpose of the policy memorandum was to seek better enforcement of the financial regulations of the government, especially the revised 2009 regulations with regards to valuation process for plants, equipment, land, property and machinery, and also how they are disposed of when they reach the end of life.

“This policy is premised on Executive Order 11 that enthrones maintenance as a conscious government policy. And we think that because of that, government assets should last longer than the life cycle usually prescribed in the existing financial regulations, such as four years and nine years for other classes of machinery.

“The other context behind the policy was also in order to help the government manage expenditure in the face of revenue challenges on certain items of governance. For example, if you slow down the depreciation policy on vehicles, your replacement rate slows down as well.”

With the new approval, the depreciation threshold for vehicles changes from four to six years.

Plant and machinery would also have a 10-year depreciation period instead of the existing timeframe in the financial regulation.

Also, the ministry proposed a strategic percentage depreciation rate per year for vehicles with two litre-engines and those above two litres.

To ensure proper accountability, Fashola said ministers will now be fully involved in the procurement process as they must now sign off requests for valuation of properties of their respective ministries, departments and agencies.

“We also proposed that heads of the Ministry as accounting officers must sign off now on request for valuation of properties, especially when agencies are trying to buy properties.

“We’ve seen that sometimes ministers are not even aware that proposals are being made for acquisition of some type of assets. Essentially, the council approved all of the policy recommendations. They should go to the Ministry of Finance, who is in charge of making the financial regulations in order to effect the necessary regulation,” he added.

Meanwhile, the FEC has approved the sum of N28.1 billion for the augmentation of road and other infrastructural projects in Wasa District of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

This was disclosed by the Minister of the FCT, Mohammed Musa Bello, who briefed newsmen after the weekly Council meeting

“The council approved the revised estimated total cost of the contract for the provision of engineering infrastructure to Wasa Affordable Housing District in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“Council augmented the cost of the project to be completed in 42 months by N28,117,904,027.00 from the sum of N56,925,048,940.98 approved in 2014 to a new contract figure of N85,042,952,967.98. The District has a total area of 367.11 hectares,” he said.

Also, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed that Nigeria will start the construction of an inoculation plant by end of the year, after signing a contract manufacturing agreement with Serum Institute of India for local production of the jabs, a government official said.

“The approval has been given and then with this partnership now, they will now break the ground and start building right away,” Nigeria’s health minister Osagie Ehanire said on Wednesday in a briefing in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Local production of inoculations has become imperative for Nigeria as vaccine subsidies from international community is expected to end within the next six years, which means that the country will have to come up with $300 million to buy its jabs, according to the minister.

“By 2028 the support we used to get from GAVI to subsidize our vaccines will expire. And by that time, we should be producing our own vaccine domestically,” Ehanire said.

Biovaccines Nigeria, a company jointly owned by the government and the country’s pharmaceutical compay May & Baker is expected to lead local production of vaccines in Ota, a border community between commercial hub of Lagos and Ogun state where the plant will be situated, the minister said. The vaccine company will produce immunizations to prevent IPV, Measles and Yellow fever, among others.

FEC also approved N2.044 billion for the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in respect of a contract for the construction of internal roads and drainages to the Polaku Gas Hub in Bayelsa State.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, who disclosed this during the briefing also disclosed that the gas hum is targeted at encouraging development of gas processing companies.

“Council today approved a contract to Messrs. Black Springs limited to construct internal roads and drainages in NCDMB gas hub located at Polaku in Bayelsa State. The gas hub is to encourage the development of companies that will process our gas and develop our gas and to deepen the use of gas internally and to be able to process gas for export and to also construct cylinder.

“Already there are companies that are in the gas hub – Shell Nigeria Gas is already located in the hub, Roll Gas is already located in the hub. So, these drainages and roads and the developments in that hub is expected to encourage more companies to come into that hub to be able to deepen and development of gas. This is in furtherance of commitments to the decade of gas as declared by Mr. President, from 2021-2030.

“The contract sum for the drainages and the construction of the internal roads at the Polaku Gas Hub is N2.044 billion,” he said.

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