The federal government has approved the sum of N3.4 billion for the procurement of a surveilance aircraft for the use of the nation’s Customs Service.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, made this known yesterday while speaking with newsmen at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
According to him, “The Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning presented a couple of memos for which approvals were obtained. The first one was for the award of contract for the procurement of a Cessna Caravan aircraft by the Nigerian Customs in the sum of N3,447,442,710 inclusive of 7.5 percent VAT with a delivery period of 12 months.”
He said the aircraft would help a lot in carrying out air surveillance as well as curb the activities of smugglers.
“This aircraft is an addition to the current fleet in the Customs Service and it is aimed towards combating smuggling activities and enhancing intelligence gathering. It is also to provide aerial surveillance and reconnaissance for the customs across our borders,” Agba added.
He further disclosed that N45.9 billion was approved as augmentation for the cost of contracts for the construction of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (NDIC) Head office Building in Abuja and Lagos, including its training institute in Lagos.
“The augmentation amount is a total of N45, 937, 319, 279.44. There are three different projects here; the first one is the NDIC Head Office Annex project in Abuja, the Lagos Office project and the Lagos Training Centre project in Lekki-Lagos,” he said.
On his part, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, told journalists that FEC approved the phase two of the electronic Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, e-NSITF, which would enable concessionaire to upgrade the infrastructure for N15 billion.
Ngige also said the council granted approval for the amendment of obsolete laws in line with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standard.
He said, “The second memo is the memo or what we call the electronic NSITF, Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund. Nigeria now operates the old workmen Compensation Act, which is now Employee Compensation Act 2010.
“Therefore, what we are trying to do is to align the contributions of NSITF to make it fraud-free. People should be able to make the contributions of workers with ease even from the comfort of their office and generate certificates.”
Ngige further said: “The first memorandum was to seek Council’s approval for us to amend the labour laws of the country. The labour laws of the country, as presently being operated are really obsolete laws. And the ILO have pointed that out that we needed to bring our laws to be concurrent with international labour standards and conventions and principles at work.
“So, we had to do this. It is the long journey, we started in 2001 by a previous administration, and at a point, the bills were sent to the National Assembly for enactment into law in 2007/2008 only one came out after the five bills. Among the five bills then was labour standards bill will make for Labour Standard and replace the the Trade Union Act 2004.
“The second was what we call the collective labour relations bill which will encompass a portion of the trade union act, trade disputes act 2004, trade dispute essential services act and of course, the trade unions International affiliations act. So, the four were to be now melted into one law.
“We also had another bill for Occupational Safety and Health, which was supposed to replace the old Factories act with which Nigeria operates Operational Safety and Health System.”