The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a 2.8 billion dollars (about N420 billion) contract for the development of the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone in Port Harcourt, through concession.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, made this known when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council’s meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House on Wednesday in Abuja.
Mr. Maku said the contract, specifically for the development of Phase 4B facilities at the port, would be solely pre-funded by a private investor, Messrs Deep Offshore Services Nigeria Ltd.
He added that the contract, to be completed in six years, has a concession period of 25 years when the contractor is expected to recoup its investments.
The minister said the approval for the contract followed a memo presented to the Council by the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar.
He said the concept of the development of the facilities was to decongest the Lagos and Port Harcourt ports.
The contract, according to Mr. Maku, will also entrench the Public-Private-Partnership policy in the establishment and upgrading of public sector facilities.
He noted that the project is expected to generate 4,000 job opportunities for both professionals during its execution and about 20,000 direct and indirect job opportunities when it is in full operation.
“What is significant about this contract is that investors have shown remarkable interest in developing facilities in our country,’’ he said.
Mr. Maku recalled that phase one to four of the port was also developed by the private sector.
The minister said the council had continued with the review of the report of the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies.
The committee, headed by former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Stephen Oronsaye, had recommended the reduction of federal statutory agencies from 263 to 161.
He said details of the review and recommendations by council would be made public after deliberations in subsequent meetings.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, told correspondents that FEC had also approved contract for the supply of N706.9 million Hitachi Generator special tools to Jebba Hydro Electric Plc.
The approved sum, according to the minister, is a counter-part funding needed by the Japanese Government to carry out total restoration of a unit at the Jebba power plant.
Mr. Nebo explained that the Japanese Government had approved a grant of N3.9 billion for the rehabilitation of one of the six units at the Jebba plant.
He, however, added that “to release the grant, Nigeria is expected to release a counterpart-fund to be used for the procurement of special tools’’.
The power minister said with the approval of the fund to procure the special tools, the grant from the Japanese government would now be released for the overhaul of the Jebba plant.
“The availability of the special tools is a major prerequisite for commencement of site work of the main project.
“The project will guaranty steady supply of another 96.4 megawatts on completion by September 2014 and this will further stimulate the national economy.
“The project will also provide some Nigerians some employment,’’ Mr. Nebo said.
Information from NAN was used in this report.