The Federal Executive Council has approved the contract for the procurement of 68 new pick-up operational vehicles for the Nigeria Customs Service.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the council’s meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Adeosun said the procurement contract was awarded to Messrs. Wada Autos Limited at the sum of N1, 550,187,713.00.
According to the minister, “The operational vehicles currently available for the NCS are grossly inadequate for effective anti-smuggling activities. The need to effectively patrol the borders of the country, enhance the Customs bid to suppress smuggling and increase revenue collection gave rise to the request to purchase 68 operational vehicles.
“Having identified the need, the service made provision for the purchase of 68 operational Hilux vehicles in its 2017 capital appropriation.” Adeosun said the council also approved the report of the National Tax Policy Implementation Committee on Tax Laws Reform. She recalled that FEC had on February 1, 2017, approved the revised National Tax Policy in order for the country to have a robust tax system that would promote investment and improve revenue for sustainable national development.
The proposed tax law reform by the NTPIC, she added, was expected to achieve specific fiscal objectives like removing obsolete; ambiguous and contradictory provisions in the laws; increase government revenue; simplify the process of paying taxes and doing business; promote Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; and protect most vulnerable persons in the society.
According to the minister, the committee has so far produced two Executive Orders and five amendment bills. She listed the two proposed Executive Orders as Value Added Tax Act Order and the Review of Goods Liable to Excise Duties and Applicable Rate Order.
The five proposed amendment bills, according to her are Companies Income Tax Act (Amendment) Bill; Value Added Tax Act (Amendment) Bill; Customs, Excise, Tariff etc. (Consolidation) Act (Amendment) Bill; Personal Income Tax Act (Amendment) Bill; and the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Act (Amendment) Bill. She listed other laws proposed for amendment as the Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the Proposed Amendment of the Associated Gas Re-injection Act.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing got an approval to buy N499m project monitoring vehicles.
Shehu said the FEC also approved the construction and furnishing of a three-storey faculty building that comprises academic, departmental offices, conference room, departmental libraries and external blocks for the National Open University of Nigeria.
He stated, “The University relocated from Lagos to Abuja in March 2016 and only four out of the eight faculties have moved; the approval is to enable others to also move. The new structure will be built by Spectrum Engineering Limited at the cost of N711m.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said the ministry presented five memoranda to the council in respect of the National Social Investment Program. Ahmed stated that the scheme now had 9.76 million beneficiaries cutting across the four programs that had so far been deployed.
She noted that, “The subject of the meeting centered on the N-Power, which has 200,000 beneficiaries that have already been deployed as teachers, agriculture extension workers, as well as health extension workers.
“So, we are adding to these numbers by moving to the N-Power Knowledge category. This is a category where non-graduates will be trained in skills and attached to companies where they will gain experience during apprenticeship.
“The categories are three: first is a group of 2,000 beneficiaries, who will be trained in software development, web development and will be equipped with devices. The essence of the training is to make them self-employable at the end of the training, which will be for three months, and there will be an apprenticeship attachment after the training.”
The minister added, “The second category is the supply of 3,000 devices that will be used by staff of the National Cash Transfer Office at the national, state, local and ward levels to register beneficiaries of the National Cash Transfer Program to able to record their data, BVN and their biometric information, as well as the location of where they are.
“Also, that device will help them to capture information on payments that accrue to the beneficiaries. It will help us to track the performance of the National Cash Transfer Program.”