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N64bn Runway - Presidency Slashes Project Cost in Nigeria

Published on Wednesday 26th May 2010

The Presidential Projects Assessment Committee (PPAC) has reviewed the contract for the construction of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, second runway, slashing off N13.5 billion from the original contract sum of N64 billion.

The project will now cost N49.6 billion.

Chairman of the committee, Mr. Ibrahim Bunu, disclosed this to State House correspondents yesterday after submitting an interim report on its activities to President Goodluck Jonathan.

The contract, which was awarded to Julius Berger in January this year has generated a lot of public interest.

The Committee on Aviation in the House of Representatives recently recommended that the contract be revoked.

Bunu said his committee reviewed the entire project design and contract scope before arriving at the cost reduction.

Apparently satisfied with the report, the president has also directed that the tenure of the committee be extended to May 29, next year.

The president's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Ima Niboro, who briefed newsmen at the end of PPAC meeting with Jonathan, said the committee's final report would "be part of the handover note to the new administration that will come on board".

Bunu told newsmen that the reduction in the project cost would neither affect its quality nor the supporting facilities to be provided for the new runway. "What we did is providing the necessary requirement in a new approach which gave saving," he said.

He explained that the Committee reviewed the entire design and the scope of the contract by re-orientating the location of the run way.

For example, he said, the runway, which was originally 4.5km long, has now been reduced to 4.2km long.

The readjustment of the location, reorientation and review meets international requirements of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standard, he stated.

"Similarly, we shifted from the original position of the runway to a location which gives stronger earth stability and also which requires less sand filling," he said.

He added that the shifting brought the proposed runway nearer to the existing one, " and this has resulted in reducing the taxi way and each time you reduce the length of the runway or taxi way you are reducing the electrical, drainage and lots more so concurrently you make savings in so many ways."

He further dislcosed that this strategy has substantially reduced the scope of earth work and construction work.

Niboro said the President was happy with the committee for saving the country about N13 billion, pointing out that "these are some of the roles this committee is meant to play".

Niboro said apart from project assessment, the committee is also to look into the cost of doing business in the country.

"The president is worried that procurement in Nigeria is considerably higher".

He added that he therefore wanted the Bunu Committee to get involved in procurement especially those procurements that are below the radar procurement that does not necessarily go through the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

He said, "A lot of procurements are happening in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that don't come to BPP and many of those procurement, I think there is a need to look at them because the 2010 budget is already in deficit and the president feels there will be a lot of savings made if we look into those projects because there are lots of things that are there that we believe if a second look is taken, we will make tremendous savings.

"So the committee is going to get involved in this process and these are the reasons why their tenure has been extended so that they can have time to do a thorough job for this administration'.

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