Stop hiking contract sums, Jonathan warns ministers as two cabinet members resign

President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered his ministers to stop bringing to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) any memo for upward review of the cost of contracts above 15 per cent of the original value.
Giving the directive during Wednesday’s FEC meeting, Jonathan frowned at a situation in which a contract sum is augmented so much that it overshoots the original cost.
He equally directed the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) not to entertain such requests from ministers.
According to Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, the President warned heads of all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to be careful how they prepare contracts for projects, as they must ensure appropriate and professional design and costing of projects before the contracts are brought before FEC.
Maku, who clarified that no particular memo or project warranted the directives, announced that an exception could only be made if the President personally gives the green light for such memos.
“The President frowned at a situation in which sometimes augmentation or variations of contracts end up being higher than the original contracts awarded.
“Mr President believes that if MDAs do their jobs thoroughly through proper planning, and of course cost evaluation before award, the incidence of half valuation of contracts will be avoided.
“So, he gave a directive that henceforth any MDA that has any variation on a contract that goes beyond 15 per cent should not present it to Council unless that variation has the President’s personal approval.
“He also directed the BPP not to entertain any application for valuation of contracts that exceed 15 per cent of the original cost.
“He also insisted that ministers and agencies of government must ensure that in giving awards of contracts, we verify the actual workload that is expected, we ensure proper valuation of our projects so that we will not continue with this pattern of variation of contracts that sometimes go so high as 100 per cent of the original contract awarded,” Maku said.
Also, the FEC has approved the contract for provision of roads and engineering infrastructure to new layout and diplomatic area known as Phase II of the ongoing Guzape Lot II District, in Abuja, at the cost of N22.6 billion.
The areas were laid out and allocated in 2005 to meet the aspirations of members of the National Assembly, well placed Nigerians, diplomatic missions and some members of the general public, Minister of the Federal Capita Territory (FCT), Bala Mohammed, said.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Health, Muhammed Pate, has resigned from Jonathan’s cabinet to take up a teaching and research job at an American university.
His resignation letter to the President was dated July 22, but it took effect from July 23.
Pate’s resignation came the same day Special Adviser to the President on Technical Matters, and Member/Secretary of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (SURE-P) Committee, Akachukwu Sullivan Nwankpo, also quit his job.
A Presidency source who confirmed Nwankpo’s resignation said he was quitting to contest the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State.

In his letter, Pate said he was leaving the cabinet for a new job as a Professor in Duke University’s Global Health Institute, USA, where he would participate in a university-wide Africa initiative and also serve as Senior Adviser to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Washington DC.

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