The Federal Government Wednesday approved the sum of N6.3 billion for the issuance of 13 million identity cards to Nigerians as from December 2012.
This was part of the outcome of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The council also approved the award of contract for the design, manufacture, supply and commissioning of two set of five-car Diesel Multiple Unit (DMUs) in anticipation of the opening of the Lagos-Kano rail line before Christmas season.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, flanked by the ministers of health, communications technology, transport, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), works (state), power (state) and foreign affairs (state I), said the meeting's focus was on further deepening of service delivery to Nigerians.
On her part, the Minister of Communications Technology, Omobolaji Johnson, explained that the first phase of the identity card scheme, which so far had gulped the sum of N34. 2 billion by a previous administration, would now cost N30.1 billion in the next three years.
She said the first category of the contract, intended to jump-start issuance of the identity card under the accelerated implementation of the National Identity Management System (NIMS) project, is the contract for the supply of smart card which was awarded to Messrs Auspoint Limited, Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) and Telnet at the cost of N5.3 billion.
The second category is a contract for card personalisation, which was awarded to Messrs Chams Consortium Limited and Messrs One Scorecard Limited at the cost of N1 billion.
According to her, while the smart cards that would be used now would be imported, subsequently all other similar cards would be manufactured in the country in compliance with the local content initiative.
She said currently, 30,000 Nigerians have been registered in a pilot project embarked upon by the NIMS.
On the procurement of the DMUs, which the council gave approval in the sum of N4.3 billion, the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, stated that they will be used in narrow gauge trunk in order to meet the present day high demand for inter-city passenger traffic.
Other approvals given for award of contracts are the contract for the engagement of consultants for Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) fiscal allocation and statutory disbursement audit 2007-2011, construction of the Jos-Kafanchan 132 KV, rehabilitation of Umana-Agba-Ebenebe-Amansi Akwa road and the construction of Ogrute-Umuida-Unadu-Akpanya-Oduru road.
Approvals were also given for the revision of the estimated total cost of the contract for the construction of tank one and six and associated trunk main within the federal capital, resurfacing of existing road and remedial works on bridges in Wuse I and Garki I districts in Abuja, construction of an Inland River Port at Jamata, Lokoja, the supply of anti-tuberculosis drugs and vaccines for routine immunisation.