- Category: Business and Economy
- Published on Thursday, 12 August 2010 04:47
- Written by Next
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As usual, the federal executive council meeting yesterday was devoted to the approval of contracts, the biggest of which was the purchase of three new jets for the Presidential Air Fleet. The planes, which include a Gulfstream G550 and two new Falcon 7X Aircraft, will cost the country $154.3 million or N23.2 billion.
This is coming a few weeks after two aircraft in the presidential fleet developed technical faults and delayed President Goodluck Jonathan’s return from Uganda where he had gone to attend the African Union summit. As a result, Mr Jonathan couldn’t attend the federal executive council meeting, which had to be chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo.
A growing fleet
The presidential fleet currently boasts of eight aircraft - including three jets. It consists of a 70-tonne Boeing business jet bought in 2006 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. In addition, there are the Gulfstream V, and Gulfstream IVSP, and two Falcon 900s.
The Federal Government had proposed to buy four more aircraft for the presidential fleet, according to the 2010 Appropriation Bill recently passed by the National Assembly.
The expenditure item, which came under the “Intelligence Community” budget, listed the cost of purchasing “4 Nos Presidential Air Craft” at $210 million, which is about N31.5 billion, although only N23.4 billion is to be provided for it in this fiscal year.
The Minister of Information and Communications, Dora Akunyili, said after the weekly FEC meeting which was chaired by Mr Jonathan, that the purchase price for the two falcon aircraft is $102.2million while the Gulfstream will be bought for $53.3million.
“Mr. President briefed council through a memo on the negotiations recently concluded with the representative of Dassault Aviation of France and Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation of USA, for the purchase of two new Falcon aircraft and one Gulfstream G550 respectively, for the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) and sought council’s approval to purchase the three aircrafts,” Mrs. Akunyili said.
She added that, following a presidential directive, the definite purchase agreement was negotiated and signed on the May 26 this year with the aviation companies.
She said, “the committee set up for the negotiation of the acquisition of the aircraft was able to get a reduction of the sum of $2.9 million from the proposed price of the two Falcon 7X aircraft and a reduction of the sum of $5.4 million from the offer price of the Gulfstream G550 aircraft”.
One of the Falcons will be delivered soon enough while the rest planes wait till next year. “The first Falcon aircraft being purchased will be delivered by the end of the fourth quarter of 2010, while the second Falcon and the Gulf stream G550 will be delivered by the end of second quarter 2011” Mrs Akunyili said.
She disclosed that “the sum of N21 billion has been provided in the 2010 Appropriation for outright purchase of two Falcon 7X aircraft and one G550 to be delivered as agreed in the contract.”