By Ben Agande
ABUJA—AS part of preparations for the smooth conduct of the 2015 elections, the Federal Executive Council, FEC, yesterday, approved contract worth N2.6 billion for the printing of 40 million permanent voters card.
Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, who briefed State House correspondents after the FEC meeting, disclosed that the contract would enable the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to replace the 73.5 million temporary voters cards issued by the commission for the 2011 general elections.
The minister, who noted that the contract was for the first phase of the project, said INEC was expected to print additional cards next year to meet the requirement of voters in the country.
He explained that the permanent voters card would be valid for a minimum period of 10 years and were imbued with microchips that contained the bio-data of voters, which would help in preventing multiple voting during elections.
He said the approval was part of efforts by President Jonathan’s administration to improve the electoral process in the country, with a view to achieving more credible and transparent polls in the future.
Mr. Maku also explained that President Jonathan also directed federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, to step up action on his earlier directive that items in their budgets be procured locally.
He said the president’s directive was geared towards encouraging local manufacturers and foreign investors to start manufacturing locally.