Ben Agande, Abuja.
Plans are on the way for a gradual phasing out of the voters card to be replaced by the National Identity Cards in future elections in the country.
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku who disclosed this after the Federal Executive Council meeting yesterday revealed that the council also approved the sum of N2.1billion for the printing of 33.5 million Permanent Voters Card by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The minister said the permanent Voter’s card which will have a life span of ten years will contain unique biometric features that will identify the voter.
According to the Minister, “following the successful conduct of the Nationwide Voters registration in 2011, the commission proposed to print 73,500,000 permanent ?oters cards to replace the temporary voters cards issued during the voters registration.
The commission printed 40,000,000 permanent cards in 2011 for the first phase of the project which is in progress. There is the need to print and issue the remaining 35.000,000 permanent Voters card.
“After deliberations, Council approved the contract for the second phase of the printing of Permanent Voters’s Cards at the rate of N65.00 per card in the sum of N2,117,500,000 with a completion period of 6 months” he said.
The minister explained that INEC estimates that the permanent Voters Cards will be used for elections in 2015 and 2019 after which the National Identity Cards would be the instrument for use in elections in the country.
Also yesterday, the Federal Executive approved the institutionalisation of a six level national vocational qualifications framework in Nigeria and the placement of the national vocational qualifications in the scheme of service.
Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufa’I who disclosed this emphasised that the scheme is to down play over reliance on paper qualification and integrate skilled professionals into the scheme of service both in the public and Private sector.
According to her, “as Nigeria aspires to become a major player in the world economy, the place of skilled and competent workforce cannot be under played.
“A competent workforce necessary for higher productivity and effective implementation of development projects are building blocks for the economy
“The phenomenon of vocational skills framework as been embraced by many countries as a vital scheme to enhance development of competent workforce and ensure that qualifications to occupations are flexible, transparent and accountable.
“As Nigeria transforms to one of the world’s major economies, the greatest asset needed is a competent workforce, which the council believes could be best realized under the National Vocational Qualifications Framework (NVQF)” she said.
Also presenting her progress report to the council yesterday, the Minister of Woman Affairs, Zainab Maina said through the activities of the Ministry, women were able to attain 36% of cabinet positions while 26% of federal Permanent secretaries are women.
She said her ministry is working with the national Assembly to strengthen the laws again rape, adding that more stringent measures would be recommended as punishment for those convicted of rape.
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