The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Malam Musa Bello has said that the ongoing rehabilitation of the National Assembly Complex would cost the sum of N30.222 billion.
He stated this on Thursday when the Senate Committee on FCT carried out an oversight visit to various project sites being constructed by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCDA) in Abuja.
Bello said the cost approval of NASS complex rehabilitation by President Muhammadu Buhari was N37 billion which was included in the 2020 budget of the Federal Capital Development Administration.
The amount, he said, was downwardly reviewed to N9.25 billion in the revised 2020 budget to enable the FCDA to pay contractors, leaving a balance of N21.025 billion.
According to him, the total cost of rehabilitation work which stood at N30,229, 290,830.35 billion was not part of the National Assembly’s annual budget of N128 billion as being insinuated in some quarters.
He also disclosed that the contract, which was awarded on 30th December, 2021, has a completion period of two years.
He stated that the National Assembly Phase II, popularly known as “the White House” was realised from 1996 to 1999 by ITB Nigeria Ltd without any major rehabilitation works carried out on the building over the years.
Speaking on other projects embarked upon by the administration, the Minister said the Federal Secretariat complex and the construction of southern park way from Christian Center to ring road had commenced.
Others he said are rehabilitation of the expansion of Outer Southern Expressway, provision of engineering infrastructure for Wuye District, rehabilitation and expansion of Outer Southern Expressway Villa Roundabout and completion of B6, B12 and Circle Road in Central Area.
The Minister pointed out how the FCDA decided to prioritize key projects due to paucity of funds, but assured that all projects which were ongoing would be completed in record time.
Bello said: “And in deciding the ones that fit into that category, we looked at the ones that will give the maximum benefit to the maximum number of people.
“All the four projects we visited, you find that they are all road projects that are meant to link one section of the Abuja city to another and that is the whole idea.
“The master plan has been designed in such a way that they complement each other.
“So if you finish one portion and you don’t do the other one, then you don’t get the full utility of that particular road.”
Bello further indicated that the ministry is determined to ensure that a number of projects are completed before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
“Some of them we intend to develop them to a level whereby the next team should be able to do it.
“Ultimately, the objective is to make Abuja a vibrant city; a city where people will feel comfortable; where there wouldn’t be traffic gridlock and where facilities will work.”
On his part, the Chairman Senate Committee on FCT Sen. Tolu Odebiyi (APC Ogun-East), who led the committee members, said, “what we have seen is quite impressive.
“We believe that in the twilight of this administration, in the next month, it is important we catalogue all the projects that are being done and prioritize the ones that must be completed before the end of this term.
“This is so that we can also make sure we provide the adequate funding and budget for it.
“Their budget is going to be forwarded to us very shortly and it is important we come and see the state of the work and the completion rate of the programme before we take them on.”