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Lawmakers budget fresh N30bn for National Assembly renovation

Lawmakers budget fresh N30bn for National Assembly renovation

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Lawmakers have budgeted an additional N30bn for the renovation of the National Assembly Complex in the 2024 Appropriation Bill.

The N30 billion intended for building renovations was part of the N344.85 billion budgeted for the National Assembly, which increased their funding from N197.93 billion.

The N344.85 billion allocated to the legislature by President Bola Tinubu on January 1 is the highest amount ever.

The additional N30 billion takes the total amount spent on the refurbishment of the National Assembly compound to N60 billion.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, who is also the President of the National Assembly, had on June 30, 2023, declared that Tinubu would in December, last year inaugurate the N30bn different ongoing projects at the National Assembly.

Akpabio said, “The entire complex of the National Assembly is like a construction site due to ongoing general renovation work and fresh projects which would, on completion, be inaugurated by President Bola Tinubu in December this year (2023).”

The renovation was initially billed to be completed and delivered in August 2022 but the delivery date was later moved to January 2023 and then December 2023.

As of January 2024, the renovation of the National Assembly Complex is yet to be completed with skeletal work ongoing on the premises.

Our correspondent, who was at the site on Saturday, observed that the contractor, Visible Construction Company, was still at work.

An official of the construction firm, who spoke to our correspondent anonymously, said, “People keep blaming us for not finishing the project but those with the money have refused to release money to us.

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“How are we expected to finish the work without money? If money is released to our company, the project will be done in no time.”

Earlier during an oversight visit by the Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, the site engineer, Tajudeen Olanipekun,  blamed “fluctuations in the value of naira to the United States dollar for the delay.”

“This has hampered the importation of required materials and equipment, in addition to the need for more funds from the FCDA,” he said.

However, the Head, Public Relations, Federal Capital Development Agency, Richard Nduul, in June disclosed that N19bn had been paid to the construction company.

He said, “I would like to refer you to a recent press briefing by the Executive Secretary, Engr. Shehu Hadi Ahmad, just about three weeks ago, where disclosed that so far about N19bn has been expended out of the sum of N30bn being the cost of the contract awarded in 2021 to Messrs Visible Construction Nigeria Limited with a completion date of August 2023.

“This project when completed, will bring the Complex to the status of a world-class parliamentary building that will ensure both the comfort, convenience and functionality of the complex,” Nduul added.

However, when our correspondent called Nduul to get an update on how much had been expended on the project, he said he was on sick leave.

He said, “Please call back on Monday so that I can get the records from the concerned department.”

In the same vein, our reporter reached out to the site engineer, Olanipekun for comment on the amount paid, but he refused to pick up his calls and even blocked our correspondent from reaching him.

He had also refused to reply to the text messages sent to him.

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