Senate Committee on the FCT conducts on-the-spot assessment of renovation works at the National Assembly, demands well transformed Hallowed Chambers to be handed over latest by April 2023 amid scarce funds
The Senate has issued a marching order to the contractors handling renovation work at the National Assembly (NASS), to speed up and completely deliver the project.
As of Saturday, Engineer Tajudeen Olanipekun, Site Engineer of Visible Concept; the construction firm handling the N30billion renovation work, is reported to have also demanded more mobilisation funds in the presence of the Executive Secretary of Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Shehu Hadi Ahmad, during an on-the-spot assessment of the projects by Senate Committee on FCT.
Contractors handling the projects to be delivered in phases between January and August 2023 were given a N9 billion mobilisation fee as disclosed by the FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, in June this year during the first on-the-spot assessment visit made on it by the Senate Committee on FCT. However, during the second on-the-spot assessment visit carried out by the Senator Smart Adeyemi-led Committee on Saturday, members of the committee frowned at the slow pace of work.
According to Senator Adeyemi, while the renovation works being carried out at both chambers were commendable, he pointedly told the contractor that, except for a miracle, the January 2023 deadline for delivery of transformed Hallowed Chambers was no longer feasible.
“This project must not be abandoned in any way. The Hallowed Chambers are expected to be completed and delivered by the end of January 2023. But the level of work seen here today is not pointing at that which, to us, is a threat to our legislative duties and functions.
Non-completion of this project at designated times is even a threat to democracy itself because we don’t want the incoming government to inherit it as an abandoned one. So, this committee wants to know challenges confronting the contractors as regards expeditious execution of the projects,” he asked.
In his response, the Site Engineer said fluctuations in the value of Naira to the US dollar have been problematic for them in the importation of required materials and equipment coupled with the need for more mobilisation funds from FCDA.
Apparently disturbed by the response, Senator Adeyemi told the Executive Secretary of FCDA to get in touch with the Minister for more funds for the contractors.
“The Executive Secretary of FCDA and Chief of Staff to the Minister, you have heard the contractor. Please give them more money for this project because we don’t want to hand over problem to the incoming government. Even if it is bond to be taken from a bank, let it be done for timely completion of the project, please. For us in the National Assembly, we want well transformed Hallowed Chambers to be handed over latest by April 2023,” he said.
The FCDA had, in March this year, due to serious dilapidation of the National Assembly Complex, awarded contracts for the rehabilitation of critical segments like the Hallowed Chambers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Dome in the ‘White House’ as well as the construction of the Office of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) and Library at the cost of N30bilion.