Senate set to probe non-completion of lingering Abuja Centenary City project

Sharon EboesomiMay 8, 20245 min

The Abuja Centenary project commenced in 2014 through a public-private partnership to develop a modern city to commemorate 100 years of Nigeria’s amalgamation.

Senate set to probe non-completion of lingering Abuja Centenary City project

The Senate has set up a 7-member ad-hoc committee to investigate the factors impeding the completion of the $ 18.5 billion Abuja Centenary Economic City project 10 years after commencement.

This is as it also tasked the committee to specifically review the original public-private partnership agreement and recommend amendments if necessary, to facilitate smooth and expeditious completion of the project within a defined timeframe.

The Red Chamber also urged the Federal Government to prioritise the revival of the Abuja Centenary City project by providing appropriate support, resolving regulatory issues, and addressing any other impediments given its beneficial potential to the economy and people of Nigeria after 10 years of stalled progress.

These resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion in the “Urgent need to revive and complete the stalled Centenary City Project, Abuja to realise its economic and development potential,” sponsored by Senator Oyelola Ashiru (APC, Kwara South).

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Presenting the motion, Senator Ashiru disclosed that the Abuja Centenary Economic City project commenced in 2014 through a public-private partnership to develop a modern city in the mould of Dubai to commemorate 100 years of Nigeria’s amalgamation celebration.

According to him, the original vision for the Abuja Centenary Economic City project was established to serve as a potential economic hub, with plans to create over 150,000 construction jobs, 250,000 permanent well-paying jobs, residential accommodation for over 200,000 residents, and facilities to attract over 500,000 daily visitors among others.

He said, “The original estimated investment for the Abuja Centenary Economic City project was 18.5 billion United States Dollars as of 2014, equivalent to the size of Nigeria’s national budget at today’s exchange rate

“The Abuja Centenary City was designated as a free trade zone under the regulatory oversight of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), without prejudice to other statutory agencies like the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Abuja Investment Company (AIC) and Abuja Infrastructure Investment Centre (AIIC).

“Significant progress has been made on the similarly ambitious $ 6 billion Eko Atlantic City development project in Lagos. A 25Km² land reclamation project with varied completed residential towers, an 8-lane boulevard, marinas, water treatment facilities, and power infrastructure among others,” he added.

Ashiru further stressed that the Abuja Centenary City project had stalled for almost ten years since its commencement, with developmental estimates of less than 7% of road construction and other critical infrastructure as adjudged by the report of the independent investigation assessment, (November 2023). 

According to him, “This falls drastically short of expectations and the original vision of the project’s conception.”

Expressing concern over the ambiguity in the regulatory and implementation issues between the concerned stakeholders which led to the neglect of the Abuja Centenary Economic City designs blueprint, he clarified that reviving and completing the Abuja Centenary City project will have immense benefits for Nigeria including job creation, elevating Nigeria’s profile as an attractive destination for foreign investment, tourism and events, and overall national development.

Supporting the motion, Senator Isa Jibrin (APC, Kogi East) called for the need for the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Finance to look out for investment bankers to take over the completion of the project.

On his part, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South) said it would be a cheering news and good report if the senate could facilitate the completion of the project, given the several uncompleted estates in the FCT.

The ad-hoc committee which would be chaired by the Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin has Senators Solomon Adeola, Titus Zam, and Aminu Tambuwal, among others as its members.

Meanwhile, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio urged the committee to conduct the investigation and report back in four weeks.

Sharon Eboesomi

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