In a recent development that has raised eyebrows, the National Assembly has increased its budget allocation for the renovation of its complex by an additional N30 billion in the 2024 Appropriation Bill.
This increment brings the total expenditure for the renovation to a staggering N60 billion.
Originally, the National Assembly’s budget for 2024 was set at N197.93 billion.
However, this figure was raised significantly to N344.85 billion, as signed into law by President Bola Tinubu on January 1.
This budget is the largest ever allocated to the Nigerian legislature, marking a new high in legislative spending.
Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, who also serves as the President of the National Assembly, had earlier announced that President Tinubu was expected to inaugurate N30 billion worth of different ongoing projects at the National Assembly in December 2023.
Akpabio described the complex as a “construction site” due to the extensive renovation work and fresh projects.
Originally scheduled for completion in August 2022, the renovation has faced multiple delays.
The delivery date was first moved to January 2023 and then again to December 2023. As of January 2024, the renovation is still underway, with only partial progress visible on the premises.
According to Punch, as at Saturday, the contractor, Visible Construction Company, was still at work.
An official of the construction firm, who spoke to anonymously, said, “People keep blaming us for not finishing the project but those with the money have refused to release money to us.
“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.”
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.