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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Senate investigates the delay in the completion of the $18 billion Abuja Centenary City project

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The Senate has set up an ad hoc committee to investigate factors impeding the completion of the Abuja Centenary City project after 10 years.

The Senate resolution followed the adoption of a motion at the plenary on Tuesday.

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The motion titled ” Urgent need to revive and complete the stalled Centenary City Project Abuja to realise its economic and development potential” was sponsored by Yisa, Oyelola (APC- Kwara South)

Mr Oyelola in his lead debate said the Abuja centenary economic city project commenced in 2014 through a public-private partnership to develop a modern city in the mould of Dubai.

He said the project was earlier designed to commemorate the 100 years of Nigeria’s amalgamation celebration.

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According to him, the original vision for the project was for it to serve as a potential economic hub with plans to create over 150,000 construction jobs.

Mr Oyelola said the project was also designed to create 250,000 permanent well-paying Jobs, residential accommodation for over 200, 000 residents, and facilities to attract over 500,000 daily visitors.

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He said the original estimated investment for the project stood at $18.5 billion as of 2014.

According to him, the centenary city was also 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).

He expressed concern that the project has been stalled for almost 10 years since its commencement.

He expressed worry that the project had recorded developmental estimates of less than seven per cent of road construction and other critical infrastructure.

This, he said was contained in the independent investigation assessment of Nov. 2023.

The Kwara senator said the report fell drastically short of expectations of the original vision of the project’s conception.

He said reviving and completing the project would have great benefits for Nigeria, including job creation, and increasing Nigeria’s profile as an attractive destination for foreign direct investment, tourism and overall national development.

Isa Jubril,(APC-Kogi) in his contribution said that there was a 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.

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

The Senate in its further resolution specifically tasked the committee to review the original public-private partnership agreement and recommend amendments if necessary.

This, it said was to facilitate smooth and expeditious completion of the project within the defined timeframe.

It also urged the federal government to prioritise the revival of the Abuja centenary city project by providing appropriate support and resolving regulatory issues.

It urged the government to address any other impediments, given its beneficial potential to the economy and people of Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ad hoc committee has the Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jubrin as chairman.

Other members of the committee include Solomon Adeola, Titus Zam, and Aminu Tambuwal, among others.

President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, urged the committee to turn in a report of the investigation in four weeks.

NAN reports that Centenary City in Abuja is a private sector-driven project that was launched to mark the 100th anniversary of Nigeria by 1 January 2014.

The ambitious project is expected to cost $18 billion ( N2.4tr) and take 10 – 15 years to complete.

It was to be built to model global smart cities like Dubai, Monaco and Singapore.

(NAN)

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