Senate investigates abandoned Centenary City project

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The Senate has set up a seven member Ad Hoc Committee to carry out investigation into the stalled Centenary City project in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Abuja, 10 years after commissioning.

This followed a motion by the Deputy Leader of the Senate, Sen. Yisa Oyelola at plenary on Tuesday.

The seven member committee is to be chaired by the Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin.

It is mandated to conduct a thorough investigation into the non completion of the project as well as come up with recommendations on the way forward.

The senate also mandated the ad hoc committee to review the original Public, Private Partnership(PPP) agreement and recommend amendments if necessary, to facilitate smooth and expeditious completion.

The senate further urged the Federal Government to prioritise the revival of the project by providing appropriate support, resolving regulatory issues and other impediments in view of it’s importance to national development.

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Oyelola, while moving the motion, said the project, which commenced in 2014 to commemorate 100 years of Nigeria’s amalgamation, was estimated to cost 18.5 billion dollars.

He said the city was estimated to create over 150,000 construction jobs, 240,000 permanent well paying jobs, residential accommodation for 200,000 residents and facilities, to attract over 500,000 daily visitors among others.

“Abuja Centenary City was designated as a free trade zone under the regulatory oversight of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority(NEPZA).

“The city has developmental estimate of less than 7 per cent of raod construction and other critical infrastructure as adjudged by the report by the Independent Investigation Assessment(November 2023),”he said.

The lawmaker said the development fell short of the original vision of the project.

According to him, there is ambiguity in regulatory and implementation issues between the concerned stakeholders, leading to neglect of the project.

Contributing, Sen. Jibrin Echocho(Kogi East) said the project should be handed over to the private sector, adding that it would be difficult for the Federal Government to handle the project in view of dwindling revenue.

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“The Ministry of Finance and Debt Management Office(DMO) should put together a team of investment bankers to come up with modalities for completion and kickoff of the project.

The Senate Chief Whip, Sen. Ali Ndume, commended Sen. Oyelola for coming up with the motion.

He urged the Senate to follow through the completion of the project, adding that the 10th Senate would go down in history for ensuring the completion.

He expressed worry that “New Cairo,” a similar project in Egypt, which was commissioned within the same period as the Centenary City had been completed.

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio said the completion of the project must be taken seriously.

He said, “It was meant to be a private sector driven project.

“Even Saudi Arabia is building a new city and we must take it seriously.’

 

 

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