By Naomi Sharang
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday, inaugurated construction of the permanent office building of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) worth N11.65 billion.
Performing the ceremony at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, Lawan said the foundation laying marked an end to a 20-year delay for the take-off of the structure since establishment of the the commission in 2000.
Lawan said that, “This is an important day for us and for our democracy. We all recall how this arm of government, the legislature, has been do disadvantaged because of its non-existence in the past.”
He added that the project should have been in existence “not 20 years ago, it should have been in existence may be more than 60 years ago when Nigeria became independent. But better late than never.”
He said that the management of national assembly would continue to be committed to release funds for the completion of the permanent office of NASC.
“With the 24-month duration for the completion of the project, we will ensure we oversight because it is a critical project.”
Lawan also urged the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to expedite action on the processes of ensuring that the dilapidating parts of the national assembly were rehabilitated.
Earlier, Chairman of the commission, Mr Ahmed Amshi, described the construction of the NASC permanent office building as a “historic” feat recorded under the ninth assembly.
According to him, the fifth assembly found it expedient to reengage Triad Associates Ltd. for the execution of the project given their professional competence to ensure continuity.
He added that at the point of conceiving the project in 2010, the construction cost was estimated at N2.5 billion.
Amshi, however, explained that due to inflationary trends and incorporation of modern materials and facilities, the project would cost N11.65 billion to be completed.
“The capital provision of National Assembly Service Commission in this year’s budget (2021) is N3 billion; even though this is not enough to pay the thirty percent mobilisation fees as required by law.
“The contractor was able to mobilise to site and acquired reasonable quantity of materials with what we are able to pay the firm,” the NASC chairman added.
On his part, Chairman House Committee on Public Service Matters, Rep. Sani Bala said, “we will ensure adequate funding, uninterrupted adequate funding for the project.
“We will release adequate funds in 2022 budget and that of 2023.
“The contractor had assured the national assembly management that they will complete the project as and when due which is within 24 months.
“We want a situation whereby this project will be commissioned by the 9th National Assembly,” Bala said. (NAN)