The Senate has urged the Federal Government to prioritise the funding and completion of the permanent site of the National Library of Nigeria.
The motion, moved by Olugbenga Ashafa, a senator representing Lagos East Eenatorial District on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) seeks to minimise the losses incurred from the failure of the FG to complete the National Library since the project was conceptualised in 2002.
Rising contract cost
The red chamber pointed out that the project was awarded to Messrs Reynolds Construction Company at the sum of N8.590 billion with a timeline of 22 months.
They also observed that after a series of false starts leading to initial suspension of work sometime in 2009, the project scope was reduced from the initial 8 floor-plan to 5 floors and the contract sum of the reduced scope was reviewed to N17 billion from the original sum of N8.590 billion.
The Senators said they are worried that the continued failure to properly fund the project within the specified period would cause the government losses, modestly estimated to be in the range of N40-N60 billion and that if this failure to fund the project expeditiously continues, it might cost the government even more in the long run.
The Senate subsequently mandated its Committee on Education to meet with the Ministers of Education and the Federal Capital Territory and the National Librarian and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Library of Nigeria to adopt an appropriation strategy that would ensure the completion of the project starting from the 2018 Appropriation Bill.
They also advised the FG to embark only on projects that can be adequately financed to the tune of its budgetary appropriation.