Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Nyesom Wike has reaffirmed the commitment of the FCT Administration to complete all strategic projects in the territory within the shortest possible time.
Wike made the affirmation while inspecting some ongoing projects within the city. The projects include the official residence of the Vice President, roads B12, B6, Circle Road, and Abuja Central Area, as well as the Southern Parkway, which is nearing completion.
The minister, who assured the contractors that the necessary funds would be made available to ensure that the projects were completed by May 2024, commended the contractors for the quality and pace of work of the projects.
Speaking at the official residence of the Vice President, being constructed by Julius Berger, Wike said: “You made a promise to us that you will complete this project within 7-8 months. Even though we have not mobilised you, you have shown concern by working.
“It is very important and shows that you have confidence in us. Let me assure you that we will mobilise you before December. After that, you have to expedite work to ensure completion before May 29, 2024.
“I believe that you have the capacity to achieve that. I also believe there is no need to wait. If you know my antecedent, you know that I don’t make promises I cannot fulfil.
“As far as I have gotten the support of Mr President and Vice President, I can tell you go ahead and put everything in hand so that we can achieve this so that all the stories of abandoned properties will no longer be there. It will be a thing of the past. The manpower shows that you are really serious, so just go ahead and we will give you the funds to be able to mobilise.”
The Minister said he had the backing of the President to identify key projects that are deliverable within one year and the projects inspected fall within the category, stressing that the FCTA will continue to fund them.
Wike, who lamented the increased cost of executing projects that were awarded years ago but abandoned, said this hike in cost was putting a lot of strain on the finances of the FCTA and stunting the growth and development of the nation’s capital.
He said: “Look at the Vice President’s residence that was awarded in 2010 at the cost of N7 billion. That project was abandoned. And we have called back Julius Berger and said ‘Look, can you complete this project within eight months?’ They said yes but they can’t continue with it at the same cost, which is obvious.
“A project that was awarded in 2010 at N7 billion was abandoned because of no funding. They said they cannot do it for less than N15 billion, looking at the cost of building materials. We have told them that before the end of the month, we will fund them so that they are able to finish it.
“For me, we are happy because the promises made by Mr President of renewed hope have come back. Residents of Abuja are now seeing that projects abandoned are now being completed and they are seeing renewed hope for this country and commend Mr President,” he added.
On the funding for the projects, the minister said the FCTA is not relying completely on the federation account as the administration is working on improving its internally generated revenue (IGR) to fund the projects.
His words: “As I speak to you today, we have done very well in terms of IGR and these monies would be attached to specific projects so that there is no reason to say there is no money to execute the projects. For example, what we are doing now is we have submitted some projects’ budgets for 2023, Mr President has promised to transmit them to the National Assembly.
“We are asking that they allow us to spend N61 billion before 2024 because we have the money and we want to use the money to execute specific projects so that by May 29, these projects are completed, then we take other projects for 2024. So, be assured that no project we have started will be abandoned.”
Other projects to toe this line, according to Wike, include the Millennium Towers, which, he said, when completed will change not only the Abuja landscape but the economy of the territory as well.
The contractors all pledged to deliver their projects within the specified timeframe.