Ten Years After, Senate Begins Probe Into Failure Of $18.5bn Abuja Centenary Project

TEN years after the launch of the Abuja centenary city, the Senate has opened up an investigation into the failed $18.5bn public-private sector-led project.

It is seeking a revival of the lofty project under the 10th Assembly.

The Senate has therefore set up an ad-hoc committee to be chaired by the deputy Senate President, Sen. Barau Jibrin.

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Yisa Oyelola representing Kwara South, noted that the original estimated investment for the Abuja Centenary Economic City project in 2014 pegged at $18.5bn, was designated as a free trade zone under the regulatory oversight of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA).

Other lawmakers, however, express the belief that the project can only be resuscitated through a PPP arrangement, obliterating the idea that the Federal Government would inject funds into it.

Chairman Senate Committee on Customs, Senator Isah Jibrin, further maintained that the project should be self-funded one over a period, as he called on the Ministry of Finance, to put together a team of investment bankers to fund it.

The Senate therefore mandated the Committee on Federal Capital Territory, to urgently investigate the factors impeding the completion of the project.

It specifically tasked the committees to review the public-private partnership agreement and recommend amendments, to facilitate an expeditious completion within a defined timeframe.

The Senate also urged the FG, to prioritise the revival of the project by providing appropriate support, resolving regulatory issues, and addressing any other impediments, given its beneficial potential to the economy and people of Nigeria after 10 years of stalled progress.

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