—Vows to complete it in 9-months
—It’s a cherished national asset–PS Umar
–As Senate visits project on oversight function
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Federal Government Tuesday said that about N10.06 billion has so far been released to Messers Julius Berger Plc for the construction of the State House Clinic, Presidential VIP Wing, Abuja.
The project which is expected to stop medical tourism in the country when completed has a total budget of N20.9 billion.
Already, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijanni Unar, has assured that the project will be delivered by December 31, 2022.
This is as the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs has expressed appreciation at the progress of work at the project.
Giving an overview on the financial status of the project, the Permanent Secretary, said the Federal Government has released the sum of N10.06 billion to the contractors for the ongoing project since 2021.
Umar said the N416.6 million budgeted for the project in 2020 and N1.06 billion in 2021, have already been paid in full.
The Permanent Secretary indicated that out of the N20.8billion budgeted for the project in 2022, the Federal Government has paid N8.5billion.
Umar recalled that in line with due process, President Muhammadu Buhari had granted approval to engage Messers Julius Berger Plc to review and develop the concept design and proceed with the construction of the project as a turnkey contract.
He said, ”Accordingly, on 29th July 2021, the company was instructed to proceed with the review of the concept design and other site works simultaneously, based on which a roadmap/timeline for the construction of the facility was developed.
”In furtherance to this, the site was handed over to M/s JBN on 23rd August, 2021 which proceeded to undertake necessary and extensive site survey and other ancillary works paving the way for the ground breaking and foundation laying that was performed by the Chief of Staff to the President on 1st November, 2021.
”It is instructive to note that the schedule of payment plan which is linked with the work plan that was negotiated with the company in line with the advice of the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning outlining milestones at which the client is expected to effect regular periodic payment for work done in order to sustain the momentum of work and to deliver/commission the project by 31st December, 2022 is yet to be fully aligned.
“I should like to say that my remarks will be incomplete without expressing my profound and unreserved gratitude to you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for the sustained interest in this project, which by all standards will be a cherished national asset and a legacy of the present administration,” he said.
Expressing satisfaction at the progress of work during an oversight visit, the leader of the senate delegation and Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governnental Affairs, Senator Danjuma La”ah said when the project is completed, it would address the issue of medical tourism.
He said, ”For the remarkable steps so far reached on the project site, I am highly impressed,” the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Danjuma La’ah, said during an oversight inspection visit by members of the Committee.
The Senator, who described the progress of the work as fantastic, commended the contractors, Julius Berger Plc and the management of State House, led by the Permanent Secretary, Tijanni Umar, for complying with the time schedule for the completion of the project.
”We will take it as a point of duty to keep a tab on this project until it is completed, ” Senator La’ah said.
He recalled that when he assumed the leadership of the Committee, he had pledged that the Senate would ensure that the clinic is properly equipped to provide world class medical services to principal officers in the Presidential Villa.
Members of the Senate Committee that inspected the project were, Senators Istifanus Gyang (PDP- Plateau North) , Mpigi Barinada (PDP-Rivers South-East), Tofowomo Nicholas (PDP-Ondo South), Nmachi Ama (PDP-Ebonyi South), Gershon Bassey (PDP-Cross River South), Bulus Amos (APC-Gombe South), Dimka Ayuba (APC-Plateau Central), Frank Ibezim (APC-Imo North APC) and Halliru Jika (APC-Bauchi Central).
The regional manager of Julius Berger Nigeria, Oliver Berger, who took the lawmakers through the milestones on the projects so far, assured them that the project which is situated on an area of 2800sqm will be completed on schedule.