N38b debt endangers Abuja Millennium Tower project
For failing to pay an outstanding N38 billion owed it, the contractor handling the landmark Nigeria Cultural Centre and Millennium Tower in Abuja, Salini Construction Nigeria Limited, has abandoned the job.
The company admitted that the delay in completing the project was occasioned by inadequate funding from the Federal Government.Its Managing Director, Dr. Piero Capitanio, made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja during a tour of the centre and the Inner Southern Expressway (ISEX) by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Musa Bello.
The project was initiated in 2005 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and is already 38 percent completed with over N35.7billion already sunk into it.Capitunio lamented that there was no budgetary provision this year for the job, made up of trademark cluster of three vertical towers that adorn the Abuja skies.
He said the development prompted the Italian firm to suspend construction work, noting that an additional $500 million (N38.2 billion) was required for its completion.The estimated amount required is N35.6 billion at official rate of 1 EUR- N385, while variation of prices and extra amount required is N1.2 billion. The original cost of the contract is N69.3 billion.’’
The world-class centre, which upon handover will make Abuja Africa’s cultural capital, occupies a surface of 192.000 square mile. It requires 3.690 tonnes of steel reinforcement and total concrete of 133.600 million cubic.
The facility is touted as a “City in a city “. It boasts of a national library, museum, indoor swimming pool, offices, luxury hotel, coffee shops, boutiques, an auditorium and an underground parking space for 1,200 vehicles among others.Top of the Tower, accessible by an escalator with a revolving restaurant, where dinners can take a panoramic view of the city.
On the way out, the minister said government was already working on ways to pay the contractor to enable it resume work.Bello described the project as strategic to the city, as it would make the federal capital an international city compared to any where in the world as well as boost tourism and culture upon completion.