Friday, 3 July 2015

Contractor abandons N42bn NILS project – DG

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE Director-General of the National Institute of Legislative Studies, NILS, Ladi Hamalai, yesterday disclosed that the contractor handling construction of the N42 billion permanent site project of the Institute has abandoned the project due to paucity of fund.
The DG who stated this when the institute paid visit to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Yakubu Dogara explained that the institute had paid about N17 billion to Julius Berger which is the firm handling the project before the company decided to stop work.
According to Hamalai, NILS was owing N25 billion balance to complete the project even as she said that all efforts to ensure continuity of the project proved abortive following backlog of unpaid debt to the contractor.
She further stated that the delay in the completion of the project could frustrate the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with John Hopkins University, adding that the cost of the project which was initially put at N52 billion was reduced to N42 billion.
The Director General said that the institute had recorded remarkable success since its inception among which was its affiliation with University of Benin and the commencement of post graduate diploma and Master’s degree programme in Legislative drafting, Parliamentary Administration and Legislative Studies.
Hamalai said NILS drafted 161 bills and scrutinize 95 bills between 2012 and 2014 and organised 349 training programmes for legislators and legislative aides during the period under review.
She said, “The Institute has also published several manuals and guides for the legislature on the areas of legislative oversight, practice and procedure, gender mainstreaming, induction of new legislators and code of ethics.
“Others include important research and policy analysis reports, annual reviews of government’s revenue and expenditure plans and budget analysis.”
Meanwhile In a related development, Adamu Fika, Chairman of National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), Adamu Fika, has expressed concern over the challenges facing the commission including finance and policy issues.
Fika who alongside some members of the commission paid a visit to the Speaker said paucity of fund may jeopardise the statutory functions of the commission.
Some of the duties of the Commission he explained include appointment, promotion and discipline of all staff of the National Assembly as well as the appointment of the legislative aides.
Responding, the Speaker Yakubu Dogara commended the leadership of the commission for providing exemplary leadership and efficiency.
He urged the commission to ensure transparency and eliminate all forms of discrimination between the Senate and House of Representatives.
Dogara who noted that NASC Act promotes the policy of non-interference in the legislative functions, promised full cooperation of the National Assembly in ensuring that legislature does not suffer.
On the issue of fund, Hon. Dogara expressed concern over the reduction in the annual budgetary allocation to the National Assembly from N150 Ben to N120 billion which takes care of the 469 members, their aides and all other organs including National Assembly Service Commission and NILS.
He advised them to tighten their belts by ensuring transparency in the utilization of budget allocation.

Report by :
Vanguard News

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