Salini Nigeria Limited, the contractor handling the landmark Nigeria Cultural Centre and Millennium Tower, has admitted that the delay in the completion of the project is occasioned by inadequate funding by the federal government.
The company’s Managing Director, Dr Piero Capitanio, disclosed this yesterday at a project tour of the centre and the Inner Southern Expressway (ISEX) by FCT Minister, Malam Musa Bello Mohammad.
He lamented that there was no budgetary provision this year for the project, discernible by it trademark cluster of three vertical towers that adorn the Abuja skies.
Capitanio said the development had prompted the Italian firm to suspend construction work.
The project was initiated in 2005 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and is only 38 per cent completed as over N35.7billion has been sunk into it.
Capitanio said an additional sum of $500million (N38.2billion) was required for its completion.
The estimated amount required is N35.6 billion at official rate of 1 EUR to N385, while variation of prices and extra amount required is N1.2billion.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 total surface of 192.000 square mile. It requires 3.690 tonnes of steel reinforcement and total concrete of 133.600 million cubic.
The cultural centre is touted as a “city in a city.” It boasts of the national library, museum, indoor swimming pool, offices, luxury hotel, coffee shops, boutiques, auditorium and underground parking space for 1,200 vehicles.
On top of the tower, accessible by an escalator, is a revolving restaurant, where dinners can take a panoramic view of the city.
The FCT Minister, Mohammed, described the project as strategic as it would make Abuja an international city and boost tourism and culture upon completion.
Capitanio said the work being done was to International specification, adding the design was submitted and approved by The federal government.
He also promised that ISEX which would ease traffic burden from Keffi road to Abuja heartland, would be opened to the public latest by August.