By Felix Khanoba
The Federal Government says about N50 billion would be needed to complete the construction of National Library Headquarters, Abuja, whose contract was initially awarded in 2006 at a total cost of N8 billion.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who made this known a while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Friday, said efforts are in to gear to ensure the completion of the gigantic project.
“You may have been aware that the project was awarded in 2006 at a total cost of N8 billion. By 2013, the project cost was reviewed upward to N18 billion. Work was however stopped by the end of 2013 due to poor-funding.
“When this administration came into power, the contractor submitted a new bill of N78 billion to complete the project. We set up a committee to evaluate the project. This committee has submitted a bill of N50 billion. We have forwarded the report to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) for further appraisal,” the minister said.
While saying the recommendation of the BPP will be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council for consideration, Adamu said the ministry is already pursuing alternative sources of funding especially from special intervention windows.
He, however, blamed the enormous increase in the cost of project to exchange rate fluctuations, necessary upgrades, modernization, among other variables.
On the activities of the National Library of Nigeria (NLN), the minister said the agency has been expanding its branches across the country as well as rehabilitating existing ones, adding that contracts for the renovation of the Lagos, Benue, Nasarawa, Imo, Adamawa and Plateau branches have been awarded while others will come on stream next year
His words: “New branches are to be established in Delta, Anambra, Ekiti, Kebbi, Kogi and Jigawa states. We have completed permanent branch buildings in Gombe and Katsina states.
“It must also be noted that we are in a digital world. We are therefore in the process of providing free internet access for our library users, beginning with Lagos, Abuja and Enugu branches. We have requested Galaxy Backbone to increase our Internet bandwidth in these branches and the process is ongoing.
“We are also expanding completing and renovating e-libraries in all our Unity Schools and each school will get qualified librarian to manage the learning resources.”