A member of the House Representatives, Bamidele Salam, has kicked against the planned renovation of the National Assembly complex at the cost of N 37 billion describing the move as a “wrong policy.”
Hon. Salam, representing Ede North/Ede South/Egbedore/Ejigbo Federal Constituency of Osun State in a series of tweets yesterday, described the decision as “wrong policy” and called for the funds to be channelled to interest-free loans for 370, 000 small businesses across the country.
“I am a member of the National Assembly but I sincerely do not think we need a 37 billion Naira renovation of that edifice. Apart from the Chambers of the NASS which need[s] some upgrade in the audio and recording system, the entire structure needs no renovation more than our classrooms, hospitals and roads which are mostly in a decrepit condition,” the Peoples Democratic Party legislator said in his tweet.
“As an advocate of an aggressive micro-credit strategy for job creation, I would rather want to see 370,000 small businesses get 100k interest free loan within 12 months rather than have 1 edifice swallow that sum within the same period,” he said.
The lawmaker suggested that better use could be made of funds allocated to “renovations” of some edifices.
“If we mop up all funds voted for renovations of the Presidential villa and other offices of political leaders and top civil servants, we will raise more than a quarter of a trillion naira that can be injected into SMES in the coming year,” he tweeted.
The lawmaker also pledged to champion his opposition to the renovation once the house reconvenes in January.
“I will, by God’s grace, be making this open advocacy on the floor of the House of Representatives when the House reconvenes in January. It is never too late to change a wrong policy,” Hon. Salam added.
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the sum of N37 billion for the phase 1 renovation of the National Assembly complex as contained in the 2020 budget.
The senate president Ahmed Lawan, had earlier disclosed that the president had approved the renovations after lawmakers complained about the state of the facilities, saying no major renovation has been done on the building in the 20 years since it was commissioned.
The N37 billion is only for the phase 1 of the renovation compromising only the chambers and committee rooms in the white house.
“When we are through with phase 1, we will go to phase 2. It is not under the control of the National Assembly. The complex is a national asset and is for the FCDA to take care,” Senator Lawan said.
As of now, there is no indication how much the phase 2 and 3 of the renovation will cost.