The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Wednesday disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari will in the first week of October present and lay before the two chambers of the National Assembly, the proposed N19.76 trillion budget for the 2023 financial year.
THISDAY had reported that the federal government planned to spend N19.76 trillion in 2023, a 15.37 per cent increase from the amount earmarked in the 2022 budget, as well as a projected deficit of N11.30 trillion.
Gbajabiamila, who made the disclosure for the 2023 budget presentation during the inspection of the ongoing renovation work on the green chamber, as well as the construction of the National Assembly Service Commission office, said that the temporary chamber will be ready for use when the House resumes from its two-month recess next Tuesday, September 20th.
The Speaker said the 10th Assembly would most likely be inaugurated in the temporary chamber, except the project managers would be able to complete the renovation of the main chamber months before the scheduled deadline.
On whether the temporary chamber can accommodate all the 360 lawmakers, Gbajabiamila said: “You can see the configuration, it is not just this place, it is also upstairs.
“You see that the old chamber has been ripped apart. The innovations are going to be like state of the art. We will at the end of the day be proud to have the chamber that match the best standard all over the world. I’m quite impressed with the work so far. I will encourage them to double the pace. Because as it is, unfortunately or fortunately, this is not for the benefit of the 9th Assembly, it is for the benefit of the 10th Assembly.
“The old chamber is not going to be ready until sometime in August 2023 so we are talking about close to year. But so far so good, we are happy and this temporary site where we will be sitting for the next nine, 10 months is honestly a far cry from where we used to be but they have done well in adapting. This used to be hearing room to a legislative chamber. Adaptation – you made a lot of innovations. We are ready to work. The 10th Assembly is most likely (taking off here) unless work can be accelerated but we don’t want to accelerate work and compromise quality of work. So is better late but done well, everything worth doing is worth doing well.”
Speaking with journalists at the construction site for the National Assembly Service Commission, Bassey Olusegun Etuk, a commissioner in the commission, said the 400 capacity building was pegged at the cost of N11.6 billion.
He said: “This project is the permanent site of the National Assembly Service Commission and the reasons we are moving here are various: security, proximity to the service targeted functions. Here we have enough space, we are presently at an occupied rented apartment and here we cater for all our needs.”
On his part, Michael Baka, a senior architectural consultant for the project, said it is 70% completed, adding that it will be ready by April next year, adding that the project has provided direct employment to over 200 Nigerians.
Culled from THISDAY