Forum: Clarify cost discrepancy for National Archives project

The Auditor-General's Office (AGO) annual report revealed that the National Library Board (NLB) had an approved budget of $20.53 million for the revamp of the National Archives of Singapore building and that it had a budget overrun of $1.72 million. (NLB exceeded renovation budget by $1.72 million, JTC potentially sublet to 26,000 unapproved entities: AGO, ST Online, Sept 7).

The National Archives reopened last year and I had questioned in my Forum letter last year why the cost of the revamp was not revealed (Why keep cost of revamp a secret?, April 19, 2019).

NLB responded to say it incurred about $37 million for the project (Revamp of National Archives of S'pore building cost $37m, April 27, 2019).

If the approved upgrade budget was $20.53 million and the final revamp cost was $37 million, the overrun should be $16.47 million and not $1.72 million.

Can the AGO clarify this cost discrepancy? Also why the initial reluctance to reveal the cost of the project when the building was officially launched?

Tay Kian Tiong