Senate panel decries paltry N38b allocation to FERMA for road maintenance
The senate Committee on works has raised concern over paltry N38B allocation to FERMA as being to meagre to do any manageable road Maintanance on the 36, 000km road network across the country.The committee chairman, Senator Gershom Bassey spoke after he presented his committees report on the budget defence of the ministry of works and FERMA to the appropriation committee.”The way we move goods and services in this country we use rad. 80% of goods are moved on the roads so it.makes sense for us to.invest heavily on our roads particularly in the maintenance if those roads. “If you are spending N300b to N400b every year on FERMA so that your roads would be in good shape because we know the lost of lives that we encountered on our roads and the lost of efficiency.”A budget of N38b is really a paltry sum considering that you have 36, 000 km of road network and virtually all have one problem or the other. “For FERMA we are looking at Budget in excess of N300b every year. Just to maintain road network as it is and of course why not because the way we move goods and services in this country we dont use train. “May be a trailer loaded with goods that want to move from one town to another, a journey of half a day would now take four or five days, this is because of the poor maintenance culture. “I have always urged the Federal Government to pay more attention to FERMA because it is key. “It takes 2 to 3 or 4 years to build a new road but the one you have you have to maintain so it is important that more money is pumped into FERMA if it is N300b or N400b it is not too much for FERMA so that they can truly maintain our road networks and save lives and increase the efficiency of the economy. “He said as senators they can not increase budget “Well when you increase on what, the project has to be in place and that planning comes from the executive and that is why we say to the executives pay a bit more attention to FERMA so that it can function.”The idea that we are going to willy Nilly increase budget we are not engineers here, there has to be a plan. It has to be planned based budgeting. “We want the executives to plan for our roads, for FERMA to increase the efficiency, safety and maintenance of out roads. It is when we have that that you can come here and we can see where to adjust we can add an extra this or that but based on planWhen asked on the issue of privatisation as the 36000km road network are in bad shape. In the senate we have been singing that song for a long time about the concessions and the idea that you can have a concessioning model whereby some kind of trust fund or some pull that will complement it. Again we have raised a bill that has gone to second reading on a national road infrastructure agency that will be a stand alone agency that owns the road network with that concessioning becomes very easy. We have gone far with the arrangement but it is not something one can just wake up and do.
He had informed the appropriation committee that the Senate committee on work was transferring a project to the FERMA committee.
“We are in the legislature we don’t execute we are just here to oversight the budget I do know that FERMA is working and that is why a lot people like to work with FERMA because the efficiency and the engineering capacity inside that agfency. “I think the only thing missing why you have not seen many sign board as you used to see before but because of funding.
“I know that it is a project that is ongoing in FERMA and so the issue is that you cannot dabble and start that project again in works even though monies are sent to works so they want to fund the same project in FERMA and I think that it is a technical thing that the works committee has requested.