New Senate Bill Takes Road Maintenance Responsibility Off FG
The Senate has introduced a new bill that will take the responsibility of road construction, rehabilitation and maintenance away from the Federal Government.
The legislation, if passed and signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, will place such responsibility in the hands of foreign and local investors.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, Senator Gershom Bassey, stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Sunday.
The Peoples Democratic Party member representing Cross River South Senatorial District said the red chamber settled for the legislation when it was obvious that the Federal Government had over the years failed to find solutions to the deplorable state of Nigerian roads.
According to him, the FERMA Act, as amended, stipulates that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency should remit five per cent of its pump price template to FERMA.
Bassey said the unremitted funds from the PPPRA to FERMA since 2007 till date had accumulated to about N870bn.
He said the Senate was convinced that the Federal Government was incapable of fixing the nation’s roads with the funds from the yearly budget.
He said, “The PPPRA has not remitted any amount to FERMA or to the state agencies since the law was signed.
“The last figure we had when we started our investigation was that the unremitted funds had accumulated to N870bn which is due to both FERMA and the states’ road agencies.
“We must find a solution. The new legislation that the Senate is working on now seeks to move road construction and maintenance off the federal budget and let the private sector come in.”
Bassey added, “There is no rocket science here. This idea has been working in other parts of the world and it cannot be different in Nigeria.
“Money will automatically flow into our roads because the private sector will be willing and ready to invest since they know it’s a thriving business and they would recoup their money.”
He said the bill made provisions for setting up the structures, adding that the first was the creation of the Federal Road Authority, which would absorb FERMA.
FRA would be owners of the roads with full authority to deliver good roads by whatever means.
The second is the infrastructure fund.