Roads: Senator Seeks N500bn Annual Budget For FERMA
The Chairman, Senate Committee on the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, Senator Gershom Bassey, has called for N500bn yearly budget to enable FERMA fix all the deplorable federal roads across the country.
Bassey made the call in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Friday.
He said the country’s projection in the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, being considered by the Senate, had shown that the country does not have the resources to embark on the reconstruction of all the super highways.
He said the best was to adequately fund FERMA so that it could rehabilitate all the bad portions of the federal roads across the country.
Bassey said doing so would reduce crime and accidents on the roads.
He said, “The only thing we noticed in FERMA is that it is not very well funded. FERMA needs more money.
“FERMA needs about N500bn every year to maintain the roads because they are really bad.
“This year, the agency only got a N90bn vote and this is because of the COVID-19 intervention fund. There was just N30bn provision in the 2020 budget before it was reviewed.
“This is nowhere near what we need to maintain our roads.
“In a situation where it is very difficult and expensive to build new roads, it is important that we maintain the roads that we have.
“To that end, I will propose that we spend more money on road maintenance than constructing new ones because of the current situation that we found ourselves now.
“I will urge the executive arm of government to focus more on the maintenance of the existing roads so that people can move about the country until such a time when the country could get money to construct new roads and super highways.”
Bassey, however, said the most effective and permanent solution to road maintenance in Nigeria is the Public Private Partnership because the Federal Government was not currently having enough money to create the kind of road infrastructure that the nation needed now.