Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FERMA) said it will need an additional N89 billion to maintain all the federal roads in the country.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja, when the Senate committee on FERMA paid it a coutesy visit as part of its oversight functions, the Managing Director of FERMA, Nurudeen Rafindadi, said that the budgetary allocation for 2020 is N36 billion although the agency would need over N125 billion to maintain the roads.
“Ideally, we will require in the excess of N125 billion every year to maintain all the federal roads as much as we would want to maintain them. And if you consider the asset value of the roads and bridges across the country it is a modest sum to try to preserve the value of your assets.
“There is a law that says 5 per cent petroleum pump price should go for road maintenance. All those laws that were enacted since 2009 have not been implemented and the National Assembly is investigating it. If we can pay more attention to mundane things in our country, then the key things that are fundamental in our economy should be properly funded. If you fund our roads, it is as important as funding power” he said. In his own remarks, the chairman, senate committee on FERMA, Gershom Bassey, said FERMA needs over N500 billion to maintain all the roads in the country.
“FERMA is a very efficient organisation. This is probably an exception in the Federal Government. It is an organisation that has completed most of its projects it has embarked on. It has almost attained 99 per cent completion rate of its projects. So, this is very impressive. It has a very high completion rate which is very impressive for a Federal Government agency. So we want to encourage the Executive to support FERMA in every way. So far so good. They have done very well.
Bassey said that given the high rate of project completion, ideally the agency should get over N500 billion.
But its 2019 appropriation was N24 billion for capital projects and 2020 was N36 billion. Of the money that has been utilised most of the budgets have been completed. So, this is a very high rate of performance.
“FERMA ideally should be getting N500 billion every year if that could cover 34, 000 kilometers of road. So, I am not satisfied with the budget for FERMA. It should be much larger because this is an agency that affects every single Nigerian because road is the artery by which we breathe in Nigeria. Everything is by road. We don’t have any alternative infrastructure. And the maintenance and upkeep of these roads are cheap. They should give them much more. Even N1trillion is not too much” he said.