The 35,000 kilometres Federal Roads in the country can only be motorable at all times, if the sum of N400 billion is released yearly for maintenance, the National Assembly has said.
It described the N38 billion earmaked for that purpose in the 2021 budget proposal as infinitesmal for any serious road Maintenance work across the country .
This is as joint committees on Appropriation at both Chambers working round the clock for submission of harmonized report on the rejigged N13.08trillion 2021 budget proposals .
Decrying the infinitesmal amounts of monies budgeted for Road Maintenance on yearly basis by the federal government during an interview with Journalists on Friday, the Chairman Senate Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency ( FERMA) , Senator Gersome Bassey , said N400 billion is required for such projects yearly.
He said the N38billion earmaked for maintenance of over 35,000 kilometres Federal Roads across the country will not give Nigerians the desired results.
Road Maintenance he explained , in a country like Nigeria where road transportation is most used for movement of people , goods and services across the country can only be effectively carried out with roughly about N400billion on yearly basis
“What the committee has just submitted to the Appropriation committee for such exercise in 2021 fiscal year , is the N38billion proposed for it by the executive , which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country .
” Unfortunately , despite having the power of Appropriation , we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road .
“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive , may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media .
” But the situation on ground as far as the committees on FERMA at both Chambers are concerned , is very bad ,requiring far more than N38billion earmaked.
“If the roads are well maintained on yearly basis , reconstruction and rehabilitation which require bigger amounts of monies and years to carry out , may not be necessary as frequently as they are now,” he said .
Being the last committee to submit its report to the Appropriation Committee on Friday , the Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee ,Senator Jibrin Barau ( APC Kano North ) , said the next stage of work for the committee , is to carry out the required scrutinization of the reports, harmonize with the House of Representatives for submission at both Chambers on Thursday this week .
His words: “The process of presentation of reports as regards the 2021 budget estimates for the various MDAs by the various committees scrutinising them is over since all of the them have submitted their reports .
“What remains now is for those of us in the Appropriation committee to collate the reports in harmonisation with the House of Representatives for final consideration and passage by both Chambers .
“Time table for that has already been drawn up and we shall work assiduously in keeping to it by submitting harmonized report of the budgetary proposal to the Senate on the 3rd of December , 2020 for final consideration and passage latest by the following week.”