The Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) Sen. Gershom Bassey, says the implementation of 2019 budget released to the agency is impressive.
Mrs Maryam Sanusi, Deputy Director Communications and Public Relations of FERMA, made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
Sanusi quoted Bassey as saying this when he led the Senate Committee on FERMA, on an oversight visit to the agency to ascertain the level of implementation of the 2019 budget.
Bassey said the purpose of the visit was to ascertain and ensure the funds that were appropriated and released to FERMA in 2019 were appropriately utilised.
He said from their discovery, FERMA had completed most of its projects that were budgeted for in 2019 up to 98 per cent.
‘’FERMA has done well in terms of completion of projects, they have utilised about 90 per cent of the released fund for 2019 and completed 98 per cent of the projects.
“This is very good for any organisation, this is a high rate performance,” he said.
The chairman, however, said the committee was not satisfied with the funding of FERMA, saying the agency should get much more than it got presently.
“The budget should be much larger, this is an agency that affects every single life in Nigeria
“Road is the artery in which we live and breathe in Nigeria, we transport basically everything by road, we don’t have any other infrastructure as it is.
“The upkeep of these roads is key to us, if we give FERMA more funds, even one trillion naira, it is not too much to maintain our roads,” he said.
He further decried the non-implementation of laws that were enacted in 2007, such as the non-implementation of the five per cent user charge to fund road projects and the vehicle tax.
He said the National Assembly was investigating this non-implementation and that report would soon be out.
Earlier, the Managing Director, FERMA, Mr Nuruddeen. Rafindadi, while appreciating the committee on its support, said FERMA could improve on the backlog of maintenance of federal roads across the country if there was an increase in the releases of monies appropriated to the agency.
He said, ideally the agency would require N125 billion every year to maintain federal roads across the nation.
‘’If you consider the asset value of our roads and bridges across the country, that is a modest sum to preserve the value of our national asset,” the FERMA boss said.
Rafindadi said the agency had a target of intervening in about 3,500km federal roads in 2019, this was later increased to 5,000km.
He said FERMA was able to meet the target which was presented and stated by the Minister of Works and Housing at the FEC meeting on the Ministerial report.
He assured Nigerians that the agency under his watch, would do all it could to put smiles on the faces of the people by ensuring roads were motorable and safe . (NAN)