The National Assembly has said that the Federal Road Maintenance Agency is poorly funded, advocating an increased budgetary allocation for improved roads.
A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by the agency’s Director of Communications and Public Relations, Mrs Maryam Sanusi, quoted the Chairman, Senate Committee on FERMA, Hussaini Uba, as speaking during a joint sitting of the Senate and House Committees on FERMA at the hearing of the presentation of the FERMA 2023 Performance/2024 Budget Defence.
Uba said FERMA could not meet up with the people’s expectation of making all roads motorable and safe for users because the annual budgetary allocation to FERMA falls grossly below what the agency needs to carry out its mandate of maintaining federal roads across the nation.
He said the poor condition of federal roads across the country is unimaginable and called for urgent attention to ameliorate the suffering of road users, and he enjoined FERMA to invest more in stakeholders’ engagement and publicity to enable its achievements, challenges, and aspirations to be heard and appreciated by the general public.
He said, “The poor condition of federal roads across the country is unimaginable and calls for urgent attention to ameliorate the suffering of road users.
“FERMA is doing a good job within the limited means, but it is not appreciated because the bit it is doing is only able to affect a small percentage of the people”
He added that FERMA is poorly funded and has advocated for increased annual budgetary allocations for the agency.
He also encouraged FERMA to effectively communicate their progress and challenges to NASS Committees on FERMA so that they will be on the same page with the Agency.
According to the statement, the Managing Director of FERMA, Chukwuemeka Agbasi, said during his presentation said, the roads selected for the 2024 capital budget proposal were based on equitable distribution according to the six Geopolitical Zones of the country.
He added that “priorities were given to major trunk A roads within the Zones that would key into Mr. President’s priority areas of National Development and Economic Recovery; roads that would massively improve the movement of persons, goods, services, and agricultural produce to boost food security and economic wellbeing of the citizen.”
He further added that the 2024 budget included the rollover of some projects with a completion period exceeding the 2023 fiscal year to ensure 100% execution.
He revealed that N51.3bn was appropriated for the maintenance of 36,000km of federal roads in the country.
The Minister of Works, David Umahi, who was present during the presentation, said in his remarks that the appropriation was inadequate and that FERMA was doing its best.
He said the budget needed to be reviewed upward and that a contingency fund is supposed to be kept aside for urgent intervention on emergency road repairs.
He reiterated that road designs in the country will be reviewed for better road construction and maintenance, which will allow the roads to last longer.