NASS C’ttees Agree FERMA Poorly Funded, Advocate Increased Budgetary Allocation For Agency

By Miriam Humbe

Members of the Senate and House Committees on FERMA have agreed that FERMA is poorly funded and have advocated for increased annual budgetary allocation for the Agency.

This was contained in a statement signed on Wednesday by FERMA’s Director of Communications/Public Relations, Mrs. Maryam Sanusi.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on FERMA, Sen. Hussaini Babangida Uba, said this recently 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.

The Chairman said FERMA could not meet up with the people’s expectations of making all roads motorable and safe for users because the annual budgetary allocation to FERMA fell grossly below what the Agency needed to carry out its mandate of maintaining federal roads across the nation.

The Chairman said the poor condition of federal roads across the country was unimaginable and called for urgent attention to reduce the suffering of road users.

He said that FERMA was doing a good job within the limited means, but that it was not appreciated because the bit it was doing was only able to affect a small percentage of the people.

He enjoined FERMA to invest more in stakeholders’ engagement and on publicity to enable its achievements, challenges and aspirations be heard and appreciated by the general public.

He also encouraged FERMA to effectively communicate their progresses and challenges to NASS Committees on FERMA so they would be on the same page with the Agency.

The Managing Director/CEO of FERMA, Engr. Chukwuemeka Agbasi during his presentation of the 2023/2024 Budget Performance and Defence 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, “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 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 completion period exceeding the 2023 fiscal year to ensure 100% execution.

A total of N77,390,766,140 (Seventy-Seven Billion, Three Hundred and Ninety Million, Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Thousand, One Hundred and Forty Naira) proposal was presented by the Managing Director/CEO to the Joint Committees of the Senate and the House.

The breakdown includes; total personnel – N4,081,099,533 (Four Billion, Eighty-One Million, Ninety-Nine Thousand, Five Hundred and Thirty-Three Naira); total overhead – N22,027,209,696 (Twenty-two Billion, Twenty-Seven Million, Two Hundred and Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety-Six Naira); total recurrent – N26,108,309,229 (Twenty-six Billion, One Hundred and Eight Million, Three Hundred and Nine Thousand, Two Hundred and Twenty-Nine Naira, while total Capital which is meant for the maintenance of all the over 36,000km of federal Roads is – N51,282,456,911 (Fifty-One Billion, Two Hundred and Eighty-Two Million, Four Hundred and Fifty-Six Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eleven Naira Only.

Minister of Works, H. E. Engr. David Umahi, who was present during the presentation, in his remarks said the appropriation was inadequate and that FERMA was doing its best. He said it was necessary for the budget to be reviewed upward, and that a contingency fund is supposed to be kept aside for urgent intervention on emergency road repairs.

The Minister solicited for a review of the Ministry’s budget for fairness and equity.

He reiterated that road designs in the country will be reviewed for better roads construction and maintenance which will allow the roads to last longer.

Other members of the Joint Committee took turns to comment and all agreed with the poor state of the roads, poor funding of FERMA and an improved and increased budgetary allocation for FERMA. They also ask for exploration of alternative funding for FERMA.

Going forward, the Committees from Senate and House pledged support and cooperation with FERMA to enable it carry out its work effectively.

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