The National Assembly approved N22.89bn for the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency’s capital expenditure in the 2020 budget, checks on Thursday. Reporters have observed that in the 2019 estimates, N24.69bn was budgeted for the agency, which was set up in 2002 with the aim of maintaining the Federal Government’s roads.
FERMA’s budgetary allocations came to the fore on Thursday against the backdrop of poor roads in the country and the National Assembly’s huge N37bn budget for the repair of its complex. But the House of Representatives on Thursday remained unrepentant and lashed out at the critics of the N37bn allocation for the repair of the National Assembly complex, saying they were uninformed. However, groups, including the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, berated the lawmakers.
NECA said the Federal Government ought to have increased budgetary allocation to FERMA, education and other critical sectors. NECA described the approval of N37bn by the President, Muhammadu Buhari for the renovation of the National Assembly Complex as a misplaced priority.
NECA, through its Director-General, Mr. Timothy Olawale, said the country had become a nation of contradictions that would leave most pressing economic issues, for other things whose economic contributions had been questioned.
He said, “On the backdrop of the allocation of N37bn for the renovation of the National Assembly complex, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association has expressed concern at the seeming misplaced priorities in government.
The NECA boss noted that there were many roads which required urgent rehabilitation. He said, “The Apapa Port road has remained impassable, the Agbara Industrial Estate road remained a death trap and the Lagos-Badagry road among other critical roads and infrastructure in the country is begging for attention.”
He stated that rather than committing such an amount to renovate an edifice, it was expected that Government would adequately fund FERMA considerably by increasing its capital expenditure in the 2020 and increase allocations to education among others. “However, this is not the case, ” he lamented.