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Bello presents 2021 budget of N.299 trillion, senators applaud development efforts
• FCDA gets N26.7 bn, STDD, N17.7 bn
• SDAs N40.903bn
• Roads, Abuja Light Rail top

Mar, 2021 | By Felix Durumbah | ||

There are clear indications of better times this year for residents of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, presented a 2021 budget proposal of N299, 963,491,522.46 before the Senate. Listening to the Minister's presentation as well as the answers that himself, Minister of State, FCT, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, and Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr. Adesola Olusade gave to the lawmakers' barrage of questions, the obviously excited senators praised the efforts of FCT Administration in moving the nation's capital territory to the next level of infrastructural and welfare development in virtually all facets of human endeavour.

However, they counseled that more can be accomplished, with higher budgetary allocation to FCTA. Defending the budget, Malam Bello called it a balanced budget, adding that capital expenditure will gulp 54.56% or N163,651,140,779.25 while recurrent expenditure takes home 45.44% amounting to N136,312,350,743.21 of the total estimates. When compared to the 2020 revised appropriation, this year's budget shows an increase of N100, 722,960,173.00, or 34% boost. The Minister stated that the capital expenditure, which represents a 104% increase over the 2020 revised capital of N80,225,923,400.00, will zero in on completion of ongoing projects ''that have high impact on service delivery to the FCT residents.''

His words: ''The budget proposal has also taken into account the estimated revenue accruing to the FCT through the Federation Account and recognizes other in-house efforts to boost revenue generation capabilities in FCT. The focus of the capital budget is mainly on completion of ongoing projects that have high impact on service delivery to the FCT residents.'' To this end, the Minister said, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) is allocated the sum of N26.7 billion, Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD), N17.7 billion, as both are saddled with the mandates for provision of infrastructural facilities and services in federal Capital City (FCC) and satellite towns respectively.

Other Secretariats, Agencies and Departments (SDAs) receive a cumulative sum of N40, 903,488,220.00, he said. The Minister justified these allocations as based on the imperative to ''address critical areas like ongoing road construction, water treatment plant and related facilities but with very few new projects.'' Due to the critical nature of Abuja Light Rail project and its economic multiplier effects on the lives of residents generally, given it has massive capacity to create or boost wealth of the people, the Minister revealed that it will gulp N78,7993,795,841.00 alongside other counterpart fund- related projects aimed at enhancing socio-economic activities in FCT. Five stations along the Light Rail project will come to life this year, he disclosed.

He listed some of the critical projects to be executed by FCTA this year to include the rehabilitation and expansion of Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX), expansion and extension of Inner Southern Expressway (ISEX), construction of Southern Parkway from Christian Centre, Road B6 b12, and reconstruction and dualization of Lower Usuma Dam-Gurara Road. Other top notch projects, the Minister added, are the construction of access roads for Abuja Light Rail stations, resurfacing of existing roads in FCTA with a tidy sum of N7.5billion earmarked for these seven listed roads ''in order to speed up their completion before the end of this fiscal year.'' Reeling out some of the economic benefits of these road projects, Malam Bello said ''the expansion and rehabilitation of these roads will eventually reduce the travel time and gridlock within and outside FCC.''

For the satellite towns, key projects include the extension of Karshi-Apo road to serve as badly needed alternative to the lone, but very busy, Abuja-Mararaba highway (in the axis peopled dominantly by thousands of workers and business persons who work in FCT, but reside there), engineering infrastructure to Kubwa, Bwari, Karshi, and Wasa. The sum of N83, 444,323,037.00 was allocated to Transportation sector this year, with N71, 031,291,885.00 going to the Abuja Light Rail rolling stock and provisions for other phases. A breakdown of other sectoral allocations by the Minister showed that Education received the sum of N42, 789,238,146.00; Health,N26,410,117,719.00; Environmental sector,N5,916,313,777.00; Water,N5,910,859,488.00; Agriculture,N8,376,697,200.00; Service sector including Social Development Secretariat, Legal Services Secretariat, Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS),Area Council Services Secretariat had combined allocations also running into several billions of Naira.

He explained each proposed expenditure in detail, saying in the case of AGIS that ''the scope of operation of AGIS was recently expanded with the launch on Thursday, March 11, 2021 of the Accelerated Area Council Title Reissuance Scheme (AACTRIS)' which implementation, he restated, will ''bring on board title to landed properties in estates, mass housing programmes and those in Area Councils to make them bankable.'' The Minister recalled the ravages of Covid-19 pandemic on revenue generation, particularly last year which witnessed lasting lockdown, as well as the #EndSARS protests, saying nonetheless FCTA achieved 88% revenue target. The senators led by Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Abu Kyari commended FCTA for its efforts in developing the nation's capital.

The senators led by Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Abu Kyari commended FCTA for its efforts in developing the nation's capital, but urged more action. During a question and answer session, FCT Minister of State, Dr Aliyu, responded to a question on rural development, saying the rate of infrastructural uplift outside FCC had increased now, unlike in the past. She pointed to roads and several other accomplishments made by FCTA as proof that residents of the areas were enjoying a higher quality of life than hitherto.

For his part, FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade, reiterated what both the Minister and Minister of State had said, adding that FCT was now on a better footing in terms of development projects and other indices. With the Minister to the National Assembly event were Minister of State, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr. Adesola Olusade, Chief of Staff to FCT Minister, Malam Mai-Bornu, Executive Secretary, FCDA, Engr. Umar Gambo Jibrin, and heads of SDAs. Members of the Senate Committee on FCT included Sen. (Prof.) Nora Ladi Daduut, Sen. Jibril Isa, Sen. Philip Aduda, Sen. Smart Adeyemi, Sen. Tolu Odebiyi (Vice Chairman) and others.

News Update

Defending the budget, Malam Bello called it a balanced budget, adding that capital expenditure will gulp 54.56% or N163,651,140,779.25 while recurrent expenditure takes home 45.44% amounting to N136,312,350,743.21 of the total estimates.

Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has flagged off COVID-19 vaccination for residents of the Territory, just as she declared the safety of the vaccine.

Seven state Governors and one Deputy Governor graced the unveiling ceremony which was performed during the Nigerien President's visit to Nigeria. The unveiling was performed by the visiting President himself last week.

Minister of State, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, who flagged off the programme last week in Gwagwalada, affirmed that the initiative was a strategy to enhance social inclusion.


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