Senate scores FCTA high on infrastructure provision

By: Wisdom Acka

The Senate has scored the Federal Capital Territory Administration high on execution of projects in FCT, despite paucity of funds.

Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Tolu Odebiyi, gave the commendation during an oversight visit to key projects under construction in the nation’s capital on Thursday.

Odebiyi who expressed satisfaction on the level of completion of most of the projects visited, assured that the National Assembly would prioritise and inject funds in projects that required urgent attention.

He said: “Part of our responsibility is to provide oversight duties as part of other legislative duties and what we have seen today has been quite interesting.”

“We believe that in the twilight of this administration, which is about 10 months, it is important that we catalogue all the projects that have been done, prioritize the ones that must be completed before the end of this term so that we can make sure that we provide the adequate funding and budgets for such projects,” he added.

According to him, “the FCT budget is going to be forwarded to us soon and it’s important that we come and see the state of the work and their completion rate. We will make sure that any of the projects that requires priority is given the due attention so as to elevate and increase efficiency.”

Fielding questions from newsmen on what to expect from the law makers in terms of funding critical projects, the Chairman stated, “We will wait for the Hon. Minister and his team to present us with their budgets. They will catalogue what their priority projects are and based on what funding available and what revenue they have been able to generate, we will try and see how we can approve those fundings adequately.”

FCT Minister,  Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, who led the project tour from Wuye, Ring Road 1 interchange at Kaura District, Southern Parkway, among others, explained that the current FCTA has been able to achieve much successes due to smooth relationship between the FCTA and the National Assembly.

Bello said that with the challenge of paucity of funds, the FCT Administration decided to prioritize key infrastructure projects based on their impact on the residents.

“What we did was because of paucity of funds, we decided to prioritize key infrastructure projects to get them completed; and in deciding the ones that fits into that category, we look at the ones that will give maximum benefit to the maximum number of people,” the Minister stressed.

“If you noticed, all the four projects we went today are all road projects that are meant to link one section of the Abuja city to the other and that’s the whole idea,” he emphasized.
Bello remarked that the Abuja Master Plan has been designed in such a way that the road networks are supposed to complement each other and “if you finish one portion and don’t do the other, then you don’t get the full utility of that particular road”.

“Our intention is that, as we round up the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, we complete a number of projects and some of them we intend to develop them to the level where the next administration will be able to complete within a very short period,” he added.

He stated that ultimately the objective is to make Abuja a vibrant city, a city where people will feel comfortable, where there are no traffic gridlock and where facilities will work.

The Minister stressed the need to fast-track the provision of infrastructure to meet the pace of its population surge, which has been quite challenging.

The Minister said, “running a mega city is a huge challenge and over the past five years, Abuja has had tremendous demographic change. Scientific reports have indicated that Abuja is one of the fastest growing cities in the world”.

Mallam Bello remarked, “one of the major challenges is to be able to fast-track provision of infrastructure at the pace commensurate with population growth”.