FCT’s N271.1bn budget passes second reading in Senate

The senate on Thursday faulted the construction of open drains on the multi billion naira Abuja-Abaji highway and the modern ring roads within the Federal Capital Territory, stressing that the development was not in line with modern global practice.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, stated this shortly after the Upper chamber passed for second reading, the 2014 budget of the FCT, estimated at N271.1bn.

It has been proposed that N49.2bn would be spent on Personnel Cost, N62.8bn as overhead cost and N159bn estimated for capital projects in 2014.

Ekweremadu expressed dissatisfaction with the open drains on the major roads leading to Abuja and the ring roads and asked relevant authorities to address the architectural defects.

He said, “I am not an architect or engineer but I am sure many of you will understand what I am saying. I don’t believe that that is a modern design to have those open drainage. And once it rains you find that vehicles end up in those drains.

“Please we need to do something about it because that is very embarrassing in the 21st century for us to have that kind of design. Something needs to be done about it.

“This is very important because Abuja is not just a city for Nigeria. Every person in Africa considers Abuja as an African city which they are all proud of. So we must be able to ensure that we maintain that status.

“We must also be sure that we are doing exactly what those people are doing including Brazil that is developing a new city, Brasilia, Canberra in Australia, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

“They have moved their capital to a place outside the current capital which is being well developed. Even within Africa, there is also a development in Cote D’ivoire in Yamassoukrou. But in all these, it seems to me a deviation on our own part, in some aspects.”

The Deputy Senate President also noted that the relevant FCT administration was not doing enough to regulate the activities of private estate developers and the federal housing authority.

He noted that the developers have been helping in developing the FCT but that it appeared that they were not being well regulated, adding that most of the properties they had developed were lacking in infrastructure.

He said, “If part of the contract is for them to develop, then it should be enforced that those properties should be accompanied with adequate facilities. But if it is the business of the FCDA to bring about facilities and infrastructure within those places, you have to make sure that happens, so that any part of the FCT we develop, will be properly done.

“It is not in our interest that you come to an estate, they don’t have roads, they don’t have electricity and they don’t have water. That is completely unacceptable.

“We must ensure that the area councils complement the effort of the FCDA in the development of our capital city  in a very coordinated manner. We have a lot to do in this respect.”

The senate therefore asked its Committee on the FCT to treat the document and submit its report within one week. Punch

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