N125b YEARLY FOR MAINTENANCE OF FEDERAL ROADS: FERMA BOSS

THE Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) on Tuesday said it would require N125 billion annually to carry out maintenance on all federal roads in the country.

The agency has been allocated N36 billion in the 2020 capital budget to carry out its work this year.

Managing Director of FERMA, Nuruddeen Rafindadi, stated these when members of the Senate Committee on FERMA led by its Chairman, Sen. Gershom Bassey visited the agency.

Members of the committee were on an oversight visit to the headquarters of the agency in Abuja on Tuesday.

Rafindadi, who is an engineer, said that despite poor release of funds to the agency, it was able to intervene in about 5, 000 kilometers of federal roads last year.

He said: “Ideally, we would require N125 billion every year to maintain all the federal roads as much as we would want to maintain them and I think that if you consider the asset value of roads and bridges across the country, that is a modest sum to try to preserve the value of your asset.

“Poor funding has affected our performance negatively in the sense that we are not in the best position to do what we would have wanted to do; to tackle the situation of the roads. We emphasise always on trying to make use of best available funds to show what more money can do, achieve the maximum value for money.

“We also monitor closely when we are planning, we monitor after interventions are done just to ensure where we can improve and if there was any shortfall in the performance and following of procedures.

“The National Assembly has been very understanding and supportive of the predicament of FERMA and we have been taking all issues like special interventions and special grants to them.

“We have been speaking with them regarding more consideration on budget appropriation to FERMA, on the amount of releases to FERMA every year just so that we can improve on the huge backlog of federal roads across the country that needs urgent attention all the time.

“We had a target to intervene in a total of 3, 500 kilometers of federal roads which were later increased by the Federal Government mandate on us to 5, 000 kilometers of federal roads. Between July and December we were able to meet that target and that has been presented and stated by the Minister of Works and Housing at the Federal Executive Council meeting and the ministerial report back mandate.”

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