By Ignatius Ushie
The Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has presented a National Priority Budget proposal of N28, 422,804,431 for the year 2020 to the Senate Committee on the FCT.
Presenting the budget proposal to the committee, the Minister stressed that completion of on-going projects remains a priority for the FCT Administration.
In his words, “in view of the poor performance of the Federal Capital territory portion of the 2019 National Priority Budget, the federal Capital Territory Administration has therefore decided to re-prioritize and rollover only essential on-going projects without making provisions for new ones”
Malam Bello said a total of 13 projects, comprising12 ongoing projects and one new project will be the focus of the budget, explaining that the new entrant was the rehabilitation of Federal Government buildings at the cost of five billion Naira.
Fielding questions from the lawmakers, the Minister who described the 2020 budget proposal as a budget of stability, stressed that the focus on ongoing road projects within the Federal Capital City and satellite towns was deliberate and a measure to forestall any traffic gridlock in the nearest future.
He continued “If we don’t build all the link roads and interchanges now to accommodate traffic spills, it will come back to haunt us in the next two years or so because the city is ever expanding”.
He commended members of the Committee for their passion for the FCT as evident in their comments and contributions toward the growth and development of the FCT.
Malam Bello explained that the ongoing projects highlighted in the budget proposal were awarded some years ago to address the infrastructural demands of the FCT but over the years the FCT Administration had accumulated huge liabilities in order to roll out the projects.
In their remarks, members of the Senate Committee on the FCT reiterated that there was an urgent need for funding for the FCT to be increased substantially.
It was the consensus amongst the Senators that the sum of 28 billion Naira National Priority budget of the FCT was the equivalent of 78 million Dollars which, it was admitted, was inadequate considering the critical infrastructural needs of the FCT.
According to Senator Phillip Aduda, Senator representing the FCT, while there was an urgent need for the funds released to the FCT to be substantially increased, the FCT Administration is also obliged to shore up its internally generated revenue.
Senator Rochas Okorocha on his part advised the FCTA to look inwards and exploit several possible options including land-for-infrastructure programmes to raise the required capital to bridge infrastructural deficit.
Senator Tanko Almakura described the budget as very focused and commended the FCT Administration for identifying areas of priorities. He however sought for greater collaboration with states neighboring the FCT.
The FCTA team at the budget presentation also included the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, the Chief of Staff to the Honourable Minister, Malam Bashir Mai Borno, the Director Treasury, Alhaji Ishiaku Ismail, Director Engineering Services, Engr. Shehu Ahmed and other top management staff.
FCT presents N28b National Priority Budget
By Ignatius Ushie