The Minister, Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has invited investors to take advantage of the huge business opportunities that would be offered by the completion of the FCT Light Rails Mass Transit System. Malam Bello revealed that the entire rail transit corridor offers an array of business opportunities for restaurants, parking lots and shopping malls to mention but a few.
The FCT Minister gave this invitation while fielding questions with newsmen in his office, on Thursday, October 12, 2017.
According to him, the large swathe of space on the rail line corridors contains 12 stations, including the central metro station near the World Trade Centre in the Central Business District. He hoped that the network would substantially increase economic activities in the FCT.
On why there has not been land allocation since he took office, the FCT helmsman lamented the abuse of the land processes in the past resulting in large incidences of land use mismatch. He reiterated that almost all the phases within the Federal Capital City have been allocated except for Phase 5.
According to him, “FCT Administration needs over N80billion to provide infrastructure in the already allocated districts. We are grappling with a situation where plots were allocated in a manner that outstripped the capacity of the Administration to provide infrastructure.
“Most beneficiaries commenced development under the pressure for accommodation and today we have houses built on spaces earmarked for roads, natural water ways, public utility lines and so on.”
He stressed that land is a finite object. Drawing analogy from other advanced cities of the world, the Minister stated that a time comes when land finishes. He appealed to the FCT public to avoid the bubble of land activities and businesses which usually results in needless speculations and scam.
Malam Bello said that time has come for people to patronise secondary channels like mortgages and other similar sources. He exhorted Nigerians to be patient with the Administration saying development is a process and a not switch. Abuja, he reminded, is a consciously planned and executed city in tandem with a master-plan.
On streetlighting, Malam Bello explained that the FCT was contending with the spate of vandalization of public utilities by criminals. He stated that FCT has 300km of streetlights and given the rate of one pole per 10 meters distance, the Administration, has over 3000 poles. These require a massive amount of resources to power and to protect.
He disclosed that the Administration achieved a milestone when it resolved the issue of flawed billing system which resulted in a very huge liability. Bello announced that FCTA had paid off all confirmed bills it inherited and has ensured that all power consumed by the Administration is metered to ensure appropriate billing.
The Minister also pointed to the challenge of rationing of power by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC). Accordingly, the Administration was making arrangements for off grid solution to the perennial challenge of streetlighting in the FCT and consequently the Administration was looking the way of solar panels and generators as back-up for power during off-grid times.
Malam Bello also expressed delight that some infrastructure projects would go off the budge line this year and next year as works on them have been completed or are about to. He said the Administration’s strategy was to complete the three roads leading into and outside the city. These are the Gwagwalda-Airport, Zuba-Kubwa and Keffi-Nyanya-AYA express roads. It also includes the major city road arterials like the Constitution and Independence Roads among others. He declared that the strategy has paid off.
His words, “Our next attention is to the satellite towns. Work is now going on the Dutse Alhaji - Kubwa road, Karu Township infrastructure - for which the National Executive Council has approved N2.6 Billion; as well as the Karshi - Apo roads among others.”