The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has defended its 2018 National Priority Budget proposal of N40,297,122,872.00 before the Senate.
Making the presentation to the Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), at the National Assembly in Abuja on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello said the proposal is in accordance with the N40.3 billion envelope given to the FCT as its National Priority Budget by the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
Bello said 27 critical infrastructure projects totalling N40,297,122.27 have been prioritized for action under the proposal. These include the B6, B12 and Circle roads traversing the National Stadium, Villa and back to the Stadium; the Greater Abuja Water Works project as well as the Extension of Inner Southern Expressway (ISEX) from the Central Bank/National Christian Centre to Galadimawa Roundabout.
Provisions totalling N1.2 billion were also made for in infrastructure development at major satellite towns of Kubwa, Karshi and Bwari to help stave off the weight of expansion being witnessed in the city. In addition, major utilities and social services covering education, water supply as well as security at the UN building have been effectively provided for.
According to the Minister, “This is what has been given to us and based on that and in line with our desire to first and foremost continue existing critical infrastructural projects and also highlight one or two that have the potential of giving the greatest benefits to the largest number of people, we highlighted a total of 27 projects which we hope, if this distinguished Committee passes, will enable us continue many infrastructure projects and hopefully get some of them out of the Budget.”
The Minister disclosed that the N40.3 billion FCT 2018 Budget, is an improvement on the N30.4 billion that was allocated to the FCT for capital projects in 2017. He said N12,198,561,434.40 billion representing 40.1 percent of the total sum has so far been released and expended.
Bello who described the amount as very small said it tremendously affected the ability of the FCTA to discharge many of the infrastructure projects that are ongoing. He expressed his appreciation to the National Assembly for extending the window of expenditure for the 2017 Budget and stated that it will allow for more releases to be made to offset some critical infrastructural bills in the FCT.
The Minister regretted that allocations to the FCT from the Federal Government has been gradually reducing over the years due to the reduction in the revenues accruable to the federal government as well as the perception that the FCT is maturing and should be able to fend for itself. He disclosed that the FCTA is working to overcome the budget shortfall through its recently reconstituted FCT Internal Revenue Service.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Dino Melaye lamented that the FCT National Priority Budget has been declining from N109 billion in the recent past to N30.4 in 2017 and N40.3 billion in 2018.
According to him, “It is worthy of note that in 2017, out of N30,397,122,872 budget of FCT Administration, only N12,198,561,435.40 was accessed, leaving an unreleased balance of N18,198,561,436.60.
“The budget gives a performance of 40.1 percent, while expenditure against actual release gives hundred percent performance. This is worrisome to the Committee and I’m sure to the residents of the FCT as well.” He said the Committee has resolved to better the lot of FCT residents by ensuring full implementation of the 2018 budget. “
He used the occasion to appeal to the Ministers of Finance and of Budget and National Planning to consider the priority place of FCT as the national capital in allocating funds to it.
Said he, “It can never be a waste because Abuja is the image of Nigeria. This city is housing the President, the Vice President, the National Assembly. There is no week that you have less than 10 Governors in this city for one reason or the other. All the embassies are in this city. These definitely should guide the government in terms of releases and allocations.”
Senator Melaye noted that when foreigners come to Nigeria, many of them never get to visit other cities and the impression they have of Nigeria when they leave is what they see of Abuja. This, he said, necessitates adequate funding for the Capital City.
Chief Press Secretar