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2015 Budget: FERMA Gets Zero Allocation

*Works Ministry Receives Only N11billion For Capital Projects

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja – The fate of Roads in Nigeria this year especially the Trunk A roads under the purview of the Federal Government of Nigeria, remain uncertain as the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), gets zero allocation for its capital votes in the 2015 budget proposal.

Lamenting this deplorable situation of the federal roads this year, the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen told the senate committee on works during 2015 budget defence of his ministry and parastatals under it that the situation would lead the condition of the roads from bad to worse.

According to the Minister, “aside the ministry’s capital budget proposal slashed from the projected N100billion to just N11billion by the Ministry of Finance in view of economic realities on ground , zero allocations were made for capital projects of FERMA and office of Surveyor -General of the Federation(OSGF)”.

He lamented that in view of the lean allocation for the Ministry in 2015 Budget, that out of the Ministry’s portfolio of about 210 on going road and bridge projects, only 33 have been provided for and the provisions are insufficient to encourage the contractors to sustain appreciable progress of works on site.

“No provisions have been made for other Departments of the Ministry such as Road and Bridge Design Departments, Mechanical and Electrical Department as well as Service Department”, he added.

The Minister also disclosed that since 2011, the Ministry has always been owed outstanding budgeted funds, totaling N203.392billion by the end of the 2014 fiscal year.

He said: “Only N45, 682, 844, 395.00billion was released for the Works Ministry out of 2014 capital appropriation of N98, 814, 368, 704billion . This leaves a balance of N53, 131, 524, 309.00 not released as at December 2014.

“it is important to emphasize that the performance of the Ministry would have been considerably enhanced if the outstanding budgeted funds of N53.131billion had been released to the Ministry,. More importantly if the cumulative outstanding budgeted funds of N203, 392, 075, 947.25 for the period spanning 2011 to 2014 had been released, the total indebtedness would have been brought down from N230billion to N27billion”

He however said inspite of the very lean capital budget allocated the Ministry this year, that a model of Public Private Partnership is being explored for execution of more capital projects in the year.

Earlier in their separate comments, most members of the Committee describes the budget profile of the Works ministry as laughable .The Chairman of the committee, Senator Ayogu Eze ( PDP Enugu North) said the budget profile was very terrible for a sector that needs at least N500billion annually for road construction and maintenance, to now be given just N11billion, saying the Minister would need be a magician to perform wonders with such lean allocation than just been a Minister.”

The picture being painted by this budget profile is very grim. We are in a period of crisis which we must all manage very critically”, he said



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