Fashola fault Reps over moves to fund FERMA

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Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has faulted on-going moves by the house of representative to set aside one percent of the consolidated revenue fund to the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to repair roads in the country.

At a hearing on a bill aimed at increasing funds at the disposal of FERMA, he said that there was no need for such measure since monies required by FERMA could be budgeted for and appropriated by the National Assembly.

Fashola argued that the move remains unconstitutional since the measure could provide the basis for the 36 states of the federation to access monies required by the Federal Government to fix its own roads as stipulated in the exclusive legislative list of the constitution.

The minister also opposed moves to vest the power to oversee the administration of the toll gates on FERMA saying that the idea contradicts the provision of the extent federal highway Act which falls under his sphere of influence. The minister also said it was needless establishing FERMA at the states level since it contradicts the provision of the Constitution.

An official of the federal ministry of finance, Mr. Mediayedu Stephen who spoke in the same vein said there was no need duplicating a similar structure as FERMA at the state level since it would further increase the cost of governance which is antithetical to the policy direction of the Federal Government.

However, sponsor of one of the bills, Mr. Ibrahim Isiaka (Ogun APC) defended the need to fund FERMA saying it was based on the realisation that it was not well funded under the envelope budgeting system. He also argued that there was the need to enact a law to compel the 36 states of the federation to establish their own tiers of FERMA as is the case with Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).

Fashola, who also appeared before the House Committee on Works chaired by Mr. Toby Okechukwu probing into the nature of the contract on concession arrangement at the Second Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway stated that adequate funding by the Federal Government remained the most viable option to complete the projects.

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