The Senate has scored the Federal Capital Territory Administration high on execution of high-quality projects in the FCT in the face of dwindling economic fortunes.
Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Tolu Odebiyi, gave the commendation during an oversight visit to key projects under construction in the nation’s capital on Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Senator Odebiyi who expressed satisfaction on the level of completion of most of the projects visited, assured that the National Assembly would prioritise and inject funds in projects that required urgent attention.
He said: “Part of our responsibility is to provide oversight duties as part of other legislative duties and what we have seen today has been quite interesting.
“We believe that in the twilight of this administration, which is about 10 months, it is important that we catalogue all the projects that have been done, prioritize the ones that must be completed before the end of this term so that we can make sure that we provide the adequate funding and budgets for such projects.
“The FCT budget is going to be forwarded to us soon and it’s important that we come and see the state of the work and their completion rate. We will make sure that any of the projects that requires priority is given the due attention so as to elevate and increase efficiency.”
Fielding questions from newsmen on what to expect from the law makers in terms of funding critical projects, the Chairman stated, “We will wait for the Hon. Minister and his team to present us with their budgets. They will catalogue what their priority projects are and based on what funding available and what revenue they have been able to generate, we will try and see how we can approve those fundings adequately.”
FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, who led the project tour from Southern Parkway through the Ring Road 1 interchange at Kaura District, Wuye bridge and Federal Secretariat and National Assembly complexes, explained that the current FCTA has been able to achieve much successes due to the smooth relationship between the FCTA and the National Assembly.
Malam Bello pointed that with the challenge of paucity of funds, the FCT Administration decided to prioritize key infrastructure projects based on their impact to residents.
He said: “Because of paucity of funds. We decided to prioritize key infrastructure projects to get them completed and in deciding the ones that fits into that category, we look at the ones that will give maximum benefit to the maximum number of people.
“If you noticed, all the four projects we went to day are all road projects that are meant to link one section of the Abuja city to the other and that’s the whole idea. The Abuja Master Plan has been designed in such a way that the road networks are supposed to complement each other and if you finish one portion and don’t do the other, then you don’t get the full utility of that particular road”.
The Minister stressed that it was the intention of the Administration to round off the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration with the completion of a number of projects while developing some to the level where the next administration will be able to complete them within a very short period.
“Ultimately the objective is to make Abuja a vibrant city, a city where people will feel comfortable, where there are no traffic gridlock and where facilities will work. Working together with the national assembly, and I’m sure we will be able to achieve that”, he added.
The Minister stressed the need to fast-track the provision of infrastructure to meet the pace of population surge in the FCT, a task which, he said, has been quite challenging. He said: “Running a mega city is a huge challenge and over the past five years, Abuja has had tremendous demographic change. Scientific reports have indicated that Abuja is one of the fastest growing cities in the world”.
He added that, “But more importantly, as the city continues to mature, many of the infrastructure of previous years are also maturing and requiring constant maintenance and this is one area we are deploying resources to make sure that while we build new infrastructure, we make sure that existing infrastructure is catered for.
“In the past and even presently, projects are done diligently to the highest international standards. That is why you see many of the bridges even though they are about 30 years old, they still remain solid and we want to extend their lifespan by making sure that we lay emphasis on maintenance. So, while we continue to develop and construct, we are also going to maintain”.
Some of the projects inspected include Southern Parkway, Ring Road 1 Interchange at Kaura District, ongoing rehabilitation and expansion of OSEX road, B6, B12, and ongoing renovation of the NASS complex.
When completed, the 65km OSEX road is expected to link to Gwagwalada, and Wasa affordable housing area, as well as Guzape.
The Minister revealed the intention of the FCTA to complete the next phase of OSEX through Public Private Partnership, adding that the road was critical to the next phase of the City’s development.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of State, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani had lauded the committee and entire Senate for their support for the Administration, while charging them to always choose constructive engagement above criticism for better growth and development.
She said: “It is much easier to be critical. It is easy to be negative, but it is a lot more difficult and more challenging to have a constructive engagement and cooperation with others. However, the beneficiary of such constructive engagement and cooperation is the reason for this gathering today”.
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