The Senate Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, led by the Chairman, Distinguished Senator Magnus Abe paid an oversight visit to FERMA Headquarters in Abuja today, 14th November, 2018.
Senator Magnus Abe in his opening remarks said the purpose of their visit was to fulfill its constitutional function of oversight and to familiarize themselves with the Agency and its activities on the extent of performance.
He added that the members of the Committee were here also to understand the progress and challenges being faced by the Agency in the discharge of its mandate.
The Chairman hinted on a possible review of the current legislative framework under which FERMA operates and make amendments where necessary.
Magnus stressed that the screening of the Governing Board which has been stalled by some legal considerations is being looked into and will be resolved very soon.
The Managing Director, Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, Engr. Nuruddeen A. Rafindadi, FNSE, disclosed that on his assumption as the MD of FERMA, the Agency took a holistic assessment of the condition of roads across the nation after which a three months’ work plan was drawn and submitted to the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing for endorsement to enable the Agency work. On endorsement, the Agency swung into action, working tirelessly nationwide.
Senator Philip Aduda, representing FCT, a member of the Senate Committee on FERMA, frowned at the poor funding of the activities of the Agency. He added that the National Assembly will work on funding of the Agency as he wonders how FERMA is able to carry out its mandate of repairing roads across the country with the lean funding from the government. He advocated for a situation where 100% release is made to FERMA as soon as budget is approved.
Still on poor funding, the Committee Chairman said it was unfortunate that government has consistently flaunted a law which is already in place that makes provision for funds to be remitted to FERMA for roads maintenance. He urged the government to ensure that FERMA Act is enforced by PPPRA, CBN, Attorney General of the Federation and Federal Ministry of Finance.
The Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (Amendment) Act, 2007 No. 18 Section 4(h), stipulates that “5% user’s charge on pump price of petrol, diesel and of which 40% will accrue to FERMA and 60% to be utilized by the established States Roads Maintenance Agencies”.
The Chairman also advised FERMA to be more cost efficient by prioritizing disbursement of fund to contractors that have done their works instead of paying 15% mobilization fee to those that are about to commence work.
Senator Abe however, commended the present administration for its prudence in managing the resources and for its clearer perspective of the objectives of the Agency. He enjoined the Agency to take advantage of the dry season to work, while pledging continuous commitment to the committee’s responsibility to the Agency.
The Members of the committee asked the Agency to furnish it with the breakdown of 2017 budget.