Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has made the last assessment of the projects executed in the last seven years of the Muhammadu Buhari government by the minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello.
The Senate Committee, led by its chairman, Senator Tolu Odebiyi, during an oversight visit to key projects under construction in the nation’s capital today, July 21, said: “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.”
The Senate Committee Chairman said that it is awaiting the Minister and his team to present the Senate with their budgets, where he is expected to catalogue priority projects are and that, based on what funding available and what revenue they have been able to generate, “we will try and see how we can approve the funding adequately.”
He however, scored the FCT Administration high on execution of high-quality projects in the capital city despite dwindling economic fortunes after inspecting the projects from Southern Parkway through the Ring Road 1 interchange at Kaura District, Wuye bridge and Federal Secretariat and National Assembly complexes.
Senator Odebiyi expressed satisfaction on the level of completion of most of the projects after visiting the project sites.
“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.”
This was even as the Minister said that the current FCT Administration has been able to achieve many successes due to the smooth relationship between it and the National Assembly.
Musa Bello said that with the challenge of paucity of funds, the FCT Administration decided to prioritize key infrastructure projects based on their impact to residents.
“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 is the intention of the Administration to round off the tenure of President 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.”
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.
“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.
“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.”