Iyke Obi Durumba
The Federal Road Maintenance Agency has budgeted the sum of N38.2bn for its 2021 capital expenditure while also proposing N17.3bn for its recurrent expenditure. FERMA is tasked with maintaining over 36,000km of federal roads across Nigeria.
Engr. Nurudeen Rafindadi, FERMA Managing Director, fielded questions as he defended the agency’s 2021 Budget estimates before the Senate Committee for FERMA on Tuesday. He also gave account of the agency’s performance in 2020.
The MD gave a further breakdown of the agency’s recurrent budget overheads as N14.9bn covering maintenance costs, logistics, public works, administrative costs while costs as covered by IPPIS total N2.55bn.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on FERMA, Sen. Gershom Bassey directed the Agency to segregate its projects according to states and regions and re-present as Senators complained about absence of their constituencies from project distribution.
In her contribution, Sen. Stella Oduah (Anambra North) asked why the agency indulged in selective tendering. She also enquired into the benchmark used to determine priority projects.
Sen. Sa’idu Alkali (Gombe North) commended FERMA for work on FCE Gombe and Federal Hospital internal roads but complained about the scope of work done.
On his part, Sen.TA Orji (Abia Central) asked for the agency’s presentation to be made to reflect state and regional distribution of projects while Sen. Adelere Adeyemi Oriolowo (Osun West) called for a shift from ‘mechanized maintenance’ to routine maintenance of the nation’s roads.
Answering questions on how projects are prioritized, the MD said the nature of emergency and the call of the Ministry of Works determines what is done. He listed roads to ports and other high profile facilities, agricultural areas and tertiary
Drawing FERMA’s attention to the bad condition of the Benin-Auchi-Ekpoma Road, Sen. Ordia described it as “impassable” and wondered why nothing was being done. However, Rafindadi clarified the agency’s position of not getting involved in ongoing projects where contractors are on site. He said the Ministry of Works provides directives on such matters.