A bill seeking to take the obligation of road construction, maintenance and rehabilitation from the Federal Government is currently under consideration at the Senate.
If passed and approved by the executive, the bill will allow local and foreign investors to take over the responsibility.
Gershom Bassey, Chairman Senate Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, revealed this on Sunday during an interview with journalists in Abuja.
He noted that the Senate mooted the bill owing to the FG’s blatant inability to work out lasting solutions to the deplorable condition of Nigerian roads.
The FERMA Act, as amended, requires the Petroleum Products Pricing Agency (PPPRA) to remit 5% of its pump price template to FERMA, Mr Bassey disclosed.
However, the total funds not remitted by the PPPRA to FERMA since 2007 stand at around N870 billion.
The senator went further to state that the Senate believed the FG was incapable of undertaking the task of repairing the nation’s roads with annual budgetary allocation.
Bassey asserted that “The PPPRA has not remitted any amount to FERMA or to the state agencies since the law was signed.
“The last figure we had when we started our investigation was that the unremitted funds had accumulated to N870bn which is due to both FERMA and the states’ road agencies.
“We must find a solution. The new legislation that the Senate is working on now seeks to move road construction and maintenance off the federal budget and let the private sector come in.
“There is no rocket science here. This idea has been working in other parts of the world and it cannot be different in Nigeria.
“Money will automatically flow into our roads because the private sector will be willing and ready to invest since they know it’s a thriving business and they would recoup their money.”
The proposed legislation, Mr Bassey observed, would cater for setting up the structures, the first being to establish a new body to be called the Federal Road Authority (FRA) to replace FERMA.
FRA will take ownership of the roads with the mandate to deliver good roads by whatever means. The second is the infrastructure fund.
An infrastructure fund is a specialised fund or scheme that enables investors to invest in companies and industries that contribute to various infrastructure projects (essential public assets such as toll roads, airports and rail facilities).
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