From Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has proposed a National Priority Budget of N30,704,674.051 to the Senate Committee on the FCT, based on the National Priority Budget capital envelop for the 2019 fiscal year for the Territory.
FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, presented the request, when he led a delegation of senior FCTA officials to the National Assembly. Bello revealed that about 30 strategic national projects are envisaged. They include construction of the Abuja Light Rail Lot 1B and Lot 1&3, provision of engineering infrastructure to several districts, payment of counterpart funds, completion of the International Technical and Vocational Institute, Utako and four comprehensive science and technical colleges in Abaji, Kuje, Gwagwalada and Karshi in addition to provision of primary infrastructure, including road, water, sewage and power supply to mass housing districts among others.
While giving performance analysis of various projects under the 2018 FCT national budget, Bello revealed that although N32,298,122,862.00 was appropriated, what was actually released to the FCTA was N9,689,436,861.77.
He also clarified that only 15 of the 33 priority projects listed for implementation, were executed up to various stages. The minister, however, attributed this to the non-release of funds to the FCTA, a situation which he said was not peculiar to the FCT alone.
The Chairman Senate Committee on the FCT, Senator Dino Melaye, expressed his displeasure with the inadequate release of funds to the FCT.
He appealed to the Federal Government to treat the FCT as a national priority project and make available more funds for the development of the Federal Capital Territory, saying Abuja city is the seat of the federal government that also host about 90 percent of the foreign embassies in the country. The senator noted that it would constitute a national embarrassment if the utilities in the FCT are not functioning properly.
He also commended the FCT Minister for his transparent approach to governance and prudent management of resources.
In another development, Bello has decried the wanton blockade of Abuja city walkways by some individuals and organisations. He has also ordered their immediate recovery to their original use by relevant agencies and departments of the FCTA, describing it as an unlawful act.
He gave this directive during the FCT Executive Committee meeting at his residence.
He noted that with elections now over, there was a need to clean up Abuja by removing all posters and other electioneering materials that tended to litter the city. The minister said the order was necessary as Abuja is expected to play host to many foreign dignitaries, for the inauguration ceremony of President Buhari on May 29, adding the FCT must be tidied up not just during that event but at all times.