The Senator representing Cross River Southern Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Gershom Bassey has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to swiftly give his accent to the Federal Road Authority Bill.
Senator Bassey emphasised why the president should give priority attention to fixing roads in parts of the country.
While addressing newsmen in Calabar during an interview, the senator said as airfares have become increasingly unaffordable even by the rich, it was imperative for the government to urgently fix all federal roads to enable the movement of goods and individuals.
Bassey,who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) disclosed that the Federal Road Authority Bill is one of several Bills awaiting presidential accent, stressing that the president should help Nigerians swiftly so that the Bill can be passed into law.
Bassey said, “I think we need to do something about it and prioritize our roads, especially when it is probably the only means of moving goods, services and people from one point to another”.
Airfares are too high and we don’t have inland waterways. Our only way of moving goods, people and services from one point to another are by road.
Therefore,”we must prioritize road maintenance and we want to urge the President to give accent to the Federal Road Authority Bill and also take another look at the budget for FERMA because we need money to maintain our roads”.
The Cross River Caucus Chairman in the National Assembly, Bassey pleaded with his colleagues in the Senate to intervene so that the president can see the imperative to give accent.
According to him, the Senate has agreed that FERMA would require a minimum of N300 billion every year just to maintain our roads, adding that there is a backlog of over N1 trillion that had not been paid on the law that was passed in the senate in 2009 on FERMA.
The senator further disclosed that “The budget for FERMA has been slashed to N18 billion from N45 billion, which reasons they are unable to fix many roads promptly”.
Road rehabilitation is very different from maintenance. We need to maintain the road infrastructure, which contracts usually last for six months typically.
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