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2015 budget: FERMA gets zero allocation

Published by Tribune on Tue, 10 Mar 2015

As Works Ministry gets N11bn capital voteMinister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen, said on Monday, that the Federal Roads Maintenance Authority (FERMA) was given zero allocation in the 2015 capital votes of the ministry.The minister, who was appearing before the lawmakers to defend the budget of his ministry, said no single amount was allocated to FERMA out of the N11 billion capital votes approved for the ministry.Onolememen said the proposed capital budget of the ministry was slashed from the projected N100 billion to just N11 billion by the Ministry of Finance, based on the economic realities on ground.According to him, FERMA and the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation were affected by the zero allocation for capital projects.He also stated that as a result of the slash in the ministry's budget, only 33 out of the 210 ongoing road projects were provided as the Ministry of Finance slashed the budgets due to the economic realities in 2015.The minister said: 'No provision has been made for other departments of the ministry, such as Road and Bridge Design Departments, Mechanical and Electrical Department, as well as Service Department.'He also said that since 2011, the ministry had always been owed outstanding budgeted funds, which he said amounted to N203.392 billion by the end of the 2014 fiscal year.The minister further said: 'Only N45, 682, 844, 395.00 billion was released to the Works Ministry out of 2014 capital appropriation of N98, 814, 368, 704 billion. This leaves a balance of N53, 131, 524, 309.00 biilion not released as at December 2014.'It is important to emphasise that the performance of the ministry would have been considerably enhanced if the outstanding budgeted funds of N53.131billion had been released to the ministry.'More importantly, if the cumulative outstanding budgeted funds of N203, 392, 075, 947.25 for the period spanning 2011 to 2014 had been released, the total indebtedness would have been brought down from N230 billion to N27 billion.'The minister said as a result of the lean budgetary allocations, the ministry had instituted a model of Public Private Partnership, which was being explored to execute capital projects.Senate Committee chairman on Works, Senator Ayogu Eze, described that ministry's budgetary allocation as 'very terrible for a sector that needs at least N500 billion annually for road construction and maintenance.'He said: 'To now be given just N11 billion, one would need be a magician to perform wonders with such lean allocation than just being a minister.'The picture being painted by this budget profile is very grim. We are in a period of crisis which we must all manage very critically.
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