Senate set to float agency to fund road maintenance

By Wahab Akanji, Abuja

The upper legislative chambers, The Senate on Wednesday moved to establish an agency to fund road maintenance in the country as the bill for the organization scaled second reading on the floor.

Sponsor of the bill, Senator Kabiru Gaya, representing Kano South stated at plenary that the legal instrument seeks to establish a fund agency to collect road charges.

Gaya, a one- time governor of Kano State argued that revenue collected would be used to finance and rehabilitate national roads in the country, saying the bill recommends 5% charges from fuel prices.

According to the lawmaker, the agency when operational would be required to develop a road financing plan which would include the process of commercializing the roads.

He believes funds would reduce pressure on budget; pointing out that it would increase revenue mobilisation for road construction and rehabilitation as well as allocate additional revenue for government.

Gaya explained that the arrangement is not entirely new, pointing out that the sum of N711 billion generated is to be paid to Federal Road Maintenance Agency FERMA.

The road funds would also come from “access fee charges”, for vehicles plying the roads as well as fines for road traffic offenses.

Senator Shehu Sani frowns at the bill; arguing that having multiple agencies is not the solution to the problem.

“We have done this several times, {creating agencies}, but we have undermined them by not funding them”.

Sani said the problem is that Nigeria is not simply committed to the funding of road maintenance.

senator Barnabas Germade from Benue Northeast supports the bill.

He however wants it to cover roads in all the 130,000 roads spread across the three tiers of government in the country.

The bill was passed second time after President of the Senate Bukola Saraki puts the question.

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