The Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) on Monday lamented that poor funding of the agency is limiting the maintenance of roads in the country.
This is coming as the Senate President Ahmed Lawan declared that the citizenry would have to live with the harsh reality that paucity of funds may hamstrung the federal government from providing all the needed transport infrastructure presently.
The FERMA Managing Director, Nuruddeen Rafindadi, who spoke at the Nigeria-South Africa road transport infrastructure and private public collaboration initiative in Abuja, said that insufficient funding had negatively impacted on the agency’s operations over the years, hence the need for innovative alternative funding sources.
Such alternative sources, he stated, have clearly become a necessity rather an option.
He said extreme weather conditions such as excessive floods due to heavy rainfall in recent years had also necessitated a paradigm shift towards the design, construction and maintenance for resilient road infrastructure to curtail the impacts and losses being experienced.
Rafindadi added that the agency was a willing partner in the think-tank for the realisation of resilient road infrastructure.
In his remarks, the Senate President and Chairman, National Assembly, Ahmad Lawan, lamented that the transportation sector in the country is seriously lagging behind.
Lawan, who was represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Works and Housing, Adamu Aliero, said that the government may not be able meet Nigerian’s’ yearning for better infrastructure across the country.
According to him, “Given the current fiscal constraints that the economy is facing, the government may not be able to meet up with the demand for infrastructure especially in transportation which is severely lagging behind due to years of corruption in the sector.
“The government is working towards reviving the railways in Nigeria so that efficient movement of people, goods and services in a safe and secure location can be achieved. We all have to work together to develop our country and enabling environment provided by government will ensure that the private sector becomes an important development partner.”
The Senate President added that the National Assembly was ready to work with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to ensure all bottlenecks to sustainable public private partnership (PPP) processes are removed.
“We are prepared to look at the ICRC act and see where it requires amendment so that the private sector can come in partner with the government to develop our infrastructure. We will do all that we can to ensure that we restore the confidence of investors in Nigeria or outside the country,” he added
Also speaking at the workshop, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said the federal government was deploying several incentives to encourage private sector participation in infrastructure development.
Fashola, who was represented by the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu, urged all investors both within and outside the country to optimise their participation.
Also, the Minister of State, Finance, Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, stressed that infrastructure is critical to economic development, poverty reduction and job creation.
The minister, who was represented by Philip Ogbodaga, said due to its commitment to the development of viable and bankable PPP projects, the federal government had already put in place alternative frameworks and an enabling environment to encourage the participation of the private sector in infrastructure projects and invited industry players to take full advantage of this.