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Senate probes PPPRA over N800bn roads maintenance fund



Senate probes PPPRA over N800bn roads maintenance fund

Senate, has disclosed plan to investigate the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA over alleged non-remittance of N800 billion to the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA for the maintenance of roads across the country.

President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, dropped the hint in his remarks on a bill for an Act to repeal the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency Act, 2002 and to establish the Federal Roads Authority Bill, 2019.

According to him, previous efforts by Nigeria to concession government enterprise failed as a result of systemic corruption.

He, therefore, called for public-private-partnership in the construction of roads across the country if government must meet up to its responsibility of providing good roads.

Earlier while presenting the bill, its sponsor, Senator Gershom Bassey (PDP Cross River South), said that the 36,000km federal road network is by far the largest and most valuable single public infrastructure asset owned by the federal government of Nigeria.

According to the lawmaker, “there is nowhere in the world that this expanse of road network is managed solely by government.

“But unfortunately, over 80 percent of goods and services are transported by road leading to tremendous pressure on our roads since other modes of transportation like rail and shipping are underdeveloped and air transport is too expensive for most Nigerians.”

Bassey stated that while road development and maintenance in Nigeria seems uncoordinated and vulnerable to extreme climate events, “funding is poor and comes in an unpredictable manner making the cost of road maintenance in Nigeria to be one of the highest in the world.”

He stated that the bill if passed into law would amongst other things, promote the sustainable development and operation of the road sector; and facilitate the development of competitive markets and the promotion of enabling environment for private sector participation in financing, maintenance and improvement of roads in Nigeria.

Contributing, Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi (APC Ekiti North) blamed the poor state of roads across the country on the high level of impunity by relevant agencies of government.

He wondered why the PPPRA disregarded the provisions of the FERMA Act which makes provision for a five percent deduction on petroleum products for road maintenance.

The bill was referred by Lawan to the Senate Committee on Works for further legislative action.

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