Posted by News Express | 12 December 2019 | 552 times
The Senate has said it will invite the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to explain the whereabouts of the over N800 billion collected for the maintenance of roads across the country.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan in a statement, stated that the funds meant to be remitted to the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) cannot be swept under the carpet.
Lawan, in his concluding 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, stressed that corruption is responsible for some of the challenges facing the road sector in Nigeria.
“Corruption is also responsible for some of the challenges we face in our road sector.
“I believe that we need to demand what happened to over N800 billion that PPPRA was alleged to have collected.
“I think that we will take that as a separate issue because we need to verify and confirm, even for the sake of allowing PPPRA to defend itself, because this is not something that we can sweep under the carpet. N800 billion can do a lot of things for our country,” Lawan said.
According to the Senate President, previous efforts by Nigeria to concession government enterprise failed.
“We recall that the privatisation of various enterprises was made right from 1986 till date, and in most cases the privatisation or concessioning processes were flawed and of course, we suffer as a country.”
“So, we just have to be very careful. We insist we go on the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) partnership, but we have to ensure that everything is done within the law as required, so that no one takes advantage of his position in government to short-change the entire people of the country.”
Meanwhile, sponsor of the bill, Senator Gershom Bassey, in his lead debate, decried the pressure exerted on Nigerian roads, owing to the underdeveloped nature of other means of transportation.
“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.
“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.”
He stated that the bill if passed into law would among 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. (Channels TV)
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