The Federal Capital Territory Administration has stated that its federal allocation in the 2023 fiscal year, has dropped from N59bn awarded in 2022 to N13.5bn.
This was said by the Minister, Muhammad Bello, while defending the N607.9 billion 2022 budget in front of the Joint Committee on FCT of the National Assembly.
In his presentation to the committee, the Minister stated that while the territory had received N59 billion from its 1% allocation from the federal budget in the fiscal year 2022, that amount had been reduced to N13.5 billion for the following year.
Only N19 billion, he claimed, had been released thus far out of the N59 billion allocated for it from the federation account’s federal government portion in the 2022 fiscal year.
He said, “The FCT budget has two components. One is yearly allocation from 1% of the Federal Government share of the federation account and the second one is internally generated revenue which has over the years been the main sustenance of governmental operations in FCT.
“In the N607.9bn 2022 budget of FCT, the federal allocation is just N59billion out of which only N19bn has been released.
“For the 2023 fiscal year, the projected federal allocation has been drastically slashed to N13.5bn despite the increase in the number of planned projects from 20 in the 2022 fiscal year to 22 in the 2023 fiscal year.”
He explained that out of the proposed N607.9bn 2022 budget, N76.6bn was for personnel cost, N138bn for overhead cost and the remaining balance of N393.2bn for capital projects.
According to him, one of the critical projects the capital votes are to be used on is the Greater Abuja Water Project, planned to provide portable water for 29 additional districts within the territory; rehabilitation and expansion of outer southern expressway; expansion and extension of inner southern expressway; construction of southern parkway from Christian Centre, B6 812; reconstruction and dualisation of lower Usuma Dam-Gurara road; construction of access roads for Abuja Light Rail Stations; resurfacing of existing roads and provision of emergency works in the FCT, among others.
The construction of the 14km Mpape-Shere Galuwyi road, a bold initiative of the administration, is to ensure the successful resettlement of original inhabitants in about 16 communities. The resettlement site covers about 900 hectares of land in Bwari Area Council, to resettle the 16 villages namely: Utako, Maje, Mabushi, Jabi Samuel, Jabi Yakubu, Kpaadna, Zhilu, Gishini, Dakibiyu, Gwarimpa, Galadima, Jahi & II Kado, Bimiko, Kado Kuchi and Lungu presently domiciled within phases II and III of the city.
He said as a result of huge financial demands, the territory was now adopting integration of indigenes into newly opened districts as against the resettlement policy that had been causing crisis over the years.
“System of re-settlement earlier put in place has not worked, making us adopt the policy of integration as presently being done in Kabusa,” he said.
On security, Bello disclosed to the committee members that 60 vehicles worth N2bn would be distributed to various security agencies like the Nigeria Police Force, the Army, civil defence and other security outlets by next week Thursday.
Other members of the committee who commented, tasked the minister to come up with a framework for the regulation of the public transportation system within the territory as well as the provision of required infrastructure in satellite areas, set for oversight visitation on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
However, the committee led by its chairman, Senator Smart Adeyemi ( APC Kogi West), tasked the minister to start implementation of property tax in FCT for required revenue generation.
Adeyemi said implementation of property tax in FCT would not only give the administration, N200bn to N250bn in a year, but also help in preventing crime and criminality within the territory.
He said, “It is only in Nigeria that people are allowed to build houses or estates without renting them out for many years, which invariably serve as hideouts for criminally minded ones.
“With the enforcement of payment of property tax, such practice will stop,” he said.
The committee chairman noted that Abuja was like other places in the other world because when people from the international community come around for conferences, they most times extend their stay.
Adeyemi noted that it was not about how long they had to work but what they could achieve in the few months left for the administration to end.
He said, “I also want to commend the vice chairman of this committee, Senator Tolu Odebiyi, who was the acting chairman then, he really did well. I had the privilege of attending some of their oversight I was impressed to see that a lot has been done.
“It is not how long, but how well. We can still achieve a lot within this short period of time. We will make effort to see that the ongoing projects are completed.
“A lot has been said about this budget coming in late, but there is a provision that says that you can utilise about 50% if the projects expressed a challenge. So for us, we still believe that a lot can still be achieved between now and then.”
The committee chairman also commended the minister for his good works and his transparency in carrying out his duries.
Adeyemi added, “You have done well, I have seen a lot of the completed projects and many of the ongoing projects. Let me commend you that you’ve done well and you’re doing well.
“Ours is to complement what you’re doing and see how we can make things better in order areas.”