Nigerian Senate has considered a Bill to authorize the sum of N232.8 billion for the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) for the 2020 fiscal year.
The consideration of the 2020 budget for the FCT comes barely twenty-four hours after the senate received a formal request to that effect from President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Federal Capital Territory Statutory Appropriation Bill, 2020, which was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on FCT for further legislative work, was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi.
Giving a breakdown of the FCT 2020 budget, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi in his lead debate on the bill, said out of the sum of N232,875,365,947 budgeted, N53,876,241,095 is for personnel cost, N57,070,343,435 for overhead cost and N121,928,781,417 for capital projects.
The lawmaker recalled that in the 2019 fiscal year, the FCT Administration received an Appropriation of N243,374,511,007 as its statutory budget.
A breakdown of the 2019 expenditure, according to Abdullahi, showed that the sum of N41,999,045,982.01 was spent on personnel costs, N32,445,971,579 on overheads and N46,292,431,523.09 on capital projects.
The Senate Leader stated that during the year 2019, a total sum of N120,737,449,084.07 accrued to the Federal Capital Territory as revenue, an amount which, according to the lawmaker, represents “about fifty percent level of performance.”
“The thrust of the FCT 2020 budget is to ensure an effective service oriented administration in order to ensure completion of ongoing projects and the provision of effective services to residents of the FCT,” Yahaya Abdullahi said.
Among projects to be implemented by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) in the year 2020 are: provision of infrastructural facilities to districts and road construction in Jahi, Wuye and Karmo with the sum of N6.3 billion; reconstruction and finalisation of Lower Usman Dam and Gurara Road pegged at N1.5 billion, and N3.5 billion for proposed counterpart funding for Greater Abuja Water Supply.
Others are: construction of Cultural Centre and Millennium Tower at N1 billion; rehabilitation and expansion of Outer Southern Expressway from Villa Roundabout to Osex/Ring Road 1 Junction at N1 billion; N1.3 billion for completion of Roads B6, B12 and Circle Road, Abuja, Central Area, and N500 million for the provision of access road to Kabusa Garden.
Senators who contributed to the debate threw their weights behind the approval of the sum budgeted for the FCT in the 2020 fiscal year.
However, some lawmakers such as George Thompson Sekibo and James Manager argued that the FCT budget be presented by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory to the National Assembly.
Responding to the arguments by both lawmakers, the Senate President explained that going that path would run contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution which allows only a sitting President to present the country’s annual budget to a joint session of the National Assembly.
Senator Lawan also called on the FCTA to improve on revenue generation so as to be able to deliver on projects needed to further develop the FCT.
He also charged the Senate Committee on FCT to invite the Minister, Muhammad Bello, so as to review the performance of the FCTA in the 2019 fiscal year.
“On the performance of the previous year, I think our Committee on FCT will be there to represent us.
“I can’t imagine the Committee inviting the FCT Administration, the Minister and his people and not ask for review of performance of the Budget 2019.
“I believe when they (Committee) report to us, they should tell us what happened, including the area of revenue generation.