By Jamila Musa
The population of Abuja is increasing every passing minutes and if we are to ever avoid repeating the mistakes of Lagos, our former capital city, there is need for government to quickly do the needful. The needful is the provision of the basic minimum infrastructural requirements through the increase in the funding for projects in the federal capital territtory.
It is therefore not surprising that the man saddled with the task of administrating the territory and providing the much needed developmental infrastructures in Abuja, the minister Musa Bello have called for increase in the budgetary allocations of the FCT to meet those challenges.
The minister who made the call while presenting the 2020 National priority budget of the FCT to the committee of the House of representatives on the FCT stated the obvious by calling for more funding to avoid the disaster waiting to happen. Better funding of the FCT administration would surely enable it to fulfil on its mandate of building a world class capital city for all.
It is generally true that budgetary allocations have increased to the FCT since the administration of president Buhari came to power,it is also true that it has not been enough to build the dream city becoming a reality called Abuja. The minister while presenting the estimate revealed that while it is true that government is doing well in the pragmatic improvement in funding for the FCT,much is still needed. He said the ministry plans to spend about 28,422,80g,431,00 for the national priority budget.
The budget of 2019 failed in its performances,it is noteworthy to know but the minister has promised to prioritize and rollover only essential on-going projects without making provisions for new projects and this is commendable. He has also planned to reduce the number of projects from 30 as contained in the 2019 National budget to 13.
A breakdown of the budget proposals which he submitted to the house includes the developments of the Idu industrial 1Bl infrastructure,Rehabilitation and expansion of the airport expressway projects lot 1,counterpart funding for the greater Abuja water supply projects,Abuja rail mass transit projects 1 and 3,construction of Abuja rail mass transit lot 1B and rehabilitation of the federal government buildings amongst others.
It is heartwarming to see and hear that the members of the house committee on the FCT concurred with our able minister, Mohammed Bello on the need for better and enhanced funding for the provisions of infrastructures for the FCT considering the enormous responsibility placed on the shoulders of the minister of building a better and modern capital territory for all Nigerians.
The need for sustainable funding of infrastructures in Abuja has become a pressing issue.It is undeniable,that there is an urgent need for investments in infrastuctures to reduce the cost of doing business and increase the ease of living in Abuja. The huge funding requirements on infrastructures in Abuja,it is noteworthy to note,means that the traditional methods of funding infrastructural projects in Abuja can no longer be sustained. The minister must be commended for acknowledging that the government due to competing needs do not have the resources to singularly fund such needed infrastructural deficits in Abuja. We thank the minister for his initiatives in addressing this malaise such as the introduction of the public finance initiatives and the public private partnership initiatives as some of the financial models that would be used in the financing of the needed Abuja developmental infrastructures.
We want to commend the minister for the initiatives which he has put in place to help boost the infrastructural developments of the FCT. Such initiative includes:
THE PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP.
Examples of projects which have been or are being financed through this models includes,the Abuja light rail projects which many describes as a model of the PPP.
The minister is doing well. The innovative for projects and infrastructural finance should include the project specific infrastructural plans which was announced by the minister of finance last year. The minister should also do all he can to see that Abuja is included in the discussion on the the infrastructural bond to fund road projects.The recent steps taken by our indefatigable minister is one in the right direction.However as highlighted,more need to be done by the minister if this strategy is to be successful.It is also important to note that such projects will be attractive to investors if those projects are viable,properly developed and satisfies the bankability test.The onus therefore lies on the minister and his advisers to ensure that projects are properly structured. Minister bello,posterity will judge you,right.