By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Works, Toby Okechukwu has said that President Muhammad Buhari stands the chance of re-writing the history of Nigerian in the roads sector if he endorses the Federal Roads Authority (FRA)Bill
This even as the lawmaker advised the President to sign the FRA Bill into law as it will rapidly transforms the Nigerian roads sector that has remained in comatose over the years.
Okechukwu who disclosed this in a chat with journalists yesterday noted that, the piece of legislation which had been on a legislative sojourn since 1971, could not see the light of the day.
“This piece of legislation has been on a legislative sojourn since 1971 and has failed to see daylight until we decided to hold the bull by the horns and passed it just last week.
The lawmaker representing Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency of Enugu state under the platform of PDP said: “As a Committee we are grateful to the Speaker because he had to take the Bill himself in the absence of the Deputy Speaker, we actually had to amend our Rules for him to be able to sit as Chairman of the Committee of the Whole to consider the report.
In his word: “The Federal Roads Authority Bill is one of the reform bills that have passed through the House, actually we are concurring what the Senate has passed.
“We had earlier on passed the Roads Fund Bill, these are fundamental reform bills that will make it possible for us to perform in accordance to what happens in other jurisdictions; it means the road sector will now be functional, they would be able to raise funds through other sources, they will be able to commercialize the roads, they would have road user charges that would eventually seed capital for funding the road sector.
“Essentially what we do annually is to intervene through appropriation and most of the times you will find out the contractors know the budget more than you who is preparing it; once the road is not in the budget they will disappear, they will down their tools but with the seed capital which you can get from the Roads Fund, it will now be possible for you to have fund even if you are raising about a 100billion, the combined effect of that with annual Appropriation Bill will be significant in such a way that you would be able to maintain your roads, you will be able to develop new ones.
Okechukwu stressed that, “there is need to create entities that become vehicles for improvement in the sector.
“So if we are able to raise some funds that people can invest, that the Authority can invest in the development and maintenance of roads, now when government intervenes, you will find out that it is an addendum to what is existing and based on that you can even give an oral contract, people would be running around wanting to participate in the road sector.