Wike seeks NASS approval to spend N61.6bn

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, has sought approval of the National Assembly to spend N61.6 billion 2023 supplementary budget.

Wike made the appeal on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Minister made the request when he appeared before the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on FCT at the National Assembly complex.

Wike said that the supplementary budget was to accommodate additional inflows, comprising receipts from Paris Club Refund, Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Tax Liabilities, and Special Intervention Funds.

Other sources are: Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and the Infrastructure Support Fund, leading to a revised budget of N641.3 billion as against the N579.7 billion earlier budgeted for 2023 financial year.

He explained that the funds, if approved, would be channeled towards completion of priority projects in the infrastructure sector.

The Minister added that the projects, if completed, would improve ease of transportation, provide gainful employment for the citizenry, and achieve positive impact on the citizens in general.

Wike clarified: “In order to complete prioritised projects and programmes, I planned to apply a funding plan that guarantees payments to the contractors on a monthly basis, following payment of mobilisation as applicable.

“Balances thereon, are to be paid through the issuance of Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) against the IGR of the FCT Administration.

“Unfortunately, provisions for some of the projects identified as priority are either insufficient or not provided in the FCT 2023 Statutory Appropriation”.

Giving breakdown of the supplementary budget, the Wike said that N25.8 billion was from Paris Club Refund, and N14.3 billion as refund of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System/PAYE tax liabilities.

Others are N5 billion as special intervention fund, N9.4 billion IGR and N7 billion from infrastructure support fund, amounting to N61.6 billion.

He identified some of the priority projects, such as the resurfacing of existing roads and remedial work Phase I and II, and completion of road B6, B12 and Circle Road in Abuja Central Area.

Other projects are full scope development of arterial road, from Northern Parkway to Outer Northern Expressway and construction of Southern Parkway from Christian Centre to Ring Road I.

The funds would also go into the rehabilitation and expansion of Outer Southern Expressway from Villa Roundabout to Osex/Ring Road I Junction, including four interchanges and provision of access road to Kabusa Garden Estate.

Other projects to benefit from the supplementary budget include the completion of the Vice President’s residence awarded since 2010, but abandoned due to lack of funds, and construction of cultural centre and millennium tower.

Also included is the rehabilitation of National Christian Centre and National Mosque, and provision of mass transit buses and rehabilitation of existing and serviceable vehicles, among others.

The Minister said that the projects would be completed before May 29, 2024, and would be inaugurated among the deliverables of President Bola Tinubu’s one year in office.

“I wish to crave for the committee’s kind consideration passage of the above proposal as a supplementary appropriation to the 2023 Statutory Appropriation Act of the FCT passed by the National Assembly and signed by Mr President,” he pleaded.

The Chairman of the House Committee on FCT, Muktar Betara, commended Wike for his passion to develop the territory.

He, however, urged him to reconsider the uniform fees pegged as charged for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy.

He stressed that people living in Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse and others should not pay the same fees as those in satellite towns.

Also, the Chairman Senate Committee on FCT, Ibrahim Bomai, also lauded the Minister’s initiative to complete ongoing projects while other issues like security, education and health was provided for in the 2024 budget.

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