The Federal Capital Territory Administration(FCTA) would be running on a N1trillion budget in a couple of months as members of the National Assembly are looking to allow the FCTA to run two fiscal budgets concurrently.
The idea raised by the chairman, Senate committee on FCT, Senator Smart Adeyemi, if approved, will enable the administration to meet some of its financial obligations, including the completion of priority projects in the territory.
Recall that the Senate, on October 12, 2022, passed the second reading of the N607.962 billion FCT budget, after several objections over the lateness of its presentation.
However, senator Adeyemi, who led other senators on the inspection of some public schools and hospitals in the territory as part of their oversight function, said the senate may have to extend the 2022 budget by 6 months, allowing it to run concurrently with that of 2023 budget when passed.
Adeyemi while fielding questions from journalists, assured that the 2022 budget of the FCT will be passed when the national assembly resumed recess in two weeks’ time.
He explained that despite the delay in budget presentation, governance of the territory was not put on hold, as the peculiarities of the FCT allow the FCT minister access to up to 50 per cent of the budget pending approval from the Senate.
According to Adeyemi, “The National assembly, we are thinking of the possibility of extending the budgets for 3 months or allowing it run concurrently with the 2023 budget, then we will be having over a trillion naira budget for both years. Let’s not forget that even before we passed the budget, the minister can spend up to 50 per cent of the provision so it’s not as if they cannot spend money but the fact is that they cannot spend beyond that limit.
“What we are doing now is to make sure that when we resume, we pass the budget and when we do, we come with a motion of the budget running concurrently. Which is my thinking and is subject to the approval of the Senate. But I will advise that, because the more money we put into circulation, the more jobs we create, and the more money will circulate in society. If the economy is bad, it’s bad because people do not have money to spend, but when we engage people, so many others will benefit.
“So my thinking is let us look at the possibility of allowing the budget to run concurrently and discuss with the honourable minister of the FCT. Let’s allow the budget to run concurrently even for 3 or 6 months. This has been down even at the federal level once or twice. So there is nothing missing.”
While inspecting facilities at the Nyanya General Hospital, the committee chairman called for the expansion of the hospital to enable it to cater for the over 11,000 patients who visit the facility every month.
He, therefore, urged the FCTA to consider the interest of the masses in all its programmes and vowed to make budgetary provisions for healthcare services an utmost priority.
Permanent Secretary, FCT, Olusade Adesola, who conducted the committee round its projects, said plans were in top gear for the establishment of Model Schools across the FCT as well as upgrade facilities at Government Science Secondary School, Pyakassa, Maitama-Abuja.
Adesola who represented the FCT minister, Mallam Muhammad Bello, pointed out that the influx of people into the FCT is over-stretching the social facilities and infrastructure provided by the government and urged NASS to ensure adequate budgetary provision for their expansion.
While appealing to the National Assembly to support the efforts of the administration in providing critical infrastructure for the well-being of the residents, Adesola said the administration will always make judicious use of resources provided to it by the National Assembly.
The projects visited include Senior Government Secondary School, Junior Secondary School I; Junior Secondary School II, and LEA Primary School all in Nyanya; Nyanya General Hospital, Asokoro District Hospital, as well as Government Science Secondary School Pyakassa, Maitama-Abuja among others.
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