The Federal Government has condemned the move by the Senate to scrap FERMA and the plan to replace it with yet to be established, Federal Roads Authority (FRA).
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), while addressing the Senator Kabiru Gaya, led Senate Committee on Works, at a one day public hearing on the repeal of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency Act and the Re-enactment of the Federal Roads Authority Bill, at the Senate building Abuja. He said that, action should be concentrated on sustaining and repositioning of the existing FERMA brand to give it more strength and valour, rather than its total scraping and replacement.
Fashola expressed that all recommendations that have been made for maintenance in the would be FRA Act, should be embodied in the existing FERMA Act, which is already in existence to enhance its optimum performance, instead of total scraping; pointing out that FERMA is a brand that has been established and accepted.
In his words, “repeal the existing FERMA law, re-enact it and put all of the new things we want to create inside it instead of creating a new agency, because FERMA was set up for maintenance in the very first place. It has acquired the name, it has acquired the brand, we can build on that brand instead of creating a new one”
Before now, Senator Kabiru Gaya, representing APC Kano South, had sponsored a bill to repeal FERMA Act and replace it with FRA, alleging that FERMA lacked the capacity to properly maintain roads across the nation. This was due to lack of proper funding on the part of FERMA.
Earlier, while declaring open the public hearing, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said that the new amendment would surely reset the direction of the infrastructural maintenance and funding and also ensure private participation; pointing out that good roads network is very important to the development of the country.