Senate queries FCDA over revenue generation
Speaking during the debate on the 2012 FCT Appropriation Bill, Senator Mark decried the absence of a clearly defined revenue generation profile by the FCT in 2012 and said the FCT administration must embark on massive revenue drive.
Senator Mark also condemned the failure by the FCT administration to pay compensation to indigenes whose lands were taken over by government.
Presenting the 2012 FCT appropriation bill of N306.499 billion, Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba said the thrust of the budget is on the completion of ongoing districts and roads within the territory.
He also listed the other areas to include improvement of water supply, rehabilitation of public schools, health facilities as well as expansion of infrastructure in the satellite towns.
Mark noted that it was embarrassing that 35 years after the creation of Abuja, Nigerians are still talking about resettlement and compensation of indigenes of the area.
He noted that it was either the issue had not been adequately dealt with or there were fraudulent activities involved in the resettlement and compensation of indigenes.
Mark asked the committee on FCT to look into the matter to avoid a situation where funds were budgeted for the same purpose every year.
He said: “It is actually an embarrassment that 35 years after the establishment of Abuja we are still talking of compensation and resettlement of indigenes of Abuja.
“I think truly either we have not seriously addressed the issue or there is a big fraud in it and I think the committee must look into this and make sure that in 2013 we are not talking about compensation for Abuja indigenes.”
On revenue generation Mark said: “I have not seen any aggressive revenue profile.
“They have not shown that they are going to generate enough revenue internally and Abuja is in a position to do that much more than any other city today.
“They have to embark on serious taxation and because of the calibre of people who move into Abuja, if they carry out enough taxation, they should be able to generate enough revenue.”
Leading the debate on the FCT 2012 appropriation bill, Victor Ndoma-Egba explained that out of the appropriated sum, N42.9 billion is for personal cost while N44.7 billion is for overhead cost.
Egba also stated that the sum of N219.5 billion would be spent on capital projects while the transport sector received the sum of N45.4 billion, which is higher than any amount allocated to any sector.
Other senators who contributed to the debate threw their weight behind the recommendations. In his contribution, the deputy senate leader, Ike Ekweremadu emphasised the need for more facilities to boost the infrastructural development in the FCT.
The senators also lamented the deplorable state of most infrastructures in the territory.
Senator Dahiru Sukuta of Niger State said: “Abuja is a dirty city, not much is being done to keep the city clean.”
Emmanuel Paulker of Bayelsa State added that “facilities in hospitals and public schools in the FCT are fast deteriorating and need to be worked on for better healthcare and education.”
Ayogu Eze expressed hope that the 2012 budget will mark the restoration of the Abuja master plan, improve sanitation and remove street traders from the city as their menace is becoming unbearable.
Senator Mudashiru Husian, however, strongly questioned some aspects of the budget, stressing that most projects captured in the 2011 budget are reappearing in the 2012 budget but with different amounts.
Mark, while ruling, advised the FCT administration to develop the satellite towns to ease the over stretching of amenities in the centre.