By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – THE Senate Wednesday decried the state of bad roads across the country and has begun moves to scrap the present Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA, to replace it with what would be called the Federal Roads Authority, just as the bill on Wednesday scaled second reading.
According to the Senate, with the establishment of the Federal Roads Authority, FRA, it would be an end to the duplication of functions between FERMA and the Highways Department of the Ministry of Works.
In his lead debate on a Bill titled, A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency( establishment, etc.) Act, 2002( as amended) and to establish the Federal Roads Authority to promote a safe, efficient and cost effective management of roads network and other matters connected there with, 2016, sponsor of the Bill, Senator Kabiru Gaya, APC, Kano North said that when passed into law, the proposed FRA would be a semi-autonomous road agency.
The bill which scaled second reading, was referred to Senate Committee on Works, with three weeks to report back.
In his lead debate, Senator Gaya said, ” permit me to lead the debate of this important Bill which seeks to repeal the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency Act N7 LFN 2002 and to establish the Federal Roads Authority.
“The Bill was read for the First time on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, 16th March, 2016. The Federal Roads Authority which would be a semi-autonomous road agency, will be responsible for the professional management of federal roads in the country, involving planning, design, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance, thereby ending the duplication of functions between FERMA and the Highways Department of the Ministry of Works.
“Over the years, the country has established Maritime Authority, Inland Waterways Authority and Airports Authority. The “road”, which is the most essential link for all other transport modes as we speak, has no Authority hence the need for this Bill to be passed into law.