By Omeiza Ajayi
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello revealed that the restriction placed on commercial tricycle operators to certain parts of the city was one of the most difficult decisions that the FCT Administration had to make.
Chief Press Secretary CPS to the Minister, Anthony Ogunleye said Bello was speaking during the presentation of the FCT’s 2020 statutory budget to the joint sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on the FCT.
This was as the minister at the weekend toured the various areas prone to traffic gridlock within the FCT and commended the Ministerial Task Team on Traffic Management for a job well done.
Malam Bello, in the company of the Executive Secretary of the FCDA, Engr. Umar Gambo Jibrin and operatives involved with Traffic Management Task Team visited the AYA –Nyanya section of the Abuja –Keffi Road, the Gwarinpa Intersection at the Outer Northern Expressway and the Dutse Sokale road.
The Minister also visited the Gado Nasko and the NYSC roads in Kubwa town where the Task Team had succeeded in not only opening up the road which hitherto had been unpassable due to illegal street trading but also enabled a clean-up operation by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board as well.
Speaking after the tour, Malam Bello said that members of the Task Team were selected because they exhibited a passion for work and had a proven track record of competence. He further said a lot can be achieved if officers were focused.
While acknowledging that the Task Team had indeed achieved a lot, he reminded them that a lot still needed to be achieved.
In his response, the Chairman of the Task Team, Ikharo Attah thanked the Minister for his support and pledged that the Team will continue to deliver on its mandate.
Collaboration with Keke riders
On the restriction of tricycle operators, the Minister told the lawmakers that the decision was imperative because commercial tricycles by law should not operate on the express and highways along with vehicles as they pose dangers to both passengers and riders. Most roads within the Federal Capital City, the Minister reiterated were expressways and thus could not accommodate the presence of the commercial tricycles and motorcycles.
He, however, said that the FCTA was not unmindful of the challenges commuters were facing as a result of the policy and revealed that strategies were being put in place to improve on the public transportation situation in the FCT.
According to him, the FCTA was working closely with the commercial tricycle association to explore the possibility of upgrading their operations to taxicab operators.
On the 2020 FCT statutory budget, Malam Bello said “the FCT was proposing to spend the sum of N232, 875, 365, 947.00. This sum is made up of N53, 876, 241,095.00 (23.15%)as personnel cost, N57,070,343, 435.00 (24.52%) as overhead costs and a proposed capital expenditure of N121,928,781, 417.00 (52.35%) as capital expenditure”.
The FCT minister also informed members of the National Assembly that the FCT Statutory Budget is funded from 1% of the 52.68% Statutory Allocation of the Federal Government from the Federation Account, internally generated revenue and other sources as contained in the Revenue Fiscal Framework for the execution of recurrent and capital expenditure in the FCT.
In his opening remarks, chairman of the Senate Committee on the FCT, Senator Abubakar Kyari said the meeting was to deliberate with top management of the FCTA on the provisions of the FCT 2020 statutory appropriation bill as well as assess the performance of the FCT 2019 statutory budget.
The FCT Minister was accompanied by the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu and other senior members of staff of the FCTA.