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There Is A Need To Maintain The Road Infrastructure That We Have - Senator Gershom Bassey

Senator Gershom Bassey

By Oluchi Omai

With the increase in the depreciation of roads in Nigeria, the Senator Representing Cross River South, Senator Gershom Bassey has said that there is a need to maintain the road infrastures that we have. The senator said this in a senate sitting on Wednesday.

Gershom Bassey noted with concern that sustainable solutions to the road problems have been presented to the executive and appealed that it be considered and signed.

He said "At a time in this senate, we have proffered so many solutions to the executive on road maintenance both in the short term, in the medium term and the long term. Some of those issues are on the President’s table for assent. Issues like the Federal Road Authority and so on which are sustainable solutions to these road problems and I hope that he will sign and ascent to those bills on his table."

While reiterating the need for road maintenance, Senator Gershom Bassey expressed displeasure at the current budget of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) which has been slashed to 18 billion Naira down from what it was last year, stating that it is an issue of prioritisation.

He further noted that rehabilitation is different from maintenance and said that maintenance is 6 months contract typically.

"But at a time when we are having serious problems with our roads that have been attested to by many of our colleagues here, it is curious and I want this senate to intervene in this that the budget of FERMA has been slashed to 18 billion down from what it was last year it is an issue of prioritisation we need to main the road infrastructure we have. Rehabilitation is different from maintenance, the maintenance culture is 6 month contract typically and this goes straight to the heart of the matter."

Recalling the investigation and agreement of the senate that FERMA requires a minimum of 300 billion naira every year, Senator Gershom Bassey reminded the senate that there are backlogs that have to be paid on the law passed on FERMA in 2009 for proper maintenance of our roads

"While we had done an investigation in this senate where we agreed that FERMA will require a minimum of 300Billion every year just to maintain our roads and then there was a backlog which has not been paid on the law that was passed here on FERMA in 2009."

"You have a budget now of 18Billion I think we need to do something about it, we need to prioritise our roads especially when it is probably the only means of moving goods and services and people from one point to another, the airfares are too high and we don’t have inland waterways. Our only way of moving goods and services and people is by road therefore we must prioritise road maintenance." 

Finally, he urged the senate president and the entire senate to urge the president to look at the budget for FERMA, adding that FERMA needs money for road maintenance.

"Therefore I want to urge you Mr President, this senate should urge President to take another look at the budget for FERMA, FERMA needs money because we need money to maintain our roads." He said.

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