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Two Weeks after Buhari’s Assent, FCT Residents Demand Quick Budget Implementation

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 By Ben Adoga

Residents of Abuja, the nation’s capital have demanded quick implementation of the 2021 statutory budget of the Federal Capital Territory.

This is coming two weeks after it was reportedly signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

 The Senate had in June passed the FCT 2021 Statutory Budget of N329 billion (329,963,491,523) while checks revealed that President Buhari signed it into a law on 25th August, 2021.

From the projected revenue of N329,963,491,523, the sum of N74,323,382,813 is for Personnel Costs; N58,728,614,466 for Overheads; and N196,911,494,243 for Capital Projects.

Also, the overall performance of the FCT 2020 Statutory Budget Allocation was 88 percent as of 31st December, 2020.

Unlike in the past when budget signing was made public, some officials were said to have tried to shield the news from the public because they do not want to be put under pressure to execute the budget.

Meanwhile, some residents of the territory have demanded quick implementation of the budget, saying that the FCT is a “living entity,” and cannot afford a breakdown in the provision of services.

A stakeholder who preferred to remain anonymous said: “While many of the traffic and street lights are non-functional, the road networks within the satellite towns have simply become death traps.”

“Towns like Kubwa, Lugbe, Karu, Nyanya, Gwagwalada, Zuba and Bwari are the worst hit in terms of roads, the FCT Administration should have been in a hurry to implement the budget,” continued the stakeholder.

A paramilitary officer in Kubwa who simply identified himself as Yacoub decried the manner in which Kubwa was fast turning into a slum.

He said: “There are potholes everywhere. All the traffic intersections or junctions are riddled with potholes. The traffic lights are not working and miscreants have taken over Kubwa. All these are said to be captured in the 2021 budget.”

Another resident, Mrs. Joy Umoru lamented the security situation in Kuje. She said: “People are now kidnapped at will. As if that is not enough, there are no good roads in Kuje. We heard that they have passed the budget. So, what is really holding them from delivering? Why can’t they begin executing the budget or is it that there is no cash backing?” She queried.

A School proprietor in Gwagwalada who did not want to give her name for fear of a possible victimization by officials said the road networks in the town have continued to make her spend much on repairs of her school buses.

“Aside the issue of insecurity and the general cost of living, I think the urgent issue that needs to be addressed is about the roads in Gwagwalada and other parts of the city. We spend a lot of man hours trying to navigate through the town and this has caused a lot of damage to our vehicles.

“We are hoping that now that the budget has been passed and signed into law, those concerned will begin implementation. It is a law and not implementing it is a financial crime”, she stated.

Rumour making the rounds has it that the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello returned the budget signing on the grounds that it was padded. This, however could not be confirmed as no official that was contacted was ready to speak on the matter before Press time.

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