Minister renew calls for social funding for FCT
The Federal Capital Territory Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello has renewed call for special funding arrangements for the territory from the Federation Account.
Bello, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the demand was part of his submissions at the Public Hearing organised the Revenue Mobilization and Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to review the revenue allocation to the FCT.
He said inadequate funding was one of the factors responsible for why Abuja’s development seemed to be moving at a very slow pace despite repeated budgetary allocations.
The FCT Minister painted the picture of a nation’s capital with so much to offer but whose development potential had been hampered by funding challenges.
Bello said that Abuja from the way it was currently being funded with just one per cent allocation from the Federal Government implied that it was merely a Federal Government’s project.
This, according to him, is contrary to the dreams of its founding fathers who designed the nation’s capital as a project for the entire federation.
Bello described Abuja as a work in progress with so much to offer the country, but whose development could be derailed if nothing was done to address the current funding challenges.
He challenged the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission to as part of its national duty, create a special funding mechanism that was not against the Constitution, to ensure that the work was actually in progress.
” Our formal presentation to the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission is to emphasise the fact that for us to really achieve the goals why Abuja was established, then we have to work out a very special funding mechanism for Abuja.
” It is very important. The reality is, there is so much that need to be done to be able to really finalise the Abuja Master Plan and the concept and that cannot be done based on the present system of funding where, Abuja is thought as a small component of the Federal Government of Nigeria budgeting.
” Abuja should not be looked at as just Federal Government. It should be looked as a project for the whole of Nigeria because that is the reality.
” Funding for the FCT has not always been this bad. It would be recalled that the FCT was once funded directly from the Federation Account until the brinksmanship by the State Governors some years back which culminated in a supreme court decision that truncated this arrangement.
” As a result, the FCT’s one per cent direct allocation from the Federation Account was replaced with just one per cent allocation from the Federal Governments revenue.”
The minister gave a breakdown of some of the ongoing projects in the FCT being starved of funds and might continue to be so if nothing was done to address the situation.
According to him, the FCT today has about 137 ongoing projects which could have been completed as at July 2021, but for the challenges of funding.
He explained that the FCT only received about N37 billion from the Federal Government in 2021, amounting to 25 per cent of its N300 billion budgetary provision for the year, leaving the city to rely on IGR and other ways and means to source for funds.
He further disclosed that the FCT required about N800 billion as at July 2021 to complete about 137 ongoing projects, adding that the FCT already had completed projects worth 82 billion that had not been paid for due to lack funds.