Written by Sarah NEGEDU

COVID-19: FCT 2020 budget slashed by 52%

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic may have negatively impacted on the 2020 budget performance of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, as its budgetary allocation was slashed by 52percent in the year under review.

The FCTA budget allocation was said to have been reviewed downwards from an initial allocation of N62, 407,154,360.00 to N29, 657,154,360.00 due to the slow government activities during the lock down.

FCT Minister Mal. Muhammad Bello, who stated this when he presented the FCT 2021 National Capital Budget to the Senate Committee on the FCT, said that only about N15billion, representing 51percent of the reviewed allocation, has so far been released.

Bello had Thursday last week, presented a N45, 527, 118,338, FCT 2021 National Capital Budget to the Senate Committee on the FCT.

According to the Minister, this figure is contained in the 2021 Appropriation Bill presented by Mr President to the National Assembly on the 8th of October 2020.

He said the allocation is to sustain the implementation of critical projects both in the Federal Capital City, FCC, and the Satellite Towns.

The minister also presented a list of 28 proposed priority projects to be funded from this budgetary proposal which he said is intended for the completion of on-going projects.

In his words, “In their selection, priority of attention was accorded to the completion of on-going projects. Accordingly, the entire projects in the 2021 budgets are for on-going projects”.

Some of the projects to be funded from this budget proposal amongst others include the   construction of the Southern Parkway from the Christian Center to Ring Road One, Rehabilitation and Expansion of the Outer Northern Expressway Project Lot II (Kubwa Road from the Federal Civil Service College to the Villa Roundabout), Rehabilitation of and Expansion of the Airport Expressway (project Lot I) and the completion of the International Vocational Institute Utako and four comprehensive Science and Technical Colleges in Abaji, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Karshi.

Others include provision of Engineering Infrastructure to Bwari Area Council, Rehabilitation of the National Assembly complex, design and construction of the Nigeria Cultural Center and Millennium Tower, and development of the Idu Industrial Area Engineering Infrastructure.

The Minister also disclosed that in the case of the millennium Tower project, the Administration was working on a number of hybrid financing options to complete the project which will include an appropriate dose of public/private partnership. This is to ensure the commencement of commercial activities at the national monument.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the FCT, Senator Abubakar Kyari, lamented the fact that the annual budgetary allocation to the FCT has declined over the years and said that his Committee, in discharging its duties will be  transparent fair, courageous and always be guided by the dictates of the constitution and rules of parliamentary convention.

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