· Disagreement over revenue collection, sharing formula
· FCTA licensees poise for court battle
· AMAC to charge N100 per hour
By Sarah NEGEDU
There are strong indications that that the planned reintroduction of the controversial “Park and Pay” policy in the Federal Capital Territory may have suffered another setback as the FCT Administration and the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, failed to reach an agreement over rights to revenue generated from the on-street parking.
The scheme, which was scheduled to recommence in the first quarter of 2023 is yet to be enforced anywhere in the territory, even in the Maitama and Wuse areas of the Federal Capital City where the FCTA announced that the first phase of the exercise will begin from.
Rather, weeks into the third quarter of the year, only signposts suspected to have been erected by AMAC adorn the city as the FCTA remains silent over the delay.
Though both parties are said to still be in talks over the issue, inside sources say AMAC is insisting on retaining the rights to collect and manage motorists’ activities on streets and motor parks in the area council.
One of the signs sighted by our correspondent suggests that car owners will be charged N100 for every hour they park their vehicles on areas marked for the scheme.
The sign post which also carried the official logo of the FCTA, states that “Pursuant to part XXLV, AMAC Bye-Law 2017 and the schedule thereto,” the Park and Pay policy will be enforced between 6am to 6pm, on Mondays through Fridays.
The Abuja Inquirer had in January reported plans by AMAC to resist attempts by the FCTA to reintroduce the Park and Pay policy, describing the move as unjustifiable and aimed at denying the council its legitimate revenue.
The council, in a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant on Community Development to the Chairman of AMAC, Yunusa Ahmadu, said the law did no permit another body to collect or manage motorists’ activities especially on streets and motor parks.
AMAC, therefore, asked the FCT Administration to hands off the policy, stressing that the plan, if allowed to come back, will affect revenue generation in the council.
The council also faulted its former chairman, Hon. Abdullahi Candido, who, at the time, was the Mandate Secretary of the FCT Transportation for the reintroduction of the ‘park and pay policy’ despite having worked against the programme during his time as chairman.
“We want to state clearly as AMAC, that we reject whatever action that will be introducing park and pay from the FCT Administration, it is not their duty; it is the duty of the local government.
“We have it in our bye laws, in our Acts. It is clear that it is our responsibility, so we are shocked that Candido is so inquisitive, because we know clearly that he was once the chairman of AMAC.”
The immediate past Federal Executive Council, FEC, had on May 17th, 2023, approved the reintroduction of the ‘Park and Pay’ policy in the FCT allowing the administration to impose fees on motorists for parking their vehicles on specific locations or streets within the FCT metropolis.
Earlier in January, the Federal Capital Territory Administration announced plans to reintroduce the Park and Pay policy which it said will be effective before the end of the first quarter of 2023.
The then Director of Traffic Management, FCT Transportation Secretariat, Wadata Bodinga, who announced the plan, said the on-street parking policy was to address traffic challenges being recorded within the territory.
In his words, “This new park and pay policy will increase the safety and security of vehicles and pedestrians, improve aesthetics, beautify green verges, flowers and protect walkways from the motoring public. It will also reduce traffic and pollution.
“While on-street parking scheme may seem overbearing for some users, the scheme impacts positively on FCT residents and economic activities through improving customer experience and promoting efficient park management system.”
The on-street-parking scheme had existed in the FCT until 2014, when a court ruling declared it as illegal.
Responding to the lack of agreement between FCTA and AMAC over the on-street parking scheme, the Senior Special Assistant Media and Public Affairs to AMAC Chairman, Mr. Kingsley Madaki, maintained that the council, and not FCTA, has the right to Park and Pay in the city center.
Madaki decried a situation where the FCTA, “will always want the area council to concession its right of revenue.”
A licensed operator by the FCTA said if the area council insists on collecting the revenue, then they will head to court to determine if the area council was entitled to revenue from streets constructed or owned by them.
“We have been patient with them, yet they (AMAC) would not want to reason. If not agreement is reached this week, we would seek legal redress on whether they have the right to collect revenue from streets and roads not constructed or controlled by them,” the operator who wished not to be named to our correspondent.