Residents of Abuja, the nation’s Federal Capital Territory, FCT, have bemoaned the non-implementation of the 2021 statutory budget of the territory weeks after it was reportedly signed into a law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senate had in June passed the FCT 2021 Statutory Budget of of N329 billion (329,963,491,523) while checks by Vanguard 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.
However, President Buhari was said to have assented to the budget about two weeks ago.
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A source at the budget office said the government needs money to print the budget, but checks revealed that unlike in the past when budget signings were made public, some officials have tried to shield the news from the public because they do not want to be put under pressure to execute the fiscal blueprint.
“The National Assembly had passed the FCT budget several weeks ago. The president also signed it into law about two weeks ago.
“While we learned that they need money to ‘print the budget’, we have discovered that some people are afraid of being pressured to perform or to deliver on their mandates, hence they do not want this made public”, said a top civil servant who pleaded anonymity.
Residents demand implementation
Meanwhile, some residents of the territory have demanded swift implementation of the budget, saying the FCT is a “living entity”, and cannot afford a breakdown in the provision of services.
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.
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; “Kubwa is now a big slum. Religious houses wake up everyday and erect non-user friendly speed bumps on the roads. These are roads that are not in good condition. 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 manhours 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 a s signed into law, those concerned will begin implementation. It is a law and not implementing it is a financial crime “, she stated.
When contacted as to whether the FCT budget had been passed, Senior Special Assistant SSS to the FCT minister, Malam Abubakar Sani declined comments saying he could not confirm if the president had signed the budget into a law.