The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello has described the shortfall in allocation for the FCT from N59b to N13.5b as a sign of imminent cash crunch that is hunting the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory Administration
The minister spoke on Thursday during defence of N607.9billion 2022 budget before the National Assembly joint Committee on FCT.
The Minister while making presentation before the committee indicated that while N59b was earmarked for the Territory from its 1% allocation from federal budget in 2022 fiscal year, the allocation has been slashed to N13.5billion for the 2023 fiscal year .
He said even from the N59billion allocated for it from the federal government portion of the federation account in the 2022 fiscal year, only N19billion has been released till date
“The FCT budget has two components, One is yearly allocation from 1% of the federal government share of the federation account and the second one is internally generated revenue which has over the years been the main sustainance of governmental operations in FCT.
“In the N607.9billion 2022 budget of FCT , the federal allocation is just N59billion out of which only N19billion has been released .
“For the 2023 fiscal year, the projected federal allocation has been drastically slashed to N13.5billion despite increase in the number of planned projects from 20 in the 2022 fiscal year to 22 in the 2023 fiscal year” he stated.
He explained further to the committee members that out of the proposed N607.9billion 2022 budget, N76.6billion is for personnel cost, N138billion for overhead cost while the remaining balance of N393.2billion is for capital projects.
According to him, one of the critical projects the capital votes are to be used on,, is the Greater Abuja Water Project, planned to provide portable water for 29 additional districts within the territory .
He said as a result of huge financial demands, the territory is now adopting integration of indigenes into newly opened districts as against resettlement policy that has been causing crisis over the years.
“System of re-settlement earlier put in place has not worked , making us to adopt the policy of integration as presently being done in Kabusa ” , he said .
However, the Committee led by its Chairman, Senator Smart Adeyemi ( APC Kogi West), urged the Minister to start implementation of property tax in FCT for required revenue generation.
Senator Adeyemi said implementation of property tax in FCT, will not only give the administration, N200billion to N250billion in a year but also helped in preventing crime and criminality within the territory.
“It is only in Nigeria that people are allowed to build Houses or Estates without renting them out for many years , which invariably serve as hideouts for criminally minded ones .
“With enforcement of payment of property tax , such practice will stop”, he said .
On security, he disclosed to the Committee members that 60vehicles worth N2billion, would be distributed to various security agencies like the Nigeria Police , the Army, Civil Defence etc, next week Thursday.
Other members of the committee who commented, tasked the Minister to come up with a framework for regulation of public transportation system within the territory as well as provision of required infrastructure in satellite areas, as they set for oversight visitation on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.