By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
The Senate Tuesday passed the N271.1 billion budget for Federal Capital Territory (FCT) just as it called for faster development of the territory by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
The Upper Chamber also passed N322.6 billion budget for the year 2014 for Niger Delta Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Out of the total budget passed for FCT, the sum of N161, 804,111,031 was earmarked for capital expenditure and N109,238,434,881 for recurrent expenditure.
A breakdown of the recurrent component shows that the sum of N60,03,490,023billion is for estimated overhead costs while N49,200,944,858 is for personnel costs.
According to the report of the Senate Committee on FCT, which did the final legislative work on the proposal, the capital provision will take care of capital projects for the service of the FCT which include: expansion and rehabilitation of Airport and Kubwa Expressways and the provision of infrastructure to on-going districts such as Jahi, Wuye, Maitama Extension and Abuja North-West.
While presenting the report of FCT committee to the Senate ahead of the passage, vice chairman of the committee, Senator Domingo Obende, said the sum of N16 billion was earmarked for the development of the health sector including the provision for free antenatal treatment and ante retro-viral drugs for HIV/AIDS patients.
Commenting on the budget, Senator Joshua Dariye implored the Senate to find out what the FCT had done regarding the installation of ineffective close circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the city for which allocation was previously made, noting that the contractor moves freely on the streets.
Also, speaking on the budget of NDDC, Senate Committee on Niger Delta on the budget to the Senate, its chairman, Senator James Manager recommended that there is for Upper chamber to pursue proper calculation and release of 15 per cent statutory contribution by the federal government for the funding of NDDC.
He also urged the Senate to assist in enforcing the payment of statutory 50 per cent of allocations to member states of the commission from ecological fund to enhance NDDC’s revenue base.
In his remarks on FCT budget, Senate President President, David Mark said the rate of development in FCT ought to be faster than it is presently and urged the authorities concerned to make judicious use of the passed budgetary provisions when cash backed by the executive arm of government for the needed level of development in the Federal Capital Territory.
“Yes, going by realities on ground, FCT is developing but it’s rate of development ought to be faster than it is now , which means that capital project provisions in this budget must be implemented to the letter for FCT to move to the level it supposed to be as far as development is concerned,” he said