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Introduction of 5% road user tax not politically expedient now – FERMA boss

By on July 28, 2015

Although the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) is faced with a paucity of funds and could do with the five per cent road user charge meant to assist it in its statutory duty of maintaining federal roads, the agency has said it would continue to manage its lean resources because it is not politically right to resort to that tax on road users.

The Managing Director of FERMA, Mr. Gabriel Amuchi, who made the explanation, expressed the hope that when the atmosphere is right, President Muhammadu Buhari would cause it to be effected so that the agency would have adequate funds to ensure effective maintenance of federal roads.

He spoke at the weekend after he toured the Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia highway to see the state of the road and find solutions to areas of failure or washouts.

“What we saw at Mararaba very close to Abuja there was the flooding of that location,” he told journalists. “We discovered that the entire road gets flooded after each major rain. So, we are happy to see what our people (FERMA officials) are doing – de-silting, to rid the place of logs, maize cobs and rubblish that road users and people in the neighbourhood pour in the drainage channel.

“We inspected that and advised that they should discourage the dumping of refuse, wood, broken down vehicles and tyres, all kinds of garbage. We also intend to expand the drainage channel to accommodate the volume of discharge and runoff.”

On the committee constituted to act as watchdog to check abuse of the roads, Amuchi said the FERMA Action Committee Against Road Abuses (FACARA) was still very much intact.

“What they did initially was sensitise road users, those who turn our road shoulders to markets, and discourage them from abuses. We are now moving into enforcement, utilising the Nigerian Army engineers, road safety corps, the police, the civil defence corps, Federal Ministry of Works engineers and the FERMA leadership.

“So, we are at the verge of beginning to sanction people who insist on abusing our roads all over the country.

“We have directed that the enforcement team should make arrests.  Now anybody found would be arrested and prosecuted. Because government is doing everything possible to ensure that Nigerians have fair roads. It is not fair for the citizens to destroy the roads and then turn around to blame the government.”