23 February 2013

Nigeria: New Bill to Scrap Ferma Coming, Says Minister

The Federal Government is proposing a new Road Sector Reform Bill that will oust the Federal Emergency Road Management Agency (FERMA).

In its place will be the Federal Road Authority (FRA) and National Road Fund, which will take charge of road maintenance and ownership, thereby signalling the eventual death of FERMA.

The Minister Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, who spoke Friday during the opening ceremony for a two-day workshop to consider the Road Sector Reform Bill, explained that FERMA was merely a stop gap measure.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had towards the end of 2011 constituted a committee for the Road Sector Reform chaired by Dr. Bernard Obika.

He said, "In 1996, when we had conference in Abuja and it was decided that African continent should reform the administration of the road sector. One of the cardinal recommendations was that a road authority be created that will oversee road development in African countries, just as we have Port Authorities all over the continent.

"But in our usual manner in this country some interest crept in when we were carrying out our own reform and we just did it half-heartedly and that led to the creation of FERMA. With all intent and purpose, FERMA was like a stop-gap".

According to the minister the present administration would, through this road reform, proved that it had the political will to do what is right.

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