The Federal Government has rejected the plan by the Senate to scrap the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and replace it with the Federal Roads Authority.
Senator Kabiru Gaya, had in a bill proposed that the FRA should be responsible for the management of Federal roads, thus, ending the duplication of functions between FERMA and the Highways Department of the Federal Ministry of Works.
But Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, had a different view during a public hearing organised by the committee on the bill on Monday.
“We welcome the idea of creating road fund. We also welcome the idea of creating a maintenance agency. But we think – and this will be details of the substance of the presentation that I will make – that all of the recommendations that have been made for maintenance should be embodied in the agency that government has already created, which is FERMA.
“Repeal the existing FERMA law, re-enact it and put all of the new things we want to create (in the FRA) inside it instead of creating a new agency because FERMA was set up for maintenance in the very first place.
“It has acquired the name; it has acquired the brand; we can build on that brand instead of creating a new brand. People who managed brands like this change their drinks but they don’t change their names.”
The minister also welcomed the idea of reintroducing toll policy on Federal highways in the country.
“In other to attract the investments that will enable us to achieve private capital inflows into infrastructure, two things for me are very instructive. The first is the cultural change from our existing mindset and our experience at sub-national and at national levels.”