Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has urged the new minister of works, Senator David Umahi to consider using roads investment fund for the development of infrastructure.
Likening the fund to that of Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Kalu said it will help the ministry raise fund in the light of the economic challenges to achieve its mandate.
The deputy speaker made the suggestion while delivering his goodwill message at the reception held in honour of the Minister in Abuja, shortly after been sworn in.
Kalu also urged Umahi to priotize a clear road map for infrastructure projects according to the economic needs of the people.
He said: “let me remind you that you applied a collaborative strategy as the governor of Ebonyi State by working closely with your House of Assembly for you to achieve a lot. The importance of collaborative approach between you and our office in the National Assembly cannot be overemphasized because it is going to help us achieve these infrastructure goals.
“I want to assure you that the National Assembly under the leadership of both the Senate President and the speaker will give you all the support that is needed to make sure that this is achieved.
“We are promising that it’s important to begin to look at other areas. We heard people mention here that you might be struggling with funds given what the nation is going through at the moment, we need to think about roads investment fund, that the office of the office of the ministry of works should think about roads investment fund.
“We will like to see you dedicating road investment fund that is similar to the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). And this infrastructure fund will help to bridge the gap.
“I want to emphasize that it will give a stable fund for your operation because these ideas you are bringing on board, if the funds are not there, you may not be able to achieve them. So, it’s important that your offices thinks in that direction.
“We are suggesting the importance of developing a clear road map for infrastructure project priotization based on needs, economic impact and feasibility. This is one of the things that you will bring on board to the federal level like you did in Ebonyi State. This will ensure that resources are rotated efficiently and projects are completely in time and within budget.
“Maintenance and sustainability is one of the approaches you used when you were governor and so, we are suggesting that this is a significant proactive approached towards ensuring that in the next 4 years whatever you bring on board will be sustained”.
Kalu also urged the minister to revisit the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to ensure that the roads were well maintained.
The deputy speaker also pledged the support of the national assembly at all times to ensure efficient delivery.
“FERMA needs you visiting it in a way different from how it’s been operated before now in regards to maintenance of our roads.
“Public private partnership is an area we are looking at at the national assembly that you consider you explore the potentials in this public private partnership that will help us achieve more. You used community engagement when you were governor. We are also encouraging you to enhance that that what will be provided for the community is what they need.
“Monitoring and Evaluation is what you carried out in Ebonyi State. Please, bring it on board here so that efficiently, our job will be easier by the time we come on board to oversight you, knowing that you have done a good job.
“Let me remind you that you are one of the exports from the south east to the nation. The world is watching to see the value you will bring on board. I watched you from a distance to see how you priotize transportation infrastructure in Ebonyi State. Please do the same here for the federal republic of Nigeria.
“For us in the 10th national assembly, it is important for me to highlight the importance of transportation infrastructure in our country’s development agenda. I will like to emphasize that one of the core priorities of the 10th assembly is to significantly improve the country’s road transportation network. Once that is done, it will help us improve the economic growth and enhance connectivity within the regions and also improve the overall quality of life for our citizens.
“We have confidence in you and we are pledging to support you at the national assembly”, the deputy speaker said.