N1.15 trillion FCT budget to transform Abuja, rural areas – Wike

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The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike, says the proposed N1.15 trillion 2024 FCT Statutory Budget aims to revitalize both the capital city and rural areas for transformation.

Wike made these statements during his appearance before the Senate and House Committees on FCT in Abuja on Monday, where he defended the proposed statutory budget.

He elaborated that out of the total N1.15 trillion, N421.44 billion was allocated for recurrent expenditure, constituting 36.7%, while N726.3 billion was designated for capital expenditure, constituting 63.3%.

Furthermore, he clarified that the capital expenditure would primarily focus on infrastructure development, particularly the completion of ongoing projects.

Wike specified that among the N726.3 billion allocated for capital expenditure, N80 billion was assigned to SUKUK loan projects, and N29 billion was earmarked for the Abuja Light Rail project.

Additionally, he mentioned that N500 billion was allocated for commercial loans to finalize ongoing capital projects in the federal capital city and satellite towns. The remaining N117.3 billion would be utilized for completing ongoing capital projects and other related counterpart-funded initiatives aimed at enhancing socio-economic activities in the FCT.

The Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD) were allocated the largest portions of the capital budget. Specifically, FCDA received N457 billion, STDD received N116 billion, and other Secretariat, Departments, and Agencies (SDAs) received N153.3 billion.

This allocation aims to address crucial areas such as ongoing road construction, completion of water treatment plants and related facilities, and initiation of a few new projects.

He explained that the N457 billion allocated to FCDA was for the provision of infrastructure within and around the capital city, of which N282 billion was for ongoing projects and N175 billion was for new critical projects.

“Some of the critical projects to be executed by the FCT Administration in the 2024 statutory budget proposal are the completion of Roads B6 and B12 and construction of an access road and car park for Abuja Light Rail.

“Full scope development of Arterial Road N20 from Northern Parkway to Outer Northern Expressway (ONEX), provision of engineering infrastructure to Guzape, and provision of engineering infrastructure to Wuye District.

“There is also the extension of Inner Southern Expressway (ISEX) from Southern Parkway (S8/S9) to Ring Road II (RRII), full scope development of FCT Highway 105 (Kuje Road) from Airport Expressway to OSEX with Spur at Kyami District.

“Construction of Northern Parkway from Ring Road II to Ring Road III (6.2 km), full-scope development of N5 and N20, and provision of engineering district infrastructure to Asokoro Island Layout in the FCT.

“The sum of N198.5 billion is earmarked for the above eight major roads to speed up their completion before the end of the 2024 fiscal year.

“The expansion and rehabilitation of these roads will eventually reduce the travel time and traffic gridlock on our roads within and outside the city,” he said.

The minister added that the transportation sector got N69 billion, of which N32 billion was for the construction of bus terminals at Kugbo, Jahi, and Central Business District.

He said that N80.3 billion was proposed for education sector, while the health sector got N45.7 billion.

“The health budget seeks to complete the construction of hospitals in Gwagwalada, Gwarimpa, and Utako districts to enhance the capacity of some of our hospitals through the procurement of modern ambulances for eight FCTA hospitals,” he said.

Wike also said that a total of N7.9 billion was proposed for FCT Agriculture and Rural Development sector to improve agricultural production and engagement of youths in agriculture.

This, the minister said, would enhance food security, income, and better standards of living in rural communities.

“We shall invest in the provision of agricultural inputs such as improved seeds, agrochemicals, and fertiliser, among others.

“We shall also develop cluster farm centres in both the livestock and crop production sub-sectors,” he added.

Wike equally said that N5 billion was allocated to the Social Development Secretariat for the promotion of gender, youth, child development, and other vulnerable groups in the FCT.

“It will also be used for the promotion and preservation of Nigeria’s art and culture within the FCT, including the development of sports through the provision of sporting, cultural, and recreational facilities,” he said.

Wike also noted that the Legal Services Secretariat received N5.6 billion for delivering legal services, and N1.2 billion was allocated for the Abuja Geographic Information System.

Additionally, he mentioned that a budget of N4.2 billion was proposed for the Area Council Services Secretariat to enhance service delivery for rural transformation and improve the quality of life for citizens.

“The secretariat is also expected to strengthen the traditional institutions as effective tools for mobilisation of people at the grassroots to achieve the developmental goals of the FCT Administration,” he said.

Earlier, the Chairman Senate and House Committees on FCT, Ibrahim Bomai and Muktar Betara, respectively, who commended the minister for the development stride in the FCT, assured him of the full support of the National Assembly