On Thursday 5 November, the Managing Director of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Engr Nurudeen Rafindadi, told members of the FERMA Committee of the House of Representatives that the Ministries of Finance and Works and Housing had inflated their budget for 2021 by N11 billion.
The Nigerian Tribune reported that the announcement was made after Yusuf Gadgi, a member of the committee, asked the FERMA boss about the sudden rise in the budget of the department.
“Earlier to this moment, we’re privileged to know your budget proposal to the ministry, from the ministry getting to National Assembly, the proposal changed from twenty-something billion to thirty-something billion.
“I will respectfully want you to address that aspect. Are you in charge of FERMA, how come before the proposal got to National Assembly, it was increased upwards?
“If it was increased, confirm to us now, if it was not increased confirm to us. And if it was increased, who is responsible for the increment with what you defended during your inter-ministerial defence; coming to National Assembly over N11 billion was increased in the proposal you had earlier submitted. We want that confirmation from you.”
Responding to this, Rafindadi said;
“Our proposal of the budget as it is today is submitted to the federal ministry of works. The reason is that FERMA is an agency under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of works. We’re represented at the cabinet by the honorable minister of works
“Our budget is in the envelope of the ministry, so, the ministry is asked to submit their budget within that envelope and it includes budgets of agencies under the ministry of which FERMA is one. So we get instructions to submit our budget through the ministry of works.
“And yes it is true, we submit our budget to the ministry, what happens after is between the ministry, then ministry of budget and planning until subsequently it reaches the House of Representatives. We only know what was in our budget after submission. We’ve since gotten the budget of FERMA as submitted to National Assembly and we’ve been analysing the differences between the two budget like you said.”