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Time to change narratives in the FCT

New developments, recently introduced in the running of the nation’s capital may see a change of fortune for its residents and visitors. President Bola Ahmed…

New developments, recently introduced in the running of the nation’s capital may see a change of fortune for its residents and visitors. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently approved the constitution of a Civil Service Commission for the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA). This was followed by the appointments of a Head of Service and permanent secretaries for the mandate secretariats of the territory. In October 2023, the president also approved a request for the FCTA to exit the Treasury Single Account, which would enable it to utilize its internally generated revenue directly.

These actions would have far-reaching implications in the running of the territory, especially in the area of service delivery and the quest for making it a model capital. First, civil servants working for the FCTA now have the opportunity to rise to the highest stage of their career in the civil service. Until now, they could only aspire to reach the level of director. What this means is the civil servant is encouraged to give his best knowing fully well that he could achieve his dream. Secondly, it reduces the bureaucracy associated with service delivery as permanent secretaries can quickly implement decisions of the administration.

The removal of the FCTA from the TSA would enable the administration to spend its money without waiting for approval from the Federal Ministry of Finance or the release of funds from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation. In the past, ministers of the territory had complained of the non-release of funds as a major impediment to the execution of projects. Given the fact that the FCT is one of the highest revenue generators, it is expected that this issue will be fully addressed now. According to the National Bureau for Statistics, the FCTA, in 2022, generated N124.4 billion, coming third behind Lagos and Rivers states respectively.

We at Daily Trust commend the president for taking these bold decisions which should change the way things are done in the territory and indeed aid development. We believe that Abuja’s development has either stagnated or in some cases retrogressed due to a combination of maladministration and paucity of funds: the two problems these measures so far taken are designed to address.

However, we wish to urge all those tasked with responsibilities under this new arrangement to ensure that they perform their duties diligently and honestly. This is the only way they can make an impact. For so long we have heard and read of how staff of the FCTA connived with unscrupulous elements to distort the city’s master plan through illegal allocation of plots, shortchanging the nation in the execution of vital projects or sabotaging delivery of key services to the residents. This must stop.

We also urge the leadership of the FCTA to ensure the prompt execution of projects, especially now that it has unfettered access to its revenue. There are so many projects that have been abandoned due to unavailability of funds. That should no longer be the case. There is a lot that needs to be done to make Abuja the federal capital city deserving of its name in the world. We have missed many opportunities for that. Now is the time to refocus and take the necessary steps.

Already, we have seen some developments in parts of the city, just as projects are ongoing in some other areas. We ask that more of that be done so that development can get to all parts of the territory. Of particular importance is the provision of extended mass transit system that will enable the residents to move with ease. It will also help in reducing congestion within the city centre as well as pollution of the environment.

Now that the FCTA is more independent, we believe all that is required is for the officials to be more committed and progress will be achieved. The residents have waited for too long for a lease of life in the FCT and it is hoped that, that will be achieved with these new initiatives.

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