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Taraba Assembly Rejects Proposed N6 Billion Government House…

The Taraba State House of Assembly, through its Committee on Works, Housing and Transport, has kicked against the allocation of N6,000,000,000:00 for the construction of a new Government House, saying it was a ‘misplaced priority’ and ‘unrealistic’ considering the economic predicament the State was in.

Taraba StateThe committee made this assertion during the 2017 budget defence of the Ministry of Housing at the House Chambers, where a proposed estimate of N8 Billion was presented to the House by the Ministry.

According to the Commissioner,  Sule Abubakar Ndigmay, the sum of N2,626,920,500.00 was for the construction of 500 Houses, N17,237,000.00 for the furnishing of offices for the Ministry and N25,000,000.00 for the maintenance of estates. Others include: Acquisition of land for-1-housing development-N60,000,000.00; establishment of Housing Agency- N49,506,414.00.

But the Chairman of the Committee, Adamu Makarfi, (PDP, Gassol  constituency) challenged the Commissioner, saying it was ‘unrealistic’ and ‘wasteful’ considering the housing needs of the masses which had not been met.

Also queuing behind the Chairman, was a member of the committee, Sale Saad, (APC, Jalingo 2 constituency) who stated that although he was not completely against the idea of  constructing a new Government House, but that the current economic predicament did not warrant the embarking of the project and that it could be done in the future but not now.

Another member of the committee, Bashir Mohammed, (APC, Nguroje constituency) picked holes in the blanket estimate of N6 Billion for the project for the year which was without breakdown. He, alongside other members of the committee, wondered how the money could be sourced and the project completed in the year.

Attempts by the Commissioner to convince the committee was however rebuffed as some members also argued against the proposed project.

Similarly, the House, through the same committee had made an attempt to merge the Taraba State Road Construction and Maintenance Agency, (TARCMA) and the State Asphalt and Quarry Plant in order to ensure efficiency. The suggestion was made by a member of the committee on Works, Housing and Transport, Edward Baraya, (PDP, Karim 2) during the budget defence of the Ministry of Works.

Baraya noted that it was necessary to do so considering the fact that the revenue derived from the two agencies was not commensurate to the sub-head of the agencies which made them not to live up to expectations.

Baraya noted that it was necessary to do so considering the fact that the revenue derived from the two agencies was not commensurate to the sub-head of the agencies which made them not to live up to expectations.

The Commissioner of Works, Dr. Tafarki Agbadu Eneme, while defending his Ministry’s budget, actually supported the plan but pointed out the challenges the Ministry was facing.

The Ministry had proposed a capital budget of N12,000,000,000:00, which according to him “appears realistic considering the projects lined up for execution to meet up with the Rescue Mission”.He said the Ministry shall consolidate on the 2016 gains on projects such as: Bali-

He said the Ministry shall consolidate on the 2016 gains on projects such as: Bali- Serti- Gembu road, Jalingo-Kona- Lau road Phase 1, emergency rehabilitation of segments of Palace and Jolly Nyame Ways, Magami road network and the completion of the following: Takum- Bissaula road, Lacheke- Pantisawa road, Donga- Mararaba road, Mararaba-Baissa-Abong road, Takum-Chanchangi road,Wukari-Tsokundi road, township road projects and the construction of Bailey bridge across River Donga at Mbamnga.

He also stated that modalities were being put in place to seek reimbursement from the federal government of the federal roads being constructed by the State government.

The Ministries of Environment, Agric and Rural Development, Sports and Youth Development, Urban Development, also defended their 2017 budget.

Earlier on, the Speaker of the House, Peter Abel Diah, had opened the 2017 budget defence. He advised the MDAs to endeavor to report to the committees any vacuum they noticed saying everything couldn’t have been captured in the estimates.

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