Urban Mass Transit: Reps probe mismanaged funds for Schemes since 1999

Elizabeth AtimeAugust 29, 20233 min

Rep. Ogene revealed that only two transport companies benefitted from a sixteen billion naira loan for the purchase of buses for Public Mass Transit Buses in 2012, liquidated their loans.

 

 

mass transit

 

The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee constituted to investigate the ‘Failure of Federal Mass Transit Schemes in Nigeria since 1999,’ has condemned the serial mismanagement of humongous government investments under the Urban Mass Transit Scheme.

It also expressed worry that despite the huge amount of money that the government pumped into the scheme to ameliorate transportation challenges, not much has been achieved.

This was contained in a press statement issued by the Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Afam Victor Ogene (LP, Anambra), late Monday in Abuja.

Ogene stated that the committee would get to the root of the mismanagement of the funds that run into billions of naira plunged into the scheme by successive governments without commensurate impact since 1999. He also expressed displeasure at the seeming reluctance of line ministries and agencies to release documents relating to public funds expended on previous Mass Transit Schemes.

 

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“This becomes important, especially at this period of grueling multifaceted economic challenges that have heightened the sufferings of the people and lowered the living conditions of many,” he said.

Rep. Ogene, who is also the Labour Party Caucus Leader in the House, further disclosed that in 2012 alone, over N16 billion was released through The Infrastructure Bank (TIB) for the purchase of buses for Public Mass Transit from the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) funds, under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, from the Public Mass Transit Revolving Fund (PMTF).

“A total of 1,179 vehicles were released to the beneficiaries under the scheme, with a repayment plan covering four years. However, according to TIB, many of the beneficiaries defaulted and didn’t repay the loans.

For instance, records show that as at December 2015, only two of the beneficiaries, ABC Transport PLC and Young Shall Grow Transport Limited, liquidated their loans. Most of the beneficiaries are yet to pay as stipulated in the contractual agreements signed between them and TIB. Perhaps because they see the funds as usual government bonanza.

But this is where they get it wrong because they can’t be living large with our collective scarce resources while the people suffer as a result of poor Mass Transportation. The Committee shall make the defaulters account for every government money they have misapplied.”

The lawmakers further recalled that on October 4th, 2016, the then Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, announced that the federal government had also set up a N25 billion revolving loan scheme to enable transport companies in the country to purchase Mass Transit Vehicles.

Just a year ago, in August 2022, the immediate past Minister of State for Transport revealed that the former President, Muhammadu Buhari, had approved the establishment of yet another Mass Transit Scheme and a committee set up for its implementation.

In view of these developments, especially with documented abysmal results, this ad-hoc committee has been mandated to look into all these developments with a view to finding out what went wrong. Who did what? And why the people are being made to suffer as a result of what may likely be individual, corporate or institutional failures,” the statement read.

The Committee’s brief covers road transport, waterways, and rail transportation in Nigeria.

 

Elizabeth Atime

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