The House of Representatives on Friday passed two bills that may soon compelled Nigerians to pay for the maintenance of roads across the country.
The bills seek to achieve this through the collection of fees, levies and charges on road usage, vehicle type and fuel imported and refined, among others.
One of the bill seeks to scrap the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency and replace it with a Federal Roads Authority.
The House also passed a bill to establish a National Roads Fund to generate revenue for the maintenance of roads.
Passed for third reading was the ‘Bill for an Act to Establish the National Roads Fund for the Purpose of Financing Routine and Periodic Maintenance of National Roads’ sponsored by Messrs Toby Okechukwu and Nicholas Ossai.
Also passed was the bill to repeal the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (Establishment) Act 2002, the Federal Highways Act 1971, and the Control of Advertisement Federal Highways Act 1986 and enact the Federal Roads Authority. It was sponsored by Okechukwu.
The bills had been introduced in the 8th National Assembly and were reintroduced in the 9th Assembly.
Okechukwu listed the objectives of the NRF to include being a “repository of revenues from road user-related charges and other sources for financing, which shall be managed and administered for routine and periodic maintenance works on roads in Nigeria.”
The NRF bill reads, “Nigeria has an existing law entrenched in the FERMA Amendment Act 2007 which empowered FERMA to fund its operation through the collection of five per cent users’ charge on pump price of petrol, diesel and of which 40 per cent will accrue to FERMA and 60 per cent to be utilised by the established state roads maintenance agencies.
“This has not been operational because the Act did not address the complexities of collection which has been resolved in this bill.
The sources of funds in the bill are: fuel levy of five N1 chargeable per litre on any volume of petrol and diesel products imported into Nigeria and on locally refined petroleum products.
“Axle load control charges; toll fees – a percentage not exceeding 10 per cent of any revenue paid as user charge per vehicle on any road designated as a toll road that are not PPP roads.
“International vehicle transit charges; inter-state mass transit user charge of 0.5 per cent deductible from the fare paid by passengers to commercial mass transit operators on inter-state roads.
“Roads fund surcharge of 0.5 per cent chargeable on the assessed value of any vehicle imported at any time into Nigeria; lease, licence or other fees which shall be 10 per cent of the revenue accruing from lease or licence or other fees pertaining to non-vehicular road usages along any federal road and collected by the federal roads agency; grants and loans; and gifts of land, money or other property.”
According to the bill, a draft of which our correspondent obtained after the passage, revenues to the NRF should be supplemental to the budget.
The bill provides that it should come from charges related to road use and channelled directly to the Road Fund account.