Reps decry failure, mismanagement of mass transit scheme

The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee to investigate Failure of Federal Mass Transit Schemes in Nigeria since 1999, has decried the serial mismanagement of huge government investments in Urban Mass Transit Schemes.

It said the scheme was intended to ameliorate transportation challenges, but wondered how the reverse remains the case.

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Afam Victor Ogene, in a statement in Abuja Monday, warned that the committee would get to the root of the mismanagement of the funds that runs into billions of naira ploughed into the scheme by successive governments, without commensurate impact since 1999.

He expressed displeasure at the seeming reluctance by line ministries and agencies, in releasing documents relating to public funds expended on previous Mass Transit Schemes.

He said: “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.”

Hon. Ogene, who represents Ogbaru Federal Constituency in Anambra state and who is also the Labour Party caucus leader in the House, stated that in 2012 alone, over N16 billion was released through The Infrastructure Bank (TIB), for the purchase of busses for Public Mass Transit, from the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programe 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. But 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 The 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.

“It is 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 to account for every government money misapplied.”