The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and a group of concessionaires of on-street parking have signed an agreement to restore the “park and pay” scheme in Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary of FCTA, Olusade Adesola, who signed on behalf of the FCTA on Saturday, said that the move was to promote a culture of orderliness and organisation in vehicle parking.
According to him, the initiative will decongest the city and make motoring a more pleasant experience.
Mr Adesola explained that the scheme was suspended in 2014 by an Abuja High Court, on grounds that it was not backed by a law.
He also said that the earlier implementation was without the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He, however, said that the FCTA has put a regulation in place and secured FEC’s approval, to ensure a smooth implementation of the scheme, considering its benefits.
The permanent secretary explained that under the scheme, parking lots would be provided for vehicle owners for a fee, while motorists that indulge in wrong packing would be fined.
He added that the reintroduction of the scheme was with the active support of the six Area Councils.
Mr Adesola explained that the FCTA and the councils have agreed that all wrong and rights charges would be consolidated and shared between the Administration and the six area councils.
He emphasised that implementation would not commence immediately until residents were fully sensitised and enlightened about the scheme.
“So, while the agreement is being signed today, the commencement of the park and pay is not starting today.
“The communication that should precede the implementation of the project is that the citizens need to know that we are signing on-street parking.
“A lot of activities will follow. There will be robust stakeholder engagement; the operators will visit key institutions and will engage residents through electronic and print media.
“This is to ensure that people are sensitised and above all, to be aware that there will be a period of free parking, just for people to know how to use the facility,” he said.
Earlier, Wadata Bodinga, director of Traffic Management, Transportation Secretariat of the FCTA noted that the increasing population growth in the FCT was accompanied by congestion and traffic challenges.
Mr Bodinga said that development has led to haphazard parking, increased parking competition and traffic congestion.
This, according to him, exposes the motoring public and the pedestrian to security and road hazards, adding that the reintroduction of the initiative would mitigate the challenges.
He said that the scheme would impact positively on the economic activities of FCT residents, by improving customer experience and promoting efficient parking management systems.
According to him, the scheme will enable customers to find easy parking spaces, thereby saving time and fuel, especially with the removal of fuel subsidy.
“The FCTA gazetted Federal Capital Territory Parking Scheme, 2019, with the accompanying guidelines, provides legal basis for the implementation of the on-street parking scheme.
“This will increase the safety and security of vehicles and pedestrians, reduce traffic and pollution, and improve the aesthetic of the urban city and workplace for the motoring public.
“It will also be cost-effective because people can access parking spaces very easily when coming into the city and reach their destination within work hours.
“It will equally improve traffic management, cleaner and safer environment with positive effect on health,” he said.
On his part, Nebolisa Igboka, Managing Director, NAJEC Ltd. who spoke on behalf of the concessionaires, commended the FCTA for reintroducing the on-street parking scheme in the FCT.
Noting the evolving urban landscape, Mr Igboka said that it was crucial to strike a balance between modernisation and convenience while ensuring the well-being of residents.
He said that the on-street parking scheme offers several benefits, stressing that it eases the burden on existing public infrastructure, such as pedestrian walkways and green verges, reducing congestion and promoting the free flow of traffic.
According to him, providing more parking options will encourage people to utilise public spaces efficiently, thereby leading to better utilisation of urban areas.
“On-street parking initiative will promote local businesses, easy access to packing spaces, increase good traffic and encourage people to visit shops and restaurants with promising impact on the local economy.
“By implementing time limits and zoning regulations, we can prevent abuse and ensure that parking spaces remain available for all residents and visitors,” he said.