By Obinna Unaeze
Minna, July 9, 2020 (NAN) The World Bank and the French Development Agency, on Thursday ranked Niger as the best in implementation of the second Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP-2) across the country.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr Shubham Chaudhuri and the Country Director, French Development Agency for Nigeria, Mr Pascal Grangereau commended the state in a joint letter addressed to Gov. Abubakar Bello and made available to newsmen in Minna.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the partners are involved in the coordination, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of rural road networks for sustainable rural transformation and poverty reduction under RAMP-2.
“The government of Niger is the best in terms of implementation of the project.
“The state is now among the best in terms of procurement, safeguards, financial management and technical experience to manage rural roads,” the letter read.
The development partners noted that a total of 176 km of roads had been rehabilitated in the state, while another 404 km were under rehabilitation, in addition to 29 river crossings, consisting of culverts and bridges that had also been constructed.
It said that the roads rehabilitated and river crossings constructed, provided all-weather access for over 120 communities with an estimated population of 342,000 people in the state.
The letter said that the scheme had impacted positively on many communities in the areas with easy access to health facilities, increased school enrollment, reduced transport costs and improved socio-economic lives of the rural dwellers.
According to the letter, the cost of transportation has reduced by 40 per cent along project road corridors, while post-harvest loss is reported to have dropped by 30 per cent.
It said that the arrangement, whereby the communities located along the project roads provided maintenance for the roads had generated employment for 216 people in the communities.
The development partners also commended the performance of the State Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) and urged them to continue working hard to complete the remaining activities before the Oct. 30 closing date.
“There are seven lots of road contracts that are nearing completion, average percentage completion is 78 per cent.
“Furthermore, the construction of a bridge on Izom- Suleja road still has some important works to be completed.
“The completion of the remaining activities is achievable if the contractors continue to adhere to the work programme,” the letter said.
It recognised the state government’s efforts in ensuring sustainability of the rehabilitated roads by upgrading some of the gravel roads on RAMP-2 to bituminous surface.
The development partners said that the measure would provide resilience to climate and prolong the life span of the roads.
NAN recalls that RAMP-2, which started in November 2013, is to ease the problems associated with the evacuation of agricultural produce from rural areas to urban locations and markets has Niger, Osun, Enugu and Adamawa participating in the programme.
The programme terminates on Oct. 30. (NAN)
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Grace Yussuf (NAN)
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