The Federal Government has signed a tripartite agreement with the World Bank and the French Development Agency to commit an envelope to the tune of $575m for the construction of rural roads in 13 states in Nigeria.
The project will see the construction of rural roads covering a total distance of 53,730km, between March 2021 to 2026.
The National Coordinator, Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project, Aminu Muhammed, after a two-week ‘3rd Implementation Support Review Mission’ meeting in Abuja on Friday, said 12 of the 13 states had received the take-off disbursement. At the event were Task Team Lead for World Bank’s Transport Sector, Olatunji Ahmed; AFD’s TTL, Mr Francois Giroudy; Project Manager, AFD, Antonio Le Bihan; and representative of the Project Coordinating Unit, Kush Peter.
Muhammed said, “The initial target of this special rural road intervention is to construct a total number of 5,921, summing up to 53,730km, to return prosperity to the farmers across strata and gender, with youth and women being the primary target. Ultimately, an elite club of farmers would emerge and a new crop of successful market men and women would take over the business world.”
Muhammed also disclosed that the International Labour Organisation had expressed its readiness to offer both financial and technical assistance to the rural roads project, adding that the World Bank would fast track “no objection” for the ILO intervention.
In an interview on the sideline of the World Bank’s TTL, Ahmed urged the states to comply with the disbursement “draw down procedure” to avoid possible backlash.
Ahmed added that states should fast-track the processes of establishing a State Road Fund and a Rural Access Road Agency, noting that their existence would give institutional and financial strength to the project, especially after completion.
The Project Coordinator, RAAMP, Ogun State, Muritala Adekunle, in his presentation, said the milestones achieved by the project were made possible by the support from Governor Dapo Abiodun to the least stakeholder in the value chain. Adekunle noted that the 13.1km Mosa junction-Alapako Oni demonstration rural road would be awarded at the start of the dry season this year, stating that, “All safeguard instruments both social and environmental have been put in place for the success of the pilot construction.”
He also said nine markets would receive intervention out of the 12 proposed to the Federal Project Management Unit. Adekunle appealed to the Bank to expedite action on proposals requiring the granting of “no objection.”
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