by Philomina Attah and Okon Okon, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) is the World Bank assisted project in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and supported by the French Development Agency.
The participating states in the second phase of the project — RAMP II — recently met at a recent retreat in Yola, Adamawa, to assess the efficiency of its development projects across the country.
Mr Ubandoma Ularam, the National Coordinator of the project, promise the participants that the RAMP would meet the yearnings of rural dwellers in terms of road networking.
He claimed that the project had constructed more than 4, 000 kilometres of rural roads in the first phase — RAMP I.
According to him, Kaduna State and Cross River benefit from the first phase of the project while Osun, Adamawa, Enugu State, Imo and Niger will benefit from RAMP II.
Directing the participating states to ensure transparency in the management of resources, Ularam said the motivation behind the meeting was to present progress reports on specific projects and review some of the challenges encountered during project implementations.
He said one of the objectives of RAMP was to improve road transportation in the rural areas through the rehabilitation and maintenance of rural roads, adding that rural roads had been constructed in Enugu State and Imo.
Assessing the progress of the project, Mr Abbas Adamu, the Project Coordinator of RAMP II in Adamawa, said the rural roads construction project had enhanced the economy and livelihood of the citizens in the state.
He said 201.4 kilometres of rural roads had been constructed in 13 different locations across the state.
“Apart from the road projects executed in the first phase of RAMP, the construction of another set of 140 kilometres of roads in various communities is ongoing.
“The projects have facilitated the efforts of rural farmers to convey their farm produce to the market in good time and reduce post-harvest loss.
“RAMP II is, indeed, doing a great work by consolidating and supporting the efforts of the Adamawa State Government in roads construction, rehabilitation and maintenance.
“The projects have positively affected the lives of the rural dwellers, who are the major producers of food produce, on a daily basis.
“Hundreds of communities are being linked up with good access roads and we have so far achieved 70 per cent completion in the second phase of the roads construction project,’’ he said.
The project coordinator commended Gov. Bindo Jibrilla of Adamawa for his efforts to transform the state’s infrastructure with quality roads in collaboration with RAMP programme.
Similarly, Mr Ibrahim Nmadu, the RAMP Coordinator in Niger, noted that more than 176 kilometres of rural roads and bridges had been constructed in the state in the RAMP II projects, observing that more than 776,000 rural dwellers were directly benefiting from the projects.
“The project has helped significantly in exploring and harnessing the agricultural potential of the state by facilitating the transportation of farm produce to markets,’’ he said.
Nmadu said RAMP road projects had been designed to cover 500 kilometres of rural roads in Niger, noting that the state was one of the largest in the country with about 76,000 square kilometres.
“We are currently working towards the construction of more roads based on request by the state government to the World Bank for an increase in the scope of coverage in the state.
“We are designing more roads; we are targeting, 1,000 kilometres of roads and the design of about 800 is ongoing,’’ he said.
Sharing similar sentiments, Mr Adelere Oriolowo, RAMP Project Coordinator in Osun, said the state government had paid more than N1.4 billion as counterpart funds for RAMP projects covering the year 2013 to 2017.
Oriolowo said the move by the state government had qualified the state for the next stage of the project, claiming that the state was ranked top among other benefiting states in the RAMP projects.
But Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of the state shed more light on this, noting that his administration had paid N1.5 billion out of its N1.9 billion counterpart funding share for rural road projects in the state.
Represented by Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori, the deputy governor of the state, Aregbesola said his government was fulfilling its counterpart obligations in spite of scarce resources to ensure successful implementation of the projects in the state.
“We have paid about N1.5 billion out of the N1.9 billion share of our counterpart fund and I have approved the balance of N400 million which will be paid as soon as fund is available,’’ he promised.
Aregbesola indicated his government’s interest to participate in the third phase of the project to bring development to all the state’s rural areas.
He said RAMP had become a household name due to its huge contributions to development in the country through rural road construction.
Appraising the progress of the project, Mr Tesfa michael Mitiku, the World Bank Task Team Leader, called for the collective efforts of all the stakeholders to execute RAMP projects across the country.
“RAMP is a project that we ought to be proud of and this is an avenue to address some of the issues that are slowing some states down in their efforts to meet up with other states.
“Our project, which involves road constructions, is huge but together we can achieve our set goals in rural roads construction across the country,’’ he advised the participants.(NAN)