By Chris Chikelue/Henrietta Madichie
Awka, June 17, 2021 (MOI) Anambra State Commissioner for Works Mr Marcel Ifejiofor has urged the Anambra State Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) Committee to hasten up the commencement of construction and rehabilitation of rural access roads to farmlands in the state.
The commissioner said this at the meeting of the RAAMP Committee at the Ministry of Works, Awka on June 16.
RAAMP, a Federal Government of Nigeria initiated project was created to succeed the defunct second Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP-2) and is guided by the Government’s Rural Travel and Transport Policy (RTTP).
The lead agency for the Federal Government is Ministry of Agriculture (FMA).
The project was supposed to be financed by African Development Bank (AfDB) but will now be financed by European Investment Bank (EIB).
Discussing the delays in the commencement of the project in the state, Chairman of the Committee and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, Barr Emeka Ohuoha said that series of COVID-19 Pandemic lockdowns in the state and around the World and pulling out of AfDB put a clog in the commencement of the project.
“If you recall, we were inaugurated as a committee on August 30 2018 and since then we have not been able to meet but happily enough we are meeting today (June 16).
“You may be wondering why we have not been able to meet since 2018; one of the major reasons why we have not been able to meet is that the project sponsor, the AfDB pulled out because the Federal Ministry of Agriculture rejected their introduction of ‘Compulsory Seed Programme’.
“Last year, the COVID-19 Pandemic took almost the entire year and we had this long shutdown and workers could not come to work and all the attendant consequences of the pandemic.
“We cannot meet ordinarily when the programme is not disbursement effective but luckily enough we now have a new sponsor, the European Investment Bank; they have accepted to sponsor the project so we have a lifeline and that is the reason why we are meeting.
“The most important reason why we have not been able to meet as planned is that the counterpart cash transmission that we are expecting from the State Government. This has not been released; so you can see we have a catalogue of issues but thankfully enough we are overcoming the obstacle.
“We of a firm belief that henceforth we will be able to meet as often as we can.’’
Project Coordinator of Anambra RAAMP , Mr Joe Onyejekwe, an engineer said that the prioritisation studies as a prerequisite for admission into the project had been concluded and forwarded to their headquarters at Abuja.
“Studies sponsored by RAAMP National Office in Anambra State which include Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF), Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF), have been completed and submitted to RAAMP National Coordinator’s Office, Abuja.’’
While discussing the Committee’s public enlightenment to the people of the state he said that they had been involved in a series of missions, workshops, seminars and meetings organised by World Bank, Federal Project Management Unit (FPMU) and RAAMP National Office.
Onyejekwe, a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Works adds: “the next phase of activity of the state RAAMP is the design of 500 km Rural Roads.
“This activity is subject to availability of funds. Expression of Interest has been carried out and successful consultants shortlisted.
“The Anambra State Implementation Unit is about to commence the maintenance of about 155km of rural farm roads as soon as Gov. Willie Obiano approves the proposal.’’ At the meeting were various representatives among who are Mr Magnus Okoli from Dunukofia Local government Area, Acting HOD Works, Mr Chudi Obiudu and Mr Paul Ezeani from the State Ministry of Agriculture. (MOI)