By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE Federal Executive, FEC, yesterday approved the inclusion of Imo State in the French Development Agency, AFD, credit of $60 million to scale up the Second Rural Access and Mobility Project, RAMP II.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this while briefing the State House correspondents after the weekly FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said Council also approved 21 million for the procurement of two tug boats for towage purposes on Nigerian waters.
It also approved the sum of N703 million for the dredging of water in Baro, in preparation of the readiness of Baro Port.
Mohammed said the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, presented the memo that included Imo State on the French Development Agency credit at the FEC.
The National Assembly had in the 2010 External Borrowing Plan of the Federal Government of Nigeria, approved AFD’s credit facility of $60 million to implement RAMP in Imo State.
Adeosun said the development objectives of the project, like the first phase (RAMP I), was to improve transport conditions and bring sustained access to the rural population through rehabilitation and maintaining key rural transport infrastructure in a sustainable manner in Imo State.
She further stated that lack of accessibility, caused by highly deteriorated transport infrastructure, was key determinant of rural poverty and low agricultural productivity.
The project was designed around three components: Upgrading, Rehabilitation and Maintenance of Rural Transport Infrastructure; Community-based road maintenance and mechanized maintenance; and Project Management and Strengthening of Imo State road sector Institutional, Policy and Regulatory Framework.
RAMP II is expected to achieve an improvement in reducing cost of transportation of both passengers and goods, access to health facilities and improved income from agricultural activities in the affected communities.
Mohammed also said that Council gave contractors handling the Oron-Calabar section of the East-West road a matching order to speed up completion for the rains.
He said: “Council directed the Minister of Niger Delta to speed up re-negotiations with the contractors to ensure immediate resumption of the completion of that phase of road.”
Minister of Water Resources, Sulaiman Adamu, while briefing said that the Council approved the construction of an 80 meter expanded bridge, in Karu, Nassarawa, Constituency project at the cost of N719 million with completion period of two years.
Besides, he said council approved another constituency project, the construction of earth dam irrigation scheme in Gwaranga, Bauchi State at the cost of N1.36 billion to be completed in two years.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the Magami-Kwajali-Lingi road connecting Bauchi and Kano, which is 58.9 kilometers was approved at the cost of N15.454 billion.
He also said that Council approved the Phase II of Abuja -Keffi-Akwanga-Lagos-Makurdi road.
He said: “I need to stress that this the section that comprises 16:0 kilometers which is the Lagos by-pass and the section that also comprises 251.7 kilometers from Ninth Mile through Otukpo to Makurdi. A total of 268.5 kilometers for $995,004.95.
“The reason is that it is the Abuja -Keffi road which was awarded in 2015, for which finance is now available. So, this is the second phase for which the finance is not yet available but the award is the pre-condition to now get the loan from the China-Exim Bank, so that by the time work is on and the first phase finishes, we can seemlessly continue the second phase all the way to Makurdi.”