News

November 29, 2022

Rural Devt: Buhari launches $575m RAAMP Project, vows to leave no Nigerian hungry

…as World Bank counsels FG, States to suspend N6trn subsidy, inject into agric

Gov Diri expresses hope over intervention to mitigate flood impact

By Gabriel Ewepu

AS food prices remain unabated across the country President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, launched $575 million Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project, RAAMP, to provide roads for farmers and boost rural economy

Buhari who was represented by the Governor of Borno State, Prof Babagana Zulum, in his speech vowed to leave no Nigeria hungry and that would be one of his legacies he wishes to leave behind in 2023.

According to him, the project is consistent with his developmental vision since he became President in 2015.

Meanwhile, RAAMP an initiative of the Federal Government aimed to improve rural access and agriculture marketing in participating States is to strengthen the financing and institutional base for effective development, maintenance, and management of the rural road network.

The project is supported by the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), and International Development Association (IDA).

The project with a total outlay of $575 million will be jointly financed by the International Development Association, IDA, with a contribution of $280 million; French Development Agency (AFD) is contributing $230 million, and the Government is contributing $65 million respectively.

The project has 19 participating States, which later will include other states in future.

He said: “This occasion underscores my deepest desire to leave behind an enduring legacy of a Nigeria where no citizen goes to bed on an empty stomach.

“For me the institution launch of this project signals the restoration of hope to our teeming rural population that their welfare remains a key objective of my administration.

“Over the cause of this administration we have midwifed several projects in partnership with various development partners, notably the World Bank, French Development Agency, African Development Bank, and others.

“These projects range from infrastructure to agriculture. We have made all efforts to make that these projects aligns with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.”

In a good will message the World Bank Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri, said Nigeria should suspend subsidy of N6 trillion on Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, and inject the money into agricultural development.

Chaudhuri said, “The development aids of the RAAMP is about connecting farmers to markets and giving hope to farmers in Nigeria depends on agriculture, connecting the poor, and also for Nigeria’s potential in casing of moving up the agricultural value chain that as road to shared prosperity for everyone.

“We are very happy to be supporting Nigeria, the Federal Government as well as the States on this.

“Second point is scale; you have to scale up, we can have it achieved anywhere as Nigeria did like 230,000 kilometers of rural or secondary roads because Nigeria offers over 87 per cent as far as we can tell, which we can get 30,000 kilometers of roads that are passable but the remaining 170,000 are not.

“So if you think of tackling that problem and scale you think of issue of affordability. We are interested in providing financing not just for RAAMP but so many other development needs all over Nigeria in the last two and half year.

“The board has approved over $9.2 billion and seems to be the largest for any country in the world but for me is almost a footnote relative to the kind of financing Nigeria needs.

“The vision to achieve national programme in this case rural roads and connectivity, which is basically affordable as well and is a real partnership, our financing is a little bit of contribution. The federal government comes in with their contribution. The scale of financing is needed would be achieved, we will also remain be happy to contribute as much as we can for this and other priorities.

“For the states and federal governments to be able to provide such financing there have to be some choices that are made and one of the biggest choices Nigeria needs to make whether Nigeria can continue to put N5 trillion to its PMS subsidies every year or N6 trillion probably next year. What could be done with this N6 trillion both at your state and local government levels?”

However, he said, the road projects’ challenge is maintenance, which he asserted that they do not become the proverbial ‘sand castles on the beach’.

“You have to scale up, we can have it achieved anywhere as Nigeria did like 230,000 kilometers of rural or secondary roads because Nigeria offers over 87 per cent as far as we can tell, which we can get 30,000 kilometers of roads that are passable but the remaining 170,000 are not.
“So if you think of tackling that problem and scale you think of issue of affordability. We are interested in providing financing not just for RAAMP but so many other development needs all over Nigeria in the last two and half years.
“The board has approved over $9.2 billion and seems to be the largest for any country in the world but for me is almost a footnote relative to the kind of financing Nigeria needs.

“The vision to achieve national programme in this case rural roads and connectivity, which is basically affordable as well and is a real partnership, our financing is a little bit of contribution. The federal government comes in with their contribution. The scale of financing is needed would be achieved, we will also remain be happy to contribute as much as we can for this and other priorities.

“For the states and federal governments to be able to provide such financing there have to be some choices that are made and one of the biggest choices Nigeria needs to make whether Nigeria can continue to put N5 trillion to its PMS subsidies every year or N6 trillion probably next year. What could be done with this N6 trillion both at your state and local government levels?”

Speaking on sidelines of the presidential launch of RAAMP, the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, who hailed the launch of RAAMP said the intervention will go a long way to solve most of the problems occasioned by the recent devastating flood in the State.

Diri said, “We are looking for every avenue of assistance and RAAMP readily comes into it for access roads, especial agriculture, and Bayelsa State is more of a rural State. So keying it RAAMP will also alleviate damages caused by the flood we have experienced this year.”