From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The Ogun State government says it will expedite the passage of the Bills establishing the Rural Access Road Agency (RARA) and the State Road Fund (SRF) to ensure building and maintenance of rural roads, as well sourcing for funds for the project.
The Commissioner for Rural Development in the state, Jamiu Odetoogun made this known at the Road Sector Reform Stakeholders Workshop held in Abeokuta, the state capital.
The workshop which had in attendance representatives from the private sector and relevant government agencies, was organised by the Ogun State Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) and the Ministry of Rural Development, with the aim of ensuring sustainability and continuity of the rural road projects after the exit of RAAMP.
Odetoogun explained that as a precondition for further funding of the project by the World Bank and the French Development Agency, the state government would ensure that the Bills on RARA and SRF are speedily finalized and placed before the State House of Assembly not later than the stipulated 18 months after the effective date of the project.
According to the Commissioner, under the RAAMP, 125 kilometers of rural roads would be rehabilitated and upgraded across Ogun.
He added that the project would also address the rehabilitation and backlog maintenance of 200km; spot improvement of 450km: routine maintenance of 700km rural roads; construction of 100m of cross-drainage structures (culverts and bridges) and development of five agro-logistics centres (rural markets).
“The establishment of Rural Access Road Agency (RARA) and State Road Fund (SRF) was necessitated by the lessons learnt from the predecessor of the Project, RAMP 2 to ensure that rural road reform is implemented and its institutional capacity is strengthened. Hence, with the onboarding of the Agency that will champion the maintenance of rural roads in the state and the funding to ensure sustainability, will guarantee that all state and rural roads are continuously put into good condition after the expiration of the RAAMP.
“Let me assure you at this point that the State Government will, as a matter of commitment, set in motion all necessary machineries towards the prompt passage of the bills establishing the Rural Access Road Agency (RARA) and the State Road Fund (SRF) as captured under the Third Component of the Project, in addition to their eventual endorsement by the governor.
“The intending benefits of these establishments to the people of Ogun State is enormous and their advantages to the government cannot be achieved alone by Ogun-RAAMP and the Ministry of Rural Development, thus, the collective efforts of all relevant stakeholders”. Odetoogun stated.
Speaking earlier, the RAAMP National Coordinator, Bodinga Mohammed, represented at the workshop by Buka Gana, explained that the aim of the road sector reform was to complement the efforts of the state government in the construction of rural roads, adding that there is need for private sectors to key into the project.