The World Bank’s Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) has charged the Enugu State Government to set up a Rural Road Maintenance Fund (RRMF), to ensure regular and adequate maintenance of the roads.
The National Coordinator of RAMP, Mr Ubandoma Ularamu, gave the charge on Thursday in Enugu at a stakeholders’ workshop on the dissemination and adoption of Low Volume Road Manuals.
“We advise that Enugu State endeavours to address the institutionalization of rural roads maintenance by creating RRMF to enable the state ensure the sustainability of its numerous network of rural roads.
“This will propel the state towards participating in Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP), which is an upcoming programme of the World Bank and its development partners,’’ Ularamu said.
He said that henceforth the manual would be used as a guide for engineers and other stakeholders in designing and maintaining rural roads in the state and Nigeria in general.
According to him, maintenance of rural roads remains the key to ensuring that the roads constructed in the rural areas are put in motorable condition all year round.
He lauded the state government for its support to rural development, saying that “rural access roads remain the key to economic development of the country’’.
Declaring the workshop open, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi said his administration was determined to transform the rural communities of the state.
Ugwuanyi, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Ortuanya, said his administration had opened up rural communities through improved road infrastructure, leading to a boost in agriculture and economic activities across the state.
He commended the World Bank and the French Development Agency for their commitment to improving the life of the people of the state, especially the rural dwellers.
“This administration is ready to key into the next phase of RAMP, which is the RAAMP, in order to sustain rural development in the state,’’ he said.
The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Greg Nnaji, described rural road infrastructure as key to economic development,
saying that the manual would help to improve the capacity of the State Project Monitoring Unit in the discharge of its duties.
In an address of welcome, the Project Coordinator of RAMP in the state, Mr Chinedu Ugwu, said that the RAMP project in the state had received tremendous support from the state government through the payment of its counterpart funds.
He said the project had completed 330 kilometres of the 385.42 kilometres of rural roads targeted for construction and rehabilitation during the first and second phases, while attributing the achievements so far recorded by the agency to the support from the state governor.