By Ahmed Ahmed
Governor Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir of Bauchi State has on Monday, inaugurated the construction of the N2.4b 19km Liman Katagum-Luda-Lekka pilot rural road in Bauchi Local government area of the state.
Speaking during the inauguration governor Mohammmed at Liman Katagum said that the 19km Liman Katagum-Luda- Lekka Pilot Rural Road, promised to open up the rural areas for growth and development.
The governor said the project falls under the World Bank-assisted Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP), through International Development, its Associations Agency.
“Given that this project has been long in taking off, I have no doubt that the areas to be served by it will heave a sigh of relief that this long-awaited event has come to fruition. I want to assure them that more than anyone else, I share in their joy, for many good reasons too.
“Today’s event marks another major watershed in the several milestones that our Administration has recorded as we move decisively towards laying a solid infrastructural foundation for the overall development of our state.”
He explained that it is in keeping with the result of the baseline studies conducted at inception which showed that as an agrarian state with over 50% of the population in the rural areas, any economic development strategy that ignored a robust road network programme would fail to lift our people out of poverty.
“Today, to the glory of God, out of the over 4000 kilometres of road needing attention when we came on board in 2019, we have generated resources and constructed over 1,000 urban and rural roads connecting major areas with markets and providing access to basic social services.
“We are satisfied that by facilitating the evacuation of agricultural inputs and produce, the improved road infrastructure is playing a major role in boosting food security, thereby enhancing the purchasing power and overall standard of living of our rural dwellers,” he added.
The Governor further stated that, “I need to reiterate that we could not have achieved this without proper planning, out-of-the-box resource mobilization, our dedicated staff, a procurement strategy anchored on good governance and global best practices and the generous support, confidence and intervention of our development partners.”
According to Bala Mohammed, “The Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) that has brought us to this happy milestone which was under preparation when we assumed office in 2019, fits perfectly into the road infrastructure vision of our Administration.
“The Five-year project is to be implemented, in 18 states of the Federation including Bauchi, in collaboration with the World Bank through contributions from the International Development Association (IDA) to the tune of $280m and the French Development Agency (AFD) to the tune of $230m. The 18 participating states of the Federation are to contribute about $65m.”
“Satisfied that the Project Development Objective (PDO), aimed at providing access roads in rural areas to boost agricultural marketing in a sustainable manner, was in keeping with our own thinking, we wasted no time in increasing the momentum of the project.
“This we did by taking two significant steps: Providing needed resources particularly, theN1.4B counterpart funding for the purposes of implementation of activities under the Project, in accordance with the approved Plans and Budget and Institutional and Legislative Reforms: Demonstrating the required political will by promptly supporting the Institutional and Legislative reforms needed by the project.
“The result is that of the 18 participating states in the federation, we were amongst the first three that fulfilled the Legal Covenant of passing the Laws to establish the State Rural Access Road Authority (RARA) and the State Road Fund (SRF) with an equally strong commitment to implement the Laws as enshrined.
“I am particularly delighted to note that the RAAMP project has packaged a bundle of carefully selected range of interventions that will spread across the geopolitical zones of our state, to be delivered within the implementation period”.
The intervention covers the provision of six Agro-Logistic centers, Upgrade/construction of rural roads, Spot improvement of rural roads, Backlog maintenance of roads and provision of cross drainages.
He further expresses delight to note that the project has selected the 19Km Liman Katagum – Luda road to showcase the concept while other roads are being prepared across the state for various types of intervention.
He commended the Federal Government which is ably represented by the Federal Project Management Unit (FPMU), the World Bank, and the French Development Association (AFD) for their continuous support for the effective delivery of the project.
“We are leveraging these supports to focus our attention on rural development by providing connectivity to agricultural marketing and production centers. This would definitely change the micro-indices in favor of the rural populace and improve their livelihood, which would be achieved through the continuous improvement and sustainability of rural roads Infrastructure,” he added.
The Governor explained that under the arrangement, the 19Km Liman Katagum Luda Lekka Road would be constructed with 6-metre double coat surface dressing, 1-meter shoulders on both sides, Box culverts of various sizes and numbers together with other complementary cross drainages.
The contract was awarded through the National Competitive Bidding process of the World Bank to Messrs. H&M Nig. Ltd at the estimated contract sum of N2,420,139,250.54 with a project duration of 18 Months.
On his part, The National Project Coordinator Engr. Aminu Muhammad Bodinga said Bauchi is taking the lead among the nineteen benefiting states by fulfilling all the requirements to secure the intervention in good time.
In a remark, the Commissioner Ministry of Special Duties and Rural Development Faruq Mustapha said under the RAAM Project, over one thousand kilometers of road would be constructed across the state in an effort to reduce the number of rural roads that are in deplorable condition.
The project is to be completed in eighteen months time.