By Laleye Dipo
The World Bank and the French Development Agency have scored Niger State high in rural road construction.
The two organisations are jointly funding road construction projects under the Rural Access and Mobility Programmes in the state.
The commendation was contained in a letter jointly signed by the World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, and the Country Director of French Development Agency for Nigeria, Mr. Pascal Grangereau.
In the commendation letter sent to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, the organisations described Niger State as the best in terms of the implementation of the project, adding that the state is now among the best in terms of procurement, safeguards, financial management and technical experience to manage rural roads.
According to the document, a total of 176 kilometres of roads have been rehabilitated in the state, while another 404 kilometres are under rehabilitation, in addition to 29 river crossings, consisting of culverts and bridges that have also have been constructed.
“The roads rehabilitated and river crossings constructed provide all-weather access for over 120 communities with an estimated population of 342,00 people in the state.
“The scheme has impacted on many communities in the areas of easy access to health facilities, increased schools enrollment, reduced transport costs and improved the living standard of the rural dwellers economically and socially.
“The cost of transportation has reduced by 40 per cent along project road corridors while post- harvest loss has dropped by 30%,” the agencies said in the commendation letter.
The letter also praised the state government for upgrading some of the roads to “bituminous surface”, which they said will provide resilience to climate and prolong the life span of the roads.
The development partners also commended the performance of the State Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) and tasked it to work hard to complete the remaining activities before the 30th of October, 2020 which is the closing date of the project.
Niger, Osun, Adamawa and Enugu States are participating in the RAMP 2 programme.