By Philomina Attah
Osogbo – The Osun Government says it has paid N1.5 billion, out of its N1.9 billion counterpart funding share, for rural road projects in the state under Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP).
Gov. Rauf Aregbesola said this when he hosted a dinner for a team of RAMP-2 participating states, led by the World Bank Task Team Leader, Tesfamichael Mitiku, in Osogbo on Thursday night.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori, Aregbesola said that his administration was fulfilling its counterpart obligations, in spite of its scarce resources, to ensure the successful implementation of RAMP projects in the state.
“We have paid about N1.5 billion, out of the N1.9 billion share of our counterpart funds.
“I have approved the payment of the balance of N400 million and this will be paid as soon as funds are available,’’ he said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the RAMP-2 participating states were in Oshogbo for a three-day Bi-Annual World Bank Supervision Mission on RAMP projects.
RAMP is a Federal Government initiative that is co-financed by the World Bank and the French Development Agency (FDA) to improve road transportation in the rural communities.
The programme focuses on the rehabilitation and maintenance of rural roads and bridges. Five states — Niger, Adamawa, Enugu, Osun and Imo — are participating in the second phase of the project known as RAMP-2.
Aregbesola indicated his government’s intention to participate in the third phase of the project so as to bring development to all the rural areas of the state.
He said that RAMP had become a household name because of its huge contributions to the nation’s development through rural road constructions.
He said that Osun, having been rated as the best state with regard to the implementation of RAMP-2 projects, would like to expand the project to other areas which had yet to benefit from it.
The governor expressed gratitude to the World Bank and FDA for financing the RAMP initiative.
During a courtesy visit to the governor earlier in the day, the World Bank team leader, Mitiku, appealed to the state government to handle the maintenance aspects of the constructed roads.
He told the governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Gbenga Oyetola, that the maintenance of the projects was critical the overall success of the RAMP initiative.
Mitiku commended the state government for hosting the supervision mission, which afforded RAMP-2 participating states the opportunity to assess the progress of work and re-strategise.
The National Coordinator of RAMP, Mr Ularamu Ubandoma, commended the Osun State Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) for a job well done, applauding the feats recorded in the state.
“Substantially, we are satisfied with the level of work we have inspected so far. We also interacted with residents of some rural communities and they said their lives are now better off.
“Osun was chosen to host the remaining RAMP-2 participating states because of its level of commitment,’’ he added.
Ubandoma thanked the governor for the payment of the project counterpart funds and urged other governors to emulate him.