African Development Bank (AfDB), through its transport sector identification mission, seeks to assist the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with loan facility to address the funding gap in the road repair efforts of the Agency. This was disclosed yesterday when a delegation led by Dr. Abayomi Babalola a transport Specialists/Consultant to the Bank visited the Agency in Abuja.
According to Dr. Babalola, the Bank has set aside a total amount of Ten Billion US Dollars ($10,000,000,000.00 ) for the Nigerian Infrastructure Development. The loan will be disbursed to different sectors of the economy for a period of 10 years. He however observed that the transport sector had not received much desired intervention from the bank. He informed the management of FERMA that his team was at the Agency on a transport sector identification mission, which consists of identifying road projects in Nigeria that can be funded through a well monitored project circle. According to him, the projects would be of national priority and devoid of political encumbrances. He requested the Agency to forward needs and projects that meet these criteria, which will eventually be funded by the Bank.
In his response, the Managing Director FERMA, Engr. Nuruddeen A. Rafindadi (FNSE), thanked AfDB for the good gesture, he however bemoaned the poor state of Roads as a result of poor funding. According to him Budgetary Allocation has been grossly inadequate to fund road repair works; Government is looking at other options of funding Road Projects. Engr. Nuruddeen Rafindadi said, when the Ministry of Finance approves the loan arrangement, AfDB should be assured of good execution of the job. Some of the Roads that would benefit from this may not be viable for Privatization, because of low traffic density, but they are important due to their connection to rural areas with heavy Agricultural activities.
The Managing Director of FERMA, assured his guests of a robust Partnership between FERMA and AfDB in the quest of making Nigerian Roads motorable all year round. Other interventions by the bank on road sector include construction of Nigeria-Cameroon Highway and Ebonyi State ring road Projects.