NIGERIA AND JAPAN SIGNS EXCHANGE OF NOTES FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMEN
‘’Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has the mandate to ensure the effective and efficient maintenance of all existing 36,000 km Federal trunk roads. The annual responsibility of the Agency is to carry out routine and periodic maintenance and quick repairs of the Federal highways. This is one of the cardinal policy objectives of the present Federal Government of Nigeria which is to restore degraded sections of the Federal highway network to improve connectivity. Capacity strengthening through the acquisition of road equipment will greatly impact the Agency’s objective to increase the utility of Nigeria’s road infrastructure by maximizing asset utilization’’
The Managing Director, FERMA, Engr. Nuruddeen A. Rafindadi, FNSE, said this during the occasion of the signing ceremony of the exchange of notes for the project for economic and social development programme (Road Maintenance and construction equipment) at the office of the Hon. Minister of State, Budget and National Planning.
Rafindadi who said, he was delighted to witness the Signing and Exchange of Notes for the Japan Economic and Social Development Programme (Road Maintenance Construction Equipment), appreciated the Hon. Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, and his Excellency Charge d’ Affaires of the Embassy of Japan for their effort towards strengthening the capacity of FERMA to undertake its mandate through the state of art road maintenance and construction equipment.
Speaking earlier, the Honourable Minister of State, Prince Clement Ikanade Agba, in his opening remarks said the signing ceremony of the Exchange of Notes on the ‘’Project for Economic and Social Development Programme is predicated on the conviction that the project will contribute immensely to improving the road infrastructure environment by providing road maintenance related equipment that will aid the implementation of the mandate of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency(FERMA), and improving its capacity for road maintenance, thus facilitating Social Economic development in the sector.
He added that the Bilateral Economic Cooperation between Nigeria and the Government of Japan has, over the years, witness the actualization of various key Governance Support and infrastructural development in line with the current Administration’s Medium Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2021-2025 which aims to improve quality of service and reduce strain on existing infrastructure to facilitate modes with the ultimate goal of a strong institutional structure and systems which will drive the efficient implementation of at least 60% of the plan.
The Minister hailed the Government of Japan for being a reliable partner in the developmental drive through various supports. He said, ‘’it is commendable that in the midst of the current challenges posed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japanese Government through the Embassy has continued to implement its projects and technical programmes through e-conferencing and virtual platforms
He finally enjoined FERMA to utilize the opportunity provided by the Japanese government through the notes signing, to improve on the quality of maintenance of roads for easy access and enhancement of transportation services from one region to the other.
On his part, the Charge D’ Affaires A.I. Embassy of Japan in Nigeria, Mr. Shinozawa Takayuki, in his remarks, said, Japan has built and maintained a consistent partnership with Nigeria towards strengthening and improving economic and social development. He said, ‘’The project for Economic and Social Development Programme (Road Maintenance Construction Equipment)’’ for which we are signing the Exchange Notes today is another concrete example of Japan’s partnership with Nigeria. Our focus on road infrastructure, he said, is in line with one of Japan’s principles of Tokyo International Conference on African Development process towards African countries’ economic and social development.
Noting the benefits of signing the exchange of notes to include time saving, lower cost and easier maintenance, environmental conservation, reduction of transportation cost, the Managing Director, expressed the hope that the partnership will continue, and it marks the beginning of a long journey to upgrade our technical capability in rehabilitation of roads which is far more important in Nigeria today than even the construction of roads.
Maryam M. Sanusi (Mrs.)
9th December, 2021