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Niger: World Bank earmarks $60m for rural roads

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  • FG to empower fish farmers to produce 3.5m tons

John Adams, Minna and Okwe Obi, Abuja

The World Bank has earmarked $60 million for the construction of 579 kilometers of rural roads, under the Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP) across the 25 local government areas of Niger state.

National Coordinator of RAMP, Alhaji Uban Doma, who made the disclosure yesterday, at the formal flag off of 403 kilometers second phase of the rural roads project at Kompanin Bobi, in Mariga Local Government Area of the state, said already 176 kilometers have been constructed in addition to 30 river crossing during the first phase of the project.

The projects are to be completed before the end of 2019, and they are jointly being financed by the World Bank and the Niger State Government.

He said 119 kilometers of rural roads have been selected for spot improvement to create access to the communities where river crossing were constructed.

According to the national coordinator, the World Bank RAMP, which was started in the state in 2014, is aimed at improving transport condition, expand and sustain access by the rural population, through rehabilitating and maintaining key rural transport infrastructure in a sustainable manner.

Niger state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, who flagged off the project, expressed the determination of his administration to continue to seek partnership and collaborations with reputable development and donor agencies, to ensure accelerated development of critical sectors of the state.

The governor gave the assurance that all bottlenecks which will hinder the timely implementation of the rural projects will be removed.

He said: “We will also continue to pay all our counterpart contributions to development partners for all projects in the critical areas in the state.We are confident this will improve the socio-economic status of the people.”

He said the RAMP is a programme jointly funded by the state government and the world bank which core value is to promote rapid economic growth, by providing all year round access to basic services and facilities for the rural people in the state, to enhance the agricultural value chain.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has said it would empower fish farmers across the country with modern technology to meet the country’s total annual fish demands of 3.5 million tons.

This is even as the government decried the low turnout of only 1.1million tons.

Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hienekan Lokpobiri, said with the over 200 different fish species that abound in the nation’s coastal waters, Nigerian fish farmers should take advantage of the huge local and foreign markets, as well as government’s support to bridge the gap in fish production in the country.

Lokpobiri also insisted that it is only by embracing new technology that fish farmers can end fish importation into the country, as well as be competitive with their counterparts globally.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, George Oji, Lokpobiri gave the task to fish farmers when he received a technical team from Olam Grains, who came to showcase some investment opportunities and new application of technology in the mariculture sub-sector of our economy in his office, at the weekend, in Abuja.

“The ministry will do everything legally possible to collaborate with you, including in the area of policy support to ensure the huge gap in fish production in the country is bridged.

“If we partner you, you will be able to upscale your production and bridge the huge gap in local fish consumption as well as the large export potentials which abound in the country,” the minister said.

In his presentation, leader of the technical team, Professor Mathew Tan, from the James Cook University, Australia, used the opportunity to make a strong case for fish farmers in the country to embrace Sea Bass (Barramundi) fish production in the country, as part of the diversification of fish species in Nigeria.

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