Rural development: Imo govt set to participate in World Bank project, RAMP

Imo State Government may have scaled through the huddles to qualify to access the Rural Access and Mobility Project  (RAMP) Funding, a world bank project that  compliments and consolidates the effort of the government in the development of the rural areas of  especially in the area of roads.
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Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere with his team at a  recent  a meeting with the Country Director of World Bank, Nigeria in Abuja, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud and other World Bank Personnel made presentations where he disclosed that Imo State has met all the requirements to participate fully in RAMP II  project, which was corroborated by the World Bank team led by the Country Director.
In his address, he revealed that the State had scaled through at the National Assembly but surprisingly could notworldbank participate in the project due to lack of passage of Fiscal Responsibility Law and non institutionalization of of Public Procurement Bureau, which was pointed out by the World Bank.
Speaking further, he said due to the importance Governor Okorocha and his Rescue Mission Administration attached to the Project owing to its projected impacts to the rural dwellers and the State’s effort at revamping Agricultural sector and building industrial base for the State especially at the rural areas, it expedited action, which led to the passage of “Imo State Fiscal Responsibility Law 2016” by the State House of Assembly.
He also disclosed that the State Government has properly set-up Public Procurement Bureau followed by the Director-General and engagement of appropriate Bureau for effectiveness as required by Imo State Public Procurement Price Intelligence and Related Matters of Law No. 12 of 2010, which he said had been submitted to the World Bank.
Buttressing further the desirous and readiness of the State, Prince Madumere averred that Governor Okorocha has ensured that the State has worked under the guidance of Federal Project Management Unit of RAMP, which he said the State has satisfied both, the Technical and Governance Criteria as stipulated in the Project Appraisal Document (PAD).
Prince Madumere used the forum to enumerate the effort of the State Government in Road Construction at the rural roads, which he put at 740 km with 64 Rivers Crossing spread in the 27 local government of State.
On the Counterpart Fund concern, Prince Madumere revealed that Governor Okorocha has set aside One Hundred Million Naira as counterpart fund for the 2016 and pledged commitment of the  Government and people of Imo State for successful implementation of RAMP II Project in the State.
The number two citizen of Imo State regretted the State has been fully sensitized about RAMP through workshop conducted on October 29, 2013, which he said has led to agitation and calls for its realization and implementation. He also spoke about lack of morale among the Staff of State Project Implementation Unit and inadequate funds to support government efforts to open more rural areas, which will be key to the movement of Agricultural produce, springing up of cottage industries and other Socio-economic activities.
He therefore prayed that since Imo State has met all the required grey areas and fulfilled all the necessary legal and systemic requirement, he called not he Country Director to use his good offices to grant Imo State the opportunity to participate in RAMP II Project.
The Secretary to the Government of Imo State also called on the World Bank  to call on its Coordinators to ensure that it bridges the communication gap  between the Bank and the State, which is the owner of the project. He said it has become necessary because it is an impediment to planning and budgeting.
In his response, the Country Director of The World Bank Nigeria, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud applauded the effort of Imo State Government towards ensuring it met the mentioned requirements, which it was hitherto the impediments. He assured the Imo State Government that the management will work very hard to ensure that the Project takes off in Imo State while advising a systemic approach to ensuring consistency in Projects for it s smooth running and completion.
Highpoint of the meeting was the handing over of the Imo State Fiscal Responsibility Law 2016, which was applauded by the Bank. Meanwhile, Among others in Imo State team led by Imo Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere are The Secretary to the Government of Imo State, Sir George Ezenna Eche, Deputy Chief of Staff, Abuja Liaison and External Affairs, hon. (Mrs) Nma Nzeribe, Perm. Sec. Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Asonyeigwe Eugene, Coordinator of Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP), Imo State Engr. John C. Uzor, Ag. Director-General of  Bureau for Public Procurement, Mrs. Chiaka C. Mbajunwa and  Adviser to the Governor on Agribusiness with Focus on Cassava Production Utilization, Ezenwa Kingsley Ononuju (Attorney).
Uche Onwuchekwa
Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Media

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