The African Development Bank (AfDB) has offered to assist the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with part of the $10 billion the bank earmarked for infrastructural development in Nigeria.
The bank delegation led by Dr. Abayomi Babalola, a transport specialists/consultant to the bank disclosed this while on a visit to FERMA headquarters in Abuja.
According to Dr. Babalola, the bank has set aside a total sum of $10 billion for Nigeria’s 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 has not received much desired intervention from the bank and informed the management of FERMA that his team was at the agency to identify 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.
Responding, the Managing Director FERMA, Nuruddeen Rafindadi thanked the AfDB for the good gesture, but however bemoaned the poor state of roads in the country as a result of poor funding.
According to him, budgetary allocations have been grossly inadequate to fund road repair works, revealing that the federal government is looking at other options of funding road projects.
Rafindadi said that when the Federal Ministry of Finance approves the loan arrangement, the AfDB should be assured of good execution of all selected road projects.
“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,” he submitted.
The FERMA chief executive assured his guests of a robust partnership between FERMA and the AfDB in the quest of making Nigerian roads motorable all year round.
Other interventions by the bank on the road sector include construction of the Nigeria-Cameroon highway and the Ebonyi state Ring Road projects.