By Kehinde Oluwatayo
To ensure proper maintenance of roads in Ondo State, stakeholders gathered in Akure to deliberate on a legislation establishing Rural Access Roads Agency RARA and State Road Fund SRF.
The two organisations are to ensure sustenance and maintenance of roads constructed by Ondo State Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project RAAMP, an agency assisted by World Bank and French Development.
RAAMP and its donors have embarked on construction of rural roads in the state.
At a stakeholders’ workshop on road sector reform in the state, World Bank Consultant, Mr Maysam Abedin said there was the need to create RARA and SRF and give them legislative backing to ensure sustenance and maintenance of roads constructed by RAAMP.
According to Abedin, the state requires estimated N12.3b to maintain its roads annually, describing the amount as a large liability, hence the need to think of how to raise revenue to meet it.
He said some mechanisms are in place whereby a certain percentage of the internally generated revenue, from local government allocation and from road taxes would be deducted to meet the need.
Special Adviser to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Rural and Community Development, Kolawole Babatunde said government’s decision to be one of the participating states in RAAMP was borne out of the concern of the governor to change the negative narrative associated with getting access to the rural part of the state.
Babatunde said there was need to have watertight arrangements to save the roads and prevent frequent spoilage of farm produce.
Majority Leader of the State House of Assembly, Mr Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi who described the bill as an important one, assured of its speedy passage since the executive and judiciary are ready.
Describing the programme as a laudable one, Chairman of Akoko Southwest who is also the chairmanof ALGON in the state, Mr Augustine Oloruntogbe assured of the support of local governments and the people at the grassroot who are the major beneficiaries of the project.
Coordinator of RAMMP in the state, Engr Olusola Dada said establishment of RARA and SRF with a legislative backing became necessary so that roads constructed by the organisation will not be abandoned.
“By the time our donors, World Bank and French Development withdraw, RARA and SRF will continue with the maintenance of the roads,” he explained.
Present at the event are lawmakers from the State House of Assembly, local government chairmen amongst others.