By Onyekachi Eze
Prior to speculations that Imo State has been blacklisted from the World Bank five hundred million Dollars project fund, the State project Coordinator of Rural Access And Mobility Project RAMP, Engr John Chikezie Uzor has dismissed such claims, saying that Imo belongs to RAMP 2 and not RAMP 3 as alleged.
RAMP is a World Bank assisted project financed by French Development Agency. Their major objective is to bring the transport infrastructure with particular interest on roads and bridges, to upgrade, rehabilitate, construct and to maintain the roads to a sustainable condition for a use of rural populace.
Imo State is however said to be participating in RAMP 2 with four other States; Osun, Adamawa, Niger and Enugu.
According to the State Project Coordinator last Friday November 3, 2017 while dismissing recent publication in one of the State tabloids alleging that RAMP blacklists Imo from the World Bank Project Fund, he said that such publication was a misnormer, and misplacement of fact.
Engr. Uzor posited by asking how can RAMP which the State Government instituted can turn around to blacklist it?
He said that RAMP is being owned by the State government, stressing that RAMP project is being piloted by people in the public service ably recruited and paid by Imo State government.
It was disclosed that Imo State Government in its own contributions pays counterpart fund for the project and there is no way the State would have been blacklisted as purportedly said.
“RAMP 2 project started sometime in 2010 but the past administration could not do much, hence there was a halt, until this administration came on board and rekindled it by queuing into RAMP 2 from 2013 till date. So, it’s a misplacement of fact for one to think of such malicious lies”
Trumpeta was reliably informed that the 500 million Dollars World Bank project fund that was reported was specifically for the additional 18 New States that are going to take part in RAMP 3 project; the Rural Access Agricultural And Marketing Project (RAMP3) and not RAMP 2 which Imo and the earlier mentioned 4 States belong to.
“Imo State belongs to RAMP 2, whereas what the Newspaper wrote was on RAMP3. It is an embarrassment to the State Government. It’s also an embarrassment to the project which Imo State government has put in place to oversee its activities in Imo State.
Furthermore, it was disclosed that World Bank approved the full participation of Imo State because it attained the basic criteria expected which qualified the State to RAMP 2.
Mr. Uzor told this Newspaper that having passed through the first phase, the next stage now is the implementation stage, that is; going into the construction aspect of it.
Meanwhile, the State RAMP boss affirmed that these achievements would not have been recorded if Governor Rochas Okorocha showed no commitment.
He revealed that Okorocha approved that Imo team should go to South Africa to under study how attotta seal is being applied for the overall interest of Imo populace.
“The State has also enacted laws that would make it possible for Imo State to be approved by World Bank as the public Responsibility Bill which he said was debated by Imo State House of Assembly and was approved.
Also, the State set up a public procurement Bureau which is a criteria for the State to participate in World Bank Project, among other feets recorded so far by this government in RAMP2”. Engr. J.C.Uzor asserted.