Niger Agric. Commissioner Insists constructed Rural Roads funded by state
Yahaya Zakka Minna.
Niger state government has hinted that the rural roads being constructed by RAMP was solely funded by the state government.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Haliru Zakari Jikantoro made the clarification in an interview with Journalists in his office recently on the funding and contribution of the state government on the rural roads constructed by RAMP.
The commissioner said bonds (loans) were taken by the state government to put the entire components of the roads in place, pointing out that all other contributions made by international partners in the projects were included in the bonds which the state government will still pay.
He emphasised that it was a wrong notion for anyone to think that the state government partnered with international development agencies to finance the roads, adding that their involvement was to facilitate the project but the state government will carry the financial burden of the project.
He said ” it may look like the World Bank and the French International Development Agency partnered with the state government in funding the RAMP rural roads. But if you look at it critically, the state government secured bonds in collaboration with these international development agencies to finance the project and the state would be the one to settle the bonds” , he emphasised.
He said since that was the arrangement, it means that the state government was entirely responsible for funding the project since it will eventually pay the bond loan.
The commissioner also stated that government does not buy fertilizer anymore, but partner with private agro dealers to supply fertilizers at a subsidized rate.
He said the partnership with private agro dealers means that government will subsidize the fertilizer by paying the cost of transportation, storage, security and easy access to farmers. He further disclosed that the partnership made the fertilizer to be sold at N8000 instead of 9500 in open market price.
Hon. Jikantoro said funding and inadequate personnel were some of the problems facing agricultural programmes in the state, especially in providing extension services to farmers, hoping that the nation’s economy should get better.
He commended the Goveenor Abubakar Sani Bello for investing so much in Agriculture, saying that with the recent gains by security Agencies to rid the state of banditry, many farmers have gone back to their farms.adding that with the recent development it expected there would be bumper harvest this farming season.