By Christopher Ambe
The 13th Steering Committee of the Rumpi Area Participatory Development Project (fondly called Rumpi Project) which held at Chariot Hotel –Buea on May 16, wrapped up with the hope that, the project duration would be further extended to permit it fully accomplish its development assignments.
The African Development Bank (ADB), one of the project’s main sponsors, is supposed to make its last disbursement to RUMPI Project by May 31, 2012, except otherwise.
“We remain hopeful that the last request by the Cameroon Government for an exceptional extension of the project duration would be granted”, observed Southwest Governor Bernard Olkalia Bilai, who is also President of the Project Steering Committee(PSC), in his closing speech.
The PSC is responsible for the overall supervision of Rumpi, which is a FCFA 17 billion project, launched in 2004 to reduce poverty in rural areas of the Southwest region by increasing their incomes in a sustainable manner, through improving agricultural output as well as their socio-economic environment. Due to some hitches, the duration of the project has already been extended twice to ensure complete realization of set goals, yet the need for another extension has arisen.
Governor Okalia Bilai said the project would have ended this May, were it not for the contracted road construction companies that could not meet the required deadline for the construction of 221 km feeder roads.
However, the Chair expressed thanks to the ADB, which had extended the duration of the project before.
Rumpi is placed under the Southwest Development Authority, SOWEDA-Buea, and co- funded by African Development Bank (ADB75%), Technical Assistance Fund (TAF 8 %), Government of Cameroon (GOC15%) and the beneficiaries (2%).
The PSC discussed the project’s progress report and agreed tha,t despite the implementation delays in the construction/rehabilitation of feeder roads, Rumpi has achieved much to be proud of.
“Therefore as we hope to wrap-up the activities of this phase, let me invite the management of the Southwest Development Authority(SOWEDA) to immediately go to work for the formulation of Rumpi Phase II”,the PSC chair, Governor Okalia said.
He further hoped that the project will continue to “positively impact on the lives of our people as it has been demonstrated.”
The physical execution rate of the Rumpi Project is now estimated at over 84% and a financial realization of 76.2% of load funds. The PSC Chair said the Capacity –building and Agricultural Production and Productivity Enhancement Components of RUMPI attained a very satisfactory rate of implementation of 93% and 97% respectively since June 2011, permitting the component to close last July 2011.
The Recorder gathered that,Rumpi also did well to have constructed 20 rural markets, 35 rural water schemes, 4 health centers and several other various rural structures for which, RUMPI Project Coordinator Besong Ogork Ntui received accolades.
Mr. Ogork Ntui told reporters that the rate of feeder road realization now stood at 43%, suggesting the work cannot be completed in two weeks.
“However, we are hopeful that, if the ADB funding were to stop on May 31, the Government would not abandon those roads at the current stage. For instance, some roads have been done but the bridges have not been finished. So Government would certainly look for a way forward to complete the job”, the Project Coordinator observed.
The 13th PSC resolved among others that:
1)The Chairperson of the PSC should write a letter to the Regional Delegate of Agriculture for non-conformity with the resolutions of the 12th PSC relating to the collection of outstanding seed funds and the finalization of the seed fund procedure”
2) That the PSC endorses the necessity for the formulation and implementation of Rumpi phase II. In this regard, MINADER should include the cost of the feasibility studies for Rumpi Phase II in the 2013 Public Investment budget of the SOWEDA
3)That ,considering the major constraints encountered in the construction/rehabilitation of feeder roads ,MINADER and MINEPAT should ensure that the remaining activities (including the construction of the bridge 100m over the River Manyu at the Sabes-kendem road segment are completed using the public Investment Budget.
4) That the Rumpi Project management should revisit the issue of certain unpaid allowances to researchers of IRAD Ekona for their eventual liquidation.
First Published in The Recorder Newspaper,Cameroon,May 23,2012