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Minister Gauges Works on Ring Road, Others 

By Divine Ntaryike Jr

CameroonPostline.com — Public Works Minister, Patrice Ambasala, has decided to subject himself to the generally horrendous travel conditions faced by dwellers in various parts of the country. 

The four-region tour kick-started Tuesday, April 17 offers occasion for him to assess the progress and quality of unfurling and looming road construction and rehabilitation projects dictated by President Paul Biya earlier this year.

It is in those regards that Minister Ambasala decided to ride the entire length of the North West Ring Road Wednesday, April 18.  The heavily-escorted public works boss meandered along the 360km-long road loop from the regional capital Bamenda, through Kumbo, Nkambe, Wum and back.

The Ring Road has unswervingly stood tall among the demands of natives of the North West Region.  But decades of promises of its actual construction, typically voiced on the eve of elections have repeatedly paled as soon as the governing CPDM party emerged winners.

President Paul Biya himself earned thunderous plaudits at the commemoration of 50 years of Cameroon’s independence in Bamenda in 2010 when he announced the imminent construction of the road.  But two years later, highly expectant north-westerners are being treated to a mere partial tarring of the Ndop-Babessi-Kumbo stretch.

“We are going to see the section of the Ring Road on which works have begun with the contractor called SOGEA SATOM.  We want to see if things are moving on correctly there.  And also, we have opened a road going to Furu Awah.  Sure, it’s an earth road but we want to see because we have a bridge to build there,” Minister Ambasala told the state-owned CRTV.

The Ring Road segment being macadamized will gulp some 25 billion FCFA worth of public funds.  Elsewhere, an access road to Lake Nyos also currently under constructed will be inspected.  But elite of the region remain unsatisfied.  “What does it cost the government to tar the entire Ring Road once and for all after all these years of fake promises?  We of the region conclude that NW CPDM scribe want it that way so they can use it to canvass for votes at election time.  But you cannot fool all the people all the time,” Elvis Ngala, a native of Ndu based in Douala argued.

However, Minister Ambasala seemed to disagree.  “Studies have been made and we can now sign contracts for the rehabilitation of sections of those roads.  It’s the same for the Mbalmayo-Ebolowa, Yaoundé-Ebolowa and also Garoua-Ngaoundere roads,” he said.  Earlier this year, President Biya announced the disbursement of 100 billion FCFA from state coffers as special grants for the emergency construction and rehabilitation of major road links nationwide.

From the NW region, with its 270km of tarred roads, 710km earth roads and over 3,500km of rural roads, Minister Ambasala is expected to travel to the SW region via the Bamenda-Batibo-Nomba corridor of the Bamenda-Ekok-Enugu Transnational Highway for the same purpose.  “We’re going to assess works on the Mamfe-Ekok road; how difficult is the next section which we have to plan for next year and the next budget,” he said.

South West Regional Delegate for Public Works, Denis Ndang says Chinese contractors are making progress on the 60km Bachuo-Akagbe-Nomba segment to guzzle some 42 billion FCFA, as well as on the Bachuo- Akaagbe-Mamfe-Ekok stretch estimated to cost 50 billion FCFA from separate funding.  Meantime, circulation across the region remains a nightmare.  Travelers from Buea to Akwaya, for example pass through Nigeria.

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