Nizar Baraka: 46% of this year’s road budget spent on maintenance

The Minister of Equipment and Water, Nizar Baraka, affirmed on Monday that the establishment of spatial justice at the level of road programs is at the center of government priorities.

Justice… space

In his response to an oral question on the “achievement of spatial justice through road programs”, Baraka pointed out that “work is currently underway within the framework of the National Infrastructure Plan for 2040, on several aspects, essentially aimed at linking the regions by motorways, particularly with the new Investment Charter”. This “opens up prospects for supporting remote provinces by allowing them access to the highway and the expressway”, he explained.

The new Investment Charter, it should be remembered, was approved on October 18, 2022, by the House of Representatives. It aims in particular at objectives, namely the creation of permanent jobs, the reduction of disparities between the provinces and the prefectures of the Kingdom in the attraction of investments, the orientation of investments towards priority sectors and jobs of the future, improving the business climate and facilitating the investment process.

The Minister also noted that the programs relating to the opening up of the rural world and the reduction of spatial disparities have made significant progress. They will thus be evaluated at the end of their implementation, the same for the modernization program of the road network and its adaptation to traffic, but also its improvement through road maintenance, he said. Baraka specified, in this regard, that a total of 17,000 kilometers has been accomplished.

On this subject, Baraka had declared last month that “the strategies and programs put in place to improve the situation of the roads, in this case, in the rural world, have enabled the Kingdom to succeed in the challenge of opening up several areas”, recalling that the National Rural Roads Program has contributed to the completion of 26,000 km, and therefore automatically to the opening up of 79% of these rural areas.

Asked by the Istiqlalian group “For Unity and Egalitarianism” about “road maintenance”, more specifically concerning roads that do not yet meet safety standards, Baraka pointed out that 46% of the road budget reserved for this year is dedicated specifically to maintenance, noting that a program has been set up in this regard to improve the condition of the road network. Baraka recalled in this regard that 62% of the roads are in fair to good condition, thus announcing that his department aims to achieve, initially, a rate of 67% of “good roads” by the end of 2023. The aforementioned program has was established in this direction, he specified, and this, to remedy certain problems, especially those relating to the “dangerous” road network to which priority was given, then those relating to degraded roads.

Regarding the question on the “connection of some regions by the highway”, posed by the group of Progress and Socialism, Baraka affirmed that his department is preparing a study to connect the cities of Marrakech and Fez via Beni- Melal. And to add: “The construction of an expressway between the cities of El Hajeb and Rissani is in progress, with a length of 405 km at first”, adding that this project will make it possible to connect the two cities to the Rabat-Meknes-Fez Oujda highway.

New law for drinking water distribution associations

The minister affirmed that his department is in the process of preparing a law which organizes the associations responsible for the distribution of drinking water in rural areas. This text will be promulgated like the law on cooperatives and agricultural associations, Baraka said in response to an oral question from the group of the National Rally of Independents, in the House of Representatives.

In this regard, Baraka pointed out that 1,206 agreements, the majority of which relate to the regions of Fez-Meknes, Marrakech-Safi and Souss-Massa, have been signed between these associations and the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE), which will thus be in charge of training, technical support and the necessary follow-up, in order to allow these associations to fully play their role.

As a reminder, the Kingdom had obtained an index of 4.5/7 with regard to the quality of road infrastructure, according to data from the latest ranking of the World Economic Forum. Morocco has carved out a place in the top 5 in the MENA region. According to the latest report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), Morocco recorded a score of 4.5, thus ranking in the same category as countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

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Nizar Baraka: 46% of this year’s road budget spent on maintenance

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