Businesspeople in the commercial town of Ganta have expressed dissatisfaction over treatment received from land owners owing to resettlement benefit received from the World Bank for road construction from Paynesville Red Light to the Guinea-Liberia border.
A number of business people in Ganta who spoke to the Daily Observer over the weekend said resettlement packages given them were seized by land owners, from whom they are renting, leaving them with the obligation to use their own money to reconstruct demolished shops and stores.
An operator of the City Promoter Business Center was heard saying, “Of the US$11,000 given for this place, land owners who are all in the United States asked that the money be transferred there. We have to beg to express the need for reconstructing the building before they can release $3,000 which is not even enough to reconstruct this place.”
Others also complained that their structures were not fairly appraised by the resettlement team, thus causing them to receive money far less than the values of their structures.
Despite the stress, the business entrepreneurs and other local residents in Ganta expressed joy that the construction of the road has a long-term positive impact.
According to them, they have over the years been taking about seven to eight hours from Ganta to Monrovia, but now they take less than four hours even though all parts of the road have not been connected.
“We know that when the road is completed, Ganta will have a new look and it will take us less hours to get to Monrovia and back, and therefore we will swallow the bitter pills for the sake of development,” a business owner said while breaking down his structures.
Tremendous work is ongoing along the Monrovia- Ganta Highway. CHICO, a Chinese road construction company that began from Gbarnga, has now reached Ganta and making its way to the to the Guinea-Liberia border .
CHICO is praised by travelers is a very fast road construction company. Local residents told this paper that Nimba County District #1 Representative Jeremiah Koung asked, in agreement with the view of Public Works Minister Gyude Moore, that part of the road entering Ganta and extending to the Guinea border be widened so that there would be no problem with trucks and other vehicles passing by one another.
This led the road construction company to widen the road from the JW Pearson campus to the Guinea border, causing more structures to be affected.
Between Monrovia and Gbarnga, CICO is also working vigorously to connect the road, and constructing a major bridge between Bong and Margibi Counties.
The construction of the road from Red Light to Ganta is a World Bank project and was expected to be completed in 2015. However, it was stalled because of the Ebola crisis in 2014 which retarded the progress of most development activities in Liberia.
This road is one of Liberia’s major highways that has been in deplorable condition over the years. Its reconstruction will not only give facelift to Liberia’s infrastructure, but will ease the burden associated with cost of transportation between the hinterland and Monrovia.