The Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Boima S. Kamara, along with other senior government officials of the ministry, on Wednesday, July 12 toured the ongoing major renovation of the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
The renovation and expansion include extensive works on the runway and the erection of a new, modern terminal along with road stations, parking lots, sewage treatment system, electricity systems and other major key components at the airport.
Minister Kamara, who spoke yesterday at the RIA after the tour, praised the courageous leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who he said braved the storm to ensure that the rebuilding of the airport becomes a reality.
During the tour, the MFDP boss lauded the head of the China Harbor Company, the Sinohydro Construction Company, as well as the management of the Roberts International Airport headed by Mr. Wil Bako Freeman and staff, for the tremendous efforts and level of work done since the commencement of the project.
Commending the “one team approach” being used, the Finance Minister said, “we want to say the horizon is bright and we now see a beam of hope. We shall all be well, God shall keep us to see this dream come true. We shall live it, experience it and be a part of it when the final completion work is done and be dedicated.”
The project when completed will indeed be a major boost to Liberia’s economic development.
A representative of the China Harbor Contractors indicated that more than 125 Liberians (four of them engineers trained at the Tubman University in Maryland County) were hired to join other contractors from China to work as a team in order to deliver the task given them by the Government of Liberia.
The managing director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), Wil Bako Freeman, also said that there are too many things that need to be done to improve the airport facilities, “but right now, we are trying to focus on two—the runway and the terminal.”
He said, “The reason we are trying to undertake these projects at the airport is to ensure that under my administration, RIA becomes one of the best and most modernized airports. Many of us travel every day and see other airports in different countries, we get quite embarrassed, especially when we think of our own back home—the RIA, that needs to be improved and standardized.”
Meanwhile, the runway project is being financed by several international banks to the tune of US$60 million. They include the European Investment Bank, US$27 million; the Saudi Fund, US$20 million; the Arab Bank for Development in Africa, US$10 million; and the government of Liberia, US$3 million. The runway project will take four years to complete.