Liberia: Senate Confirms Ruth Collins as Public Works Minister

Ruth Coker- Collins

At long last, the Liberian Senate has confirmed Ruth Coker Collins as Public Works Minister, succeeding the late Mambutu Nyeanpan, under whom she once served as Deputy Minister. The late Minister was a former Senator for Sinoe County, and former chair of the Senate Committee on Public Works, during the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Coker served as acting Public Works Minister from 2020 till her confirmation.  Members of the Senate voted unanimously to confirm her after several Senators acknowledged receipt of a performance report from the Committee on Public Works and Rural Development chaired by Bomi County Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe. 

As a minister, Coker-Collins now has herculean tasks overseeing Liberia’s infrastructural sector, with emphasis on the country’s road network of approximately 13000km -- with the majority of them unpaved and in deplorable conditions -- especially during the wet season. ​Liberia has two wet seasons, which run very close together, one as the rains move north and a second as it moves south again. The wettest months are June and July, and September and October. August, generally, is a slightly drier month.

Also, the confirmation will serve as a boost to the infrastructure development of the country which is at the fulcrum of the Pro-poor Agenda For Prosperity and Development (PAPD) policy of the Weah-led administration.

The Senate had earlier resolved that committees should request a “performance report” from all officials re-nominated by President George Manneh Weah.  The Senate said the performance report will determine if the nominees deserve another chance to serve their country, based on their previous performances.  

Ahead of her confirmation, the Committee on Public Works said: “it is unprecedented but I will tell you that at least the entire Committee on Public Works at the Senate has confirmed you, you cleared the Committee 100% and from all indications, because your confirmation was an opened process and we did not just limit it to the Committee.”

The Senate has meanwhile, for the second time placed a “hold” on the confirmation of the Deputy Auditor-General for Audit Services-Designate, Winsley Nanka, at the General Auditing Commission (GAC).

The Senate took the decision based on the failure of the Joint Committee on Autonomous Commission and Agencies and Public Accounts and Audits to submit a performance report on the nominee.  Notwithstanding, the Committee has promised to provide a performance report to the Plenary for the nominee by June 27.