The acting Minister of Public Works, Roland L. Giddings, has disclosed that Lofa, Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa counties will benefit from US$24 million provided by the United States government to assist in addressing some of their feeder road problems.
Roland Giddings, also Deputy Minister for Administration, said at the Ministry of Information regular press briefing in Monrovia that the project called “Feeder Road Alternative and Maintenance Program (FRAMP),” will benefit an estimated 100,000 rural dwellers and farmers in the targeted pilot regions by providing them access to markets and social services.
Liberia has over 8,000 roads that are called ‘dusty roads’ and during the heavy rainy season, it becomes difficult to carry out road maintenance on most of these roads, especially those in rural communities, said Minister Giddings.
This project, Minister Giddings said, is heavily focused on feeder roads, because access to markets and basic social services is crucial in the fight against poverty which the government is committed to address to create better living conditions for its people.
“Without roads, rural communities face obstacles obtaining basic services that improve their conditions. In addition, their ability to take advantage of crop production and employment opportunities is severely constrained,” Minister Giddings said.
Minister Giddings explained that, “We have what is referred to as ‘auto sealed,’ that will be used to fix some of our feeder roads to make them better than what we have, especially the dusty roads, so that they will not be penetrated by water anymore. We will be introducing the technology that will perform auto sealed on 50km of selected feeder roads in the four counties out of the 450km of roads.”
Minister Giddings said by using ‘auto sealed,’ roads will stay intact for more than five years, depending on how the road is being used, without needing further maintenance.
The Minister explained that despite the conditions of the roads nationwide, the government has made some progress in addressing or fixing some of the roads, but that their completion would take years, considering the financial constraints faced by the government.
“The government is moving a step ahead and setting up what is called a ‘Road Fund’ to be able to address the issue of road maintenance across the country. We want to have an exclusive fund to enable the government to maintains its roads, both feeder and primary roads. This will be a separate account from the national budget for our road maintenance,” Minister Giddings stressed.
He praised organizations that have been helping the Liberian government to ensure that some of the road problems are addressed.
Meanwhile, Minister Giddings said the Ministry is gearing up to create a road agency, which will be autonomous, and will exclusively deal with road maintenance.