Public Works Minister Seeks Partnership with Financial Institutions to Address Road Challenge

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Stakeholders at the program marking the mid-Term Review of the 2020/2021 Annual Road Maintenance Expenditure Program and Recast of ARMEP Budget and financing of road works by local financial institutions.

Liberia’s Acting Public Works Minister and chairperson of the Interministerial Steering Committee (IMSC), Ruth Coker-Collins, says the road sector remains seriously challenged and there is a need for stakeholders of the sector to collaborate in addressing it.

Minister Coker-Collins made the remarks during the program marking the mid-Term Review of the 2020/2021 Annual Road Maintenance Expenditure Program and Recast of ARMEP Budget and financing of road works by local financial institutions held Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at the Farmington Hotel in Margibi County.

The program brought together Boniface D. Satu, head of the National Road Fund Office, Varney Sirleaf of the Internal Affairs Ministry, Transport Minister Samuel Wlue, Monie Captan of Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), John Davies of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), and Cornelius Nagbe Poney of International Bank (IB) amongst others.

Mrs. Coker-Collins said the meeting was aimed at reassuring stakeholders of the sector and the need to work together with commitment in transforming the sector.

She believes that the road sector is challenged but is at the same time strongly optimistic that working together can help to address the problems appropriately.

One major problem confronting Liberia’s economic activities is roads. Most of the roads in the country are unpaved, and during the rainy season, they all become deplorable and inaccessible to vehicles thus resulting in skyrocketing prices of commodities for people in the interior and other coastal areas that have bad roads. So far only three roads are well paved in Liberia now; the roads from Cotton Tree to Buchanan, Coca Cola Factory to the Guinea border in Nimba County, and the long-lasting Babangida Highway leading from Bomi to Bo Waterside in Grand Cape Mount County. Most existing roads in Monrovia had received surface dressing while some have been paved by past and current administrations.

In the hinterland, road pavements are ongoing between River Gee and Maryland, and from Ganta to Yekepa in Nimba County. In Monrovia, the Somalia Drive Road and the Parker Paint-ELWA corridor are undergoing construction with several community roads built.

According to the Acting Public Works Minister, the challenges faced in the Liberian road sector can only be addressed through networking, stating “We can achieve this by coordinating as contractors are now unable to complete their work on time.” Most of the road works in Liberia are contracted to companies; both foreign and local. Major among foreign companies constructing roads here are the Chinese companies CICO and CHICO. 

“We want to say thanks to our contractors for their commitment to the Ministry of Public Works and to the Interministerial Steering Committee. We have also invited your financial institutions and banks for us to network together to see how best we can build our roads,” Mrs. Coker-Collins said.

Transport Minister Samuel Wlue called on stakeholders during the meeting to take advantage of the three-day discussion to ensure that recommendations and suggestions from there are used from positive impact on the sector in the future.

“We all understand the difficulties and challenges the institution experienced last year, and it’s my hope that as we review our budget and look at our policies, we can all come to a win-win situation,” Mr. Wlue said.

Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf said it is important for everyone to understand some of the challenges contractors face in getting the work done.

“If you have a contract duly signed by the government for execution and the banks are skeptical to finance, the project will stall. We want to assure the banks that the Government’s approach going forward will be different because President George M. Weah is eager to see roads in the 15 counties,” Mr. Sirleaf said.

He said no one will develop Liberia other than Liberians, and it is important to foster partnership especially where the government is prepared for road connectivity.

Boniface D. Satu, head of the National Road Fund, lauded stakeholders for expressing the hope that everything will be done to address challenges facing road connectivity across the country.

He said the World Bank, African Development Bank and the Millennium Challenge Corporation have been helping the National Road Fund especially logistical support and information technology system.

“The African Development Bank has ensured that we have all the computers needed, vehicles, marketing and branding and cash to support the road fund,” Mr. Satu said.

Meanwhile, day one of the discussion focused on presentation by financial institutions, including United Bank for Africa (UBA), International Bank (IB), EcoBank, Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI).

2 COMMENTS

  1. In this day and age, Liberia needs leaders who are innovative, enterprising, hardworking, and patriotic. Our cabinet ministers, heads of public corporations, and even the police officer on the streets (on the beat), or our immigration officers guiding our national borders, need to put more into the responsibilities entrusted to their care. The president appointed you to these positions so that you will give him the best advice in the area you head in order to move the country forward! He trust you as a problem solver and someone who is patriotic and enterprising to face challenges and bring practical solutions to his attention on these challenges and for progress.

    Our Ministers of Public Works, Internal Governments, Education, Agriculture, Health and Social Welfare, Transportation, Commerce Ministries, etc, should not be sitting in Monrovia. They should be in the field, touring the counties, in their respective areas of work, so that they can bring first hand information, that is trustworthy, to the president in their next cabinet meetings for serious discussions.

    Maryland is not hinterland, River Gee is not hinterland, Grand Gedeh, is not hinterland, Grand Kru is not hinterland. They are all situated in the HEARTLAND of our beloved republic. The citizens that live in these localities need to see and touch the people who represent them in the Legislature, not only during time for elections, but throughout the year. They also need to see and touch the cabinet Ministers the president appointed to take care of their needs, so that they will share their concerns.

    Be proactive and find solutions to problems where your predecessor may have not been able to. You cannot see problems in situ (in the areas where they exist) just by sitting behind a desk in Monrovia! You cannot help the president solve the nation’s problems just by driving flashy SUVs with tainted windows around Monrovia. Go out and meet the people you serve where they live.

    It is common sense that brought about the invention of the monetary system. Money never created common sense. I applauded Representative Fonati Koffa, few days ago, when he proposed a common sense solution to the mounting road issue that is a major impediment in the southeastern heartland of Liberia. I do not know how far his proposal will go in the legislative branch of the government, but it is a smart move. If we cannot solve seemingly big problems with big money, let us begin small with what we can afford and carry on from there.

    Yes, as citizens, we can point fingers and blame the chief executive and his major lieutenant, the Vice President, when things are not moving in the right direction. We also have to point our fingers at those citizens, CDC or people of the opposition, for their inability to produce, especially when they are entrusted with major national responsibilities.

    Cabinet Ministers of the national government, you are the chief advisors to the president in areas where he appointed you. You are the chief expert in your ministry, and he has to listen to your advice in each cabinet meeting. If he doesn’t, then you are not worth the seat you sit in at your ministry.

  2. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
    Look no further than the leadership of the political parties in that country. Look no further than that.
    George is half a billionaire, who heads his personal political party, CDC. Businessman Musa Billity heads the Liberty Political Party. He’s too is half a billionaire. ANC Cummings multimillionaire, the notorious Senator Prince Johnson alone constructing a four million US dollars college, a millionaire, Mr. Urey, a wealthy businessman millionaire, Unity Party leader, also a wealthy businessman, a millionaire. All by Liberia’s standard.
    Afraid to tax them to pay more than their fair share to develop their own country, while sitting on all that wealth, and looking across the ocean horizon for foreign investors to construct roads? That country made them and other citizens like Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the notorious criminal Senator Varney Sherman who they are. And you looking for “Partnership” from where ? Across the ocean ?
    You Have Got To Be Silly.
    If James Davis was to laugh, Mr. Hney will say that is not funny. It is not funny at all.
    But the land and its people are nothing but God Forsaken People full of Greed ! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! What A Country ? What A Country ?

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