Budget Allocation for Bad Southeast Roads?

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A common sight of a bad road in Southeastern Liberia

— Deputy Speaker Koffa commits to lobby for appropriation

Deputy Speaker Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa says he will vigorously lobby in the next three years of CDC-led government with his colleagues to ensure budgetary allocation to fix the bad roads in the Southeast. He said he will commit himself to aggressively push for budgetary allocation to address the major challenge of road connectivity in the Southeast.

The newly elected Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives stated with the estimated cost of a mile of road construction at US$1 million, which amounts to at least US$50 million for 50 miles, will be lobbied for to be inculcated in each fiscal annual budget.

“We cannot wait for the big loan estimated at US$100 million to address the long-time road challenge in the Southeast,” Deputy Speaker Koffa averred.

According to his calculation, given the long stretch of road, US$50 million can be directed to the road initiative to tackle 50 miles annually with the total of US$150 million budget for three years to construct 150 miles of roads.

In his first interview as Deputy Speaker on ELBC/LNTV on Monday, the Grand Kru County District #2 Representative pointed out that it will be significant progress for the country’s development drive, especially in the area of roads when fully supported and implemented, and a key development focus of President George M. Weah.

Rep. Koffa intoned that when the road is constructed, it will help facilitate economic growth while improving local capacity, work and business opportunities, and livelihoods.

Liberia has a lack of reliable roads, especially in the Southeast, which comprises the five of the remotest counties: Sinoe, River Gee, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru and Maryland.

The southeast road is impassable due to seasonal heavy rains, and thus affecting the nation’s economic growth, as it prevents rural communities from accessing essential products and public services, such as education, healthcare, water, and markets to sell crops and goods.

Speaker Bhofal Chambers and Deputy Speaker J. Fonati Koffa

Sometimes due to lack of maintenance, the Southeast road can be difficult to travel on in the dry season and, the succeeding rainy season, it can be nearly impossible.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker Koffa intimated that the common interest of the Liberian people will top his Legislative agenda as second in command at the House of Representatives.

He said even though the debates will be more robust on issues of national concerns with different political ideologies, the people’s interest will remain paramount with the collective contributions of Speaker Bhofal Chambers and members of the 54th National Legislature.

The Grand Kru County lawmaker said he is committed to renew Legislative commitment to his district, county and country in the discharge of his duties as per his new portfolio owing to his competence, wealth of experience and effectiveness.

He however frowned at the fact that there are hundreds of Ghanaians who are engaged in illegal mining in the county and is suggesting strict measures.

The Deputy Speaker said hundreds of Ghanaians entered Grand Kru and other coastal counties via canoe, which is becoming a serious problem. He expressed his frustrations over the influx of illegal and foreign miners in the county and the inability of officers of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) to curtail the miners because of numerical strength.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Only 24% or about $130 million of the national budget of $540 million is available for non-recurrent expenditures. You can’t build a lot roads with that small amount so you would have to borrow or get grants from developed countries. Weah says he’s building roads but those roads it seems are not connected to some national development plan. With limited capital, it would make sense to use that capital to build roads in parts of the country that will have maximum economic impact. Is the government doing that?

  2. The GOL’s budget is always a proforma one? In other words it is a list which the congress sees as itemized priorities that the GOL needs to tackle over a prescribed period of time and bring to fruition. Nevertheless, the issue then becomes whether the capital is available.

    And as usual, the answer is always no because the fulfillment of the budget is contingent or dependent on many external factors. And prominent among some of these factors are: donations from foreign countries, inflow of funds from foreign direct investment, keeping the domestic peace, exhibiting the traits for good governance through the prudent use of the nation’s wealth, and so forth.

    Monies collected from the internal revenues also makeup a good chunk of the budget during the budget forecast. However, the nation is wondering now about the state of such revenues since the brutal murders of the four Liberian Revenue Agency (LRA) accountants. With these accountants, who were seen by the government as the major impediment in stopping Weah and his CDC thugs from looting the public revenues no longer alive, who is now in their stead to ensure that government revenues are actually part of the budgetary preparations? Anybody’s guess?

    This factor is compounded more by the good governance issues which I mention above, massive corruption, and serious human rights violations! This situation continuously portrays Liberia to the world and its donors to assume a wait-and-see attitude before dumping money into the country because it is not stable and its government is very brutal.

    Under these circumstances, Liberia’s budget always remains a largely proforma one. The money is not always there to undertake major developments.

  3. It is no-brainer that the road conditions in Liberia have to be addressed squarely if the gross domestic product of Liberia will be drastically improved. Exhibit A of the bad roads that are grossly undermining the productivity of the Liberian people is the road condition in the Southeastern region of the nation. It is commendable that Rep. Koffa is addressing this issue because the resuscitation of the national economy depends on the connectivity and quality of the national road network. This will be the impetus for productivity throughout the country. His county, Grand Kru, is the most affected county.

    The unique contribution that Grand Kru and the rest of the southeastern region can make to the national economy cannot be actualized until a viable land transportation system is put in place. It has been paid the least attention to by the national government since its formation in 1985. For Liberia to improve its economy, it has to spend money in order make money.

    However, there are two caveats to the issues raised in this article: 1) Management of the funds that the representative is seeking from the coffers of the national government for the road project, 2) The issue he raised that some foreigners are desecrating the national treasures in Grand Kru by carrying out gold-digging rampage! The first caveat should address a proper management of the annual USD$50 Mil. Since it is tax payers money, the people in the region should have a say how the money is managed and expended. So that, at the end of each year, a fifty-mile road and its quality will be assessed by the citizens in the region and the national government.

    The second caveat is the digging of gold, and who knows what other natural resources, in Grand Kru by some foreigners. Where is the local government, the county superintendent, commissioners, etc? How are they communicating with their senators and representatives in the legislature about this problem? They need money for roads, hospitals, schools, etc. Where will the money come from when outsiders are taking away their valuable resources with impunity? If these officials do not have a hand in these rogued gold mines, something drastic should be done to put immediate stop to this. NO LIBERIAN OR GROUP OF LIBERIANS WILL BE ALLOWED TO GO ON THE RAMPAGE TO DIG GOLD IN GHANA OR ANY OTHER COUNTRY WITH IMPUNITY!

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