The Senate Committee on Transport has unanimously confirmed Madam Angela Cassell-Bush as Minister of Transport, Republic of Liberia.
Minister Bush will replace outgoing Transport Minister, Mr. Tonorlah Varpilah, pending submission of the Senate’s confirmation proceedings to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Cassell-Bush, outgoing Deputy Minister for Expenditure and Debt Management at the Ministry of Finance, has vast public sector experience working previously at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During her confirmation hearing, the incoming Transport Minister outlined a seven-point plan of action to be undertaken in six months, starting with what she called “series of inter-agency reviews to assist us better understand the structural, policy, legal and technical challenges facing the sector.”
She said, on assuming office, she would initiate a scheme for effective coordination amongst agencies within the sector.
“Along these lines, we will work to activate the national transport policy and strategy implementation steering Committee chaired by the Ministry of Transport and co-chaired by both GIZ and Ministry of Public Works with the National Port Authority (NPA), National Transit Authority (NTA), Roberts International Airport (RIA) serving as members,” she told the Senate Committee.
Madam Bush said, as the sector Minister, her team would work with relevant stakeholders to review the status of reconstruction works at the Roberts International Airport, “particularly our airport runway, in light of the current crisis.”
Given the potential resource problems that would arise as a result of the current Ebola crisis, she told the Committee her team would focus more energy on soft projects such as the setting up of the one stop shop, developing policy manuals, strengthening the internal control framework and capacity development.
“We intend to expeditiously fast-track the drafting and submission for your consideration “Axle Road and Public Safety Laws” currently under stakeholder review and advisement,” she concluded.
Analysts welcomed Madam Bush’s confirmation by the Liberian Senate and expressed the hope that the new Minister of Transport will also seek to immediately address the hike in transportation fare by drivers.
Transport fares have nearly double as a result of the Ebola epidemic which has forced the government to adopt a safety measure that requires drivers to take only three in the back seat. The government’s decision is intended to minimize commuters coming in close contact with each other, a major mode by which the Ebola virus can be contracted, health officials say.