Following a deliberation before the Senate Committee on Public Works on Thursday, February 15, 2016, the Liberian Senate on Friday, February 16, unanimously voted to confirm Mobutu V. Nyenpan as Public Works Minister along with his deputy for Technical Services and Assistant Minister for Administration.
Two weeks ago, President Weah nominated Mr. Nyenpan to the post of Public Works Minister pending confirmation by the Senate.
The confirmation took place at a special Senate session at the Capitol Building. In what the public described as one of the best confirmation hearings, the new Infrastructure Minister promised to institute a robust zero-tolerance attitude towards violators of zoning regulations and those engaged in construction activities without obtaining the requisite permits from the Ministry.
“We will demolish structures that are deliberately built in alleys, waterways contrary to zoning regulations and city planning,” he warned.
He further told the Committee that his leadership will transform Public Works into a technical ministry by placing a special premium on Engineers, architects, and surveyors at the Ministry, adding, the Ministry of Public Works shall be the Ministry of Engineers, for engineers and by engineers with support from auxiliary employees.
In addition to empowering engineers, the Works Minister also promised to seek the welfare of all workers at the Ministry of Public Works and create an enabling environment to reap maximum productivity.
As part of his initial strategy, the civil engineer and outspoken Southeastern Politician stated that he will immediately redeploy all of the county resident engineers to their respective counties of assignment.
Speaking about Public Private Partnership (PPP), Minister Nyenpan said his administration will also seek a renewed partnership with the Association of Liberian Construction Contractors as well as the Engineering Society of Liberia and the Chambers of Architects and Surveyors.
According to him, his administration will give priority to Liberian construction contractors and dedicate resources to the building of their capacity so as to enable them fairly compete with other companies in the industry.”
The Sinoe County former senator was however quick to inform his former colleagues that he will perform his duty in line with President Weah’s “pro-poor government” policy.
Meanwhile, Mobutu Nyenpan has assured legislators of unhindered access to his administration.
“We shall appoint two desk officers in the Community Services Department of the ministry, exclusively dedicated to receiving and processing for the prompt response, all queries and concerns from 1) Individual Legislators and or the Legislature and 2) from the communities. All issues will be handled in a timely manner,” he said.
He noted that as a former lawmaker, he was aware that Legislators sometimes have vested interests in the implementation of infrastructural projects in their constituencies.
Hence, experience has taught him that occasionally Legislators get frustrated when their concerns or complaints about infrastructural development are left unattended in a timely manner.
He, therefore, pledged that Legislators will find in him a reliable partner for infrastructural development in Liberia, noting that his leadership will be sensitive and responsive to the infrastructure concerns of members of the National Legislature.
The former Sinoe County Senator told the committee that, while his administration will do everything possible to satisfy the Legislators, he too expect them to reciprocate by giving him the necessary support in terms of budgetary allocation consistent with law, adding President Weah’s “pro-poor” governance policy will be meaningless if infrastructural development programs are not adequately funded to address them.
He concluded by promising to uphold President Weah’s “pro-poor agenda” in the execution of his infrastructure duty.
Mobutu Nyenpan comes to the job with lots of experience and qualifications. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, LLB in Law and a Master’s degree in International Relations.
He has worked as a civil engineer both in the public and private sectors. He served in key senior managerial and administrative capacities at government agencies including the Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation (LWSC), and the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC).
Prior to his nomination as Public Works Minister, Mr. Nyenpan served in the Senate for nine consecutive years as the senior Senator for Sinoe County and served as the chairman of the Committee on Public Works. Also at the Senate, he had represented the legislature to the ECOWAS Parliament, where he served on its Infrastructure Committee.