The Senate has received for ratification a loan agreement in the amount of US$27.3 million between the Government of Liberia and the European Development Bank for the rehabilitation of the Roberts International Airport (RIA) runway.
According to the instrument read before plenary Tuesday, the estimated cost of the entire RIA modernization and rehabilitation project is US$60.3 million, and the Government of Liberia has concluded arrangements for the project to be financed by several means.
The institutions financing the project include the Saudi Fund for Development, US$20 million; Arab Bank for Economic Development for Africa, US$10 million; the Government of Liberia, US$3 million, and credit from the European Investment Development Bank, US$27.3 million.
According to a letter from President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to the Liberian Senate, the project will be implemented by the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA).
Most specifically, President Sirleaf informed the Senate that the project concerns the urgent rehabilitation of the airport’s runway, which she said is in a very poor condition, and will focus on the improvement of the drainage system, construction of the runway, and improvement of the runway lightning system.
The project also includes the provision of assorted items of operational and safety-related airport equipment; to include among other things, fire tenders, ambulances, firefighting equipment, forklifts, conveyor-belt loaders, passengers’ stairs and passenger buses.
“Mr. President Pro Tempore, you will agree with me that prompt action needs to be taken to upgrade and rehabilitate our nation’s only international airport, and a critical piece of national infrastructure to international standard. In view of the above, I ask for the ratification of this loan agreement,” President Sirleaf concluded.
In a motion on the communication, Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais moved that given the financial overtures of the document, “and given the precedent when we sat last, I will suggest that if the outcome of the committee that will review the document will again submit to the national Legislature (Senate), that it be sent to the House of Representatives in order to expedite this matter, because these loans are extremely important for the Republic of Liberia; I will seek that we expedite the process by permitting it to start from the Lower House.”
But proffering a motion to defeat that of Senator Morais, Grand Kru Senator Peter S. Coleman moved that the instrument be received and constitute a first reading, and that it be sent to the Committees on Judiciary, Transport, Ways and Means, and that those Committees report back to plenary within two weeks time.
Senator Coleman’s motion was passed.