President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said that all the positive things that are happening in the country are becoming realities because the Liberian people agreed for them to happen and such progress under the Unity Party government belongs to Liberians.
Officially dedicating the newly paved Gbarnga-Ganta-Guinea border road in Ganta, Nimba County on Monday, President Sirleaf said infrastructure developments are dividends of Liberians’ confidence in the UP government, making mention of the over ten years of uninterrupted peace, which has enabled the government to carry on development initiatives.
“To you the people of Nimba, the people of Bong, and the people of Liberia, let me say, the progress we have made belongs to you” President Sirleaf said amidst applause.
She called on the citizens of Nimba and Bong Counties to take ownership of the road, which is intended to improve access, ensure regional integration, and economic cooperation amongst the four Mano River Union (MRU) member countries.
She indicated that the government decided to engage its partners for the construction of the road because when completed it will improve trade and foster economic activities.
She lauded all the stakeholders and development partners that ensured the implementation of the road project. The President was impressed with the level of cooperation among the MRU countries.
Numerous speakers, including lawmakers, superintendents and others, lauded President Sirleaf for the numerous development initiatives, especially infrastructure, accomplished by her government.
Public Works Minister, William Gyude Moore, said road connectivity across Liberia remains a major priority for the government, adding that through collaboration with partners, feasibility studies are ongoing for the design and pavement of the Sanniquellie to Loguatuo road, which leads to the Ivorian border.
He disclosed that construction works are currently taking place for the pavement of an 11km road between Ganta and Yekepa. Touching on the roads in the southeast Minister Moore said the first 50km road between Harper to Karloken is being worked out while work on the remaining 30 km from Karlokeh to Fish Town road will commence by December 2016.
Many high-profile personalities from government, the Diplomatic Corps, the private sector and others, including a high powered delegation from neighboring Guinea, whose President Alpha Conde was extended an official invitation, attended the ceremony.
Though President Conde could not make it due to other pressing engagements, he was represented by the Minister of State and Advisor to the President, Alhaji Ousmane Bah.
Minister Bah lauded President Sirleaf for the honor to participate in the dedicatory ceremony of the Gbarnga to Guinea border road project.
He conveyed to President Sirleaf warmest congratulations from President Conde for the landmark achievement which, according to him, brings the neighboring countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’ Ivoire closer while opening up Liberia to a large extent.
He said with the completion of the road, it will be possible for citizens of both countries to travel across Guinea and Liberia, particularly from Monrovia to Nzerekore on paved road, adding, “road is always a symbol for users and local population.” Mr. Bah assured President Sirleaf that the pavement of the Guinea side of the border would get underway soon.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works, Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper, urged the Minister of Transport to engage transport unions to ensure that transportation fares are reduced as the cost of gasoline and fuel has declined and the new road now shortens travel time.
Meanwhile, the road is almost 70 kilometers in length at the cost of over US$70 million. The project, which commenced on May 8, 2013, was designed for a period of 20 years, and it will be under the maintenance period of 8 years by CHICO.
It was financed through the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund (LRTF) and the government of Liberia (GOL). Funding partners included World Bank, European Union, Norway/NORAD, Germany/KfW, United Kingdom, Sweden, amongst others. The design, rehabilitation and maintenance of the road started from Gbarnga-Jor Bridge via Ganta to the Guinean border.