At long last, an agreement between steel giant Arcelor-Mittal and the Liberian Government for the pavement of the Ganta/Yekepa Road at the cost of a little over US$37 million was yesterday signed in Monrovia.
At the well-attended signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Public Works in Monrovia, various legislative committees and senior officials of the Ministry sounded a clarion call on the bid winner to carry out quality and durable works.
Many Liberians that attended the signing ceremony described the road agreement as a ‘land mark’ with Arcelor-Mittal and the Liberian Government in rural Liberia.
In remarks, Acting Public Works Minister Claude Langeley reminded Liberians that what matters to him most is for Liberians get the best value to the taxpayers’ money.
Minister Langeley pointed out that the Ganta/Yekepa Road should serve as a model for other vital road projects throughout the country.
The acting Public Works boss added that his tenure at that Ministry is to advance the capabilities of the Liberian contractors and the signed contract will ensure that a Liberian firm will partner with the current bid winner, the Company Sahelian Enterprise.
The Company Sahelian Enterprise (CSE) is a Senegalese firm which operates in engineering, civil engineering, construction of road infrastructure as well as sanitation in Senegal and around Africa. According to the company’s website, CSE was created in the 1970s by its current Director General, Sadio Sow Aliou, and won its first overseas contracts in 1981 with the construction of water projects in Mali, of paved roads in Sierra Leone, administrative buildings in Cameroon.
Langeley also promised that future contracts from the Liberian Government will ensure partnership with full fledged Liberian firms as some forms of socio-economic empowerment for Liberians in the country.
In an overview of the Ganta/Yekepa Road project, Program Director Emmanuel Baker of the Infrastructure Implementation Unit presented a comprehensive synopsis and pledged the participation of the MPW’s engineers aimed at ensuring due diligence.
Director Baker also disclosed that project would be carried out in several phases and completed within 24 months as construction works commences shortly in Nimba County.
He also intimated that the Ganta/Yekepa Road project is a 70-kilometer pavement initiative and forms part of the Liberian Government’s agenda for transformation aimed at ensuring all-weather roads in the country.
Director Baker also pointed out that ArcelorMittal Liberia, in partnership with the Liberian Government, had provided the sum of US$40 million for the Ganta/Yekepa Road project in Nimba County.
He further disclosed that the Liberian Government has also provided US$10 million towards the Ganta/Yekepa Road project as the part of its own commitment for the reconstruction of some vital parts of rural Liberia.
In a statement, Nimba County Senator Thomas Grupee reminded Liberians, particularly citizens and residents of Nimba County, that the road to Heaven is on many occasions very rocky and difficult.
Senator Grupee also pointed out that ArcelorMittal Liberia has always been with the people of Nimba in terms of solid and realistic development such the Ganta/Yekepa Road pavement project.
The Nimba County Senator also recalled that the Swedish/American steel company that operated the mount Nimba mines for several years and did not pave the 70-kilometer stretch road.
He further disclosed that due to the sensitive location of the only government-operated hospital, ArcelorMittal Liberia in partnership with the Liberian Government has committed itself to the relocation of the health facility.
In a special statement, the Senate Committee Chairman on concessions, Sando Johnson of Bomi County thanked ArcelorMittal Liberia for its many commitments to Liberians over the years.
Senator Johnson urged the contractor to prioritize Liberians in terms of recruitments and job placement during the implementation of the Ganta/Yekepa Road pavement project.
For his part, Senate Committee Chairman on Public Works Oscar Cooper underscored the need for the contractor to ensure that quality and durable works were carried on the road project.
Senator Cooper also stressed that the contractor and the Liberian Government ensure that Liberians are given preference for employment during the Ganta/Yekepa Road project.
In various statements during the signing ceremony, local officials of Nimba County and members of the legislative caucus extended thanks and appreciation to ArcelorMittal Liberia and the Liberian Government.