The deplorable condition of roads in the southeast of the country has prompted three Senators from the area to write the Senate plenary requesting an explanation on what happened to “a little over US$40 million collected from January to December 2016, purposely for the maintenance of the existing roads and construction of new ones.”
Senators H. Dan Morias of Maryland, J. Milton Teahjay of Sinoe, and Dr. Peter S. Coleman of Grand Kru counties, in their letter dated January 16, reminded their colleagues that over the last three rainy seasons, the people of Liberia residing in rural parts have experienced severe and inhumane hardships as a result of the impassable roads.
The lawmakers recalled that “the undesirable and unbearable” is particularly always visible in Lofa County and the southeastern region, adding, “Cognizant of this embarrassing scenario, the National Legislature through its joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget concurred with the Executive
Branch and passed into law ‘The Road Fund Act’ purposely for the maintenance of the existing roads and construction of new roads.”
The Senators’ letter read before Senate plenary yesterday during its 3rd Day Sitting, asserted that funds accrued from the storage of all petroleum products in the country have been deposited in a special escrow account, and that “from reliable information, a little over 40 million US dollars was collected from January to December 2016.”
The Senators recalled that although the dry season during which road rehabilitation takes place has gone midway, “to the best of our knowledge, no actual road rehabilitation has commenced in Lofa and the southeastern corridors.” They cautioned that given the unpredictable nature of the climate nowadays, they are afraid that any delay in the commencement of road rehabilitation has the propensity of subjecting their people to untold suffering during the ensuing rainy season.
With the availability of the required funding, the lawmakers see no reason why the Ministry of Public Works cannot move expeditiously to begin the rehabilitation of roads to avoid another humanitarian crisis occurring, especially in the southeastern region.
“It is in this light that we are requesting the Plenary to mandate the Committees on Public Works and Ways, Means, Finance and Budget to summon the Ministers of Public Works and Finance and Development Planning to give reasons for the delay in the utilization of the accrued funds and the
commencement of the rehabilitation of the affected road corridors.”
Following a motion proffered by Senator Conmany B. Wesseh of River Gee (a southeastern county), Senators agreed that “deplorable road condition” is a national crisis, and as such, the Committees’ work should include all of the country’s roads, instead of limiting it to a particular region.
Because of limited time, the committees were mandated to report to plenary within two weeks.
Meanwhile, Senators Oscar Cooper of Margibi County and George Manneh Weah of Montserrado returned to the Chamber of the Senate Tuesday for the first time since the Agriculture Break ended Monday, January 9, 2017.