Acting Public Works Minister, Ruth Coker Collins has called on citizens to work together collectively in maintaining major feeder roads in communities.
Minister Collins said the role of the community is cardinal to safeguarding these roads that were built with taxpayers’ money. According to her, with the involvement of Community Based Organizations (CBOs), more can be done. “For example, when we build a road and complete it; then after one to two years the whole road starts to spoil. This is due to the lack of proper maintenance,” she said.
The Public Works Minister made the call on September 7, 2021, in Totota, Bong County when the Ministry and the new Swedish Ambassador to Liberia, Urban Sjöström paid a special visit to the Motorcycle track project site in the County.
The Motorcycle track project is being supported by the Government of Sweden and other partners. “We want to thank all of our partners, GIZ and community leaders including our hard-working contractors,” Minister Collins said. She, however, described the ongoing motorcycle track project as a great achievement in the history of the ordinary people especially those in the rural part of that County.
She said the Ministry has observed with a keen note that CBOs are important and as such, they thought to bring CBOs onboard so that they could be a help to do more together. According to the Minister, when this project is completed, it will help to transport their agricultural produce to the main city. “This means our farm-to-road market will be open,” she added.
Minister Collins said; “It may look small in the eyes of others, but if we were to calculate paying contractors, it is a lot of money. We have been working together for a long time and we feel so impressed by the level of job that you have done over the years.” She commended the Swedish Ambassador and described the government of Sweden as a giant in opening and maintaining Feeder roads in Liberia. She said because of the Swedish government’s enormous role that it has played, many Feeder roads were paved.
She also commended President George M. Weah, who according to her was able to put about 1million dollars annually in the budget for CBOs. “That means the CBOs will be expanded and we are cognizant of the fact that our people need to be part of the process.”
The visit of the Swedish Ambassador to the county was intended to recommit the Swedish government’s support to Liberia. The Motorcycle Track 1, 2&4 road project is about 12.5km and is expected to be completed by December 2021. The project costs U$100,000.00.
At the same time, the new Swedish Ambassador to Liberia, Urban Sjöström expressed a high level of confidence in the Ministry of Public Works. “I am very happy to be here today with you in Bong County and to see these kinds of collaborations. This is something good.” He said that the government and people of Sweden will continue to support the government of Liberia in its development drive. Sweden, he said, is very happy to invest in Feeder roads in Liberia.
Ambassador Sjöström added that as the government of Sweden continues to work with the Ministry of Public Works and other partners, it is also important to maintain the roads. This, he said, can only be done with the support of the Civil Society, the community, and the county administration.