July 23, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
As part of support to improve Sierra Leone’s Integrated Resilient Urban Mobility Project, the government through the Ministry of Finance yesterday signed a US$ 50Million grant with the World Bank.
The objectives of the project are to improve access to quality public transport, address climate resilient and improve road safety in selected areas, as well as enhance institutional capacity in the transport sector.
World Bank Country Manager, Gayle Martin, stressed the importance of the project, saying that it will improve the urban mobility, as well as digitalizing the transport sector.
She added that the current government continues to strive in pushing the country’s development forward.
World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Pierre Larporte said that was his first project since taking up his new role.
“I know the challenges faced even before taking up this job and this is something I have acknowledged. The Ministry of Finance has fast track the process,” he said.
Minister of Transport and Aviation, Kabineh Kallon, expresses his delight for the project, as according to him, it will greatly improve the transport sector.
“This project has five components, including modernization and professionalization of public transport services. It will help in addressing the challenges facing the sector and build both the human and institutional capacity,” he said.
On his part, Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, stated that the project had commenced before the New Direction government took over governance.
He said the project was a loan but due to engagement and series of discussions, it was converted into a grant.
“The World Bank knows the challenges we faced as a country and understand where we are coming from. We are thankful for their support. Since we came to office, the Bank has supported the government with over 230 million dollars, all of which are grants,” he stated.
Minister Saffa warned against stalling of the process because according to him, the project will be audited and where necessary, the Anti-Corruption Commission could be call in to investigate any aspect of corruption.
“There is every need to improve coordination which is key to the project. Before the start, we will sit with all stakeholders of the project to discuss the aspect of coordination.
Because it is a public sector project, the finance minister urged for full implementation so that the lives of citizens, especially those in the city can be improved.
Component 2 of the project which looks at the strategic resilient mobility investment estimated at US$31 million, will be finance by the IDA with US$2million coming from the government.