November 11, 2021
By Alfred Koroma
As Bonthe residents threatened to stage a protest over the delay in the construction of road in their Island, Parliament has summoned the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) to explain reasons behind the delay.
The Bonthe Island road project is costing the Government of Sierra Leone twelve million three hundred and eighty-eight thousand United States Dollars ($12388), of which SLRA has received $9 million from the Government of Sierra Leone.
The SLRA Director General, Ing. Amara Jambai Kanneh and members of his staff were yesterday before the Committee on Works and Public Asset to update the committee on the reasons behind the delay to complete the Bo-Tikonko and the Bonth-Mattru Jong road projects, respectively.
The project started in November 2018 and was expected to be completed in November 2020, as per the MOU signed in 2018. But the $12 million project is yet to be completed and the delay has raised concerns among the residents of the Bonth Island.
Speaking before the committee, the Director General blamed the delay on funding constraints they have been facing.
He continued that unlike donor funded projects which have been effective; budget disbursement for government projects has always been a challenge.
He continued that the work was also suspended as a result of the 2019 forensic audit.
Remi Olumuyiwa who was also part of the SLRA team before the committee added that although they signed MOU to complete the project in 2020, the current global pandemic has also been an impediment for them to meet with the agreement signed to complete the project within 24 months.
He therefore called on the committee to consider the global pandemic as part of the challenges that have delayed the project.
The Chairman for the Parliamentary Committee on Works and Public Assets, Hon. Bashiru Silikie, described the Bonthe Island roads, which is the home town of the President as an eyesore. He noted that they were concerned about the projects because he believes they (MPs) will suffer repercussion if anything goes wrong with those projects since their constituents expect them to provide development. He therefore requested that the work of the 9 million dollars government has already paid be reflected on the work done on the project.
Hon. Bashiru continued that the Mayor of Bonthe has received increasing pressure from residents with regards the prolonged delay of the said project.
Hon. Silikie therefore adjourned the sitting to continue with it in Bonthe where they would conduct an oversight and engage the public about the project.