July 29, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Minister of Finance and Economic Development yesterday received from the Head of the European Union Delegation in the country the original rider of the financing agreement for the full funding of the construction of the Bandajuma-Liberia boarder road, as well as three bridges across the Sewa, Moa and Wanje rivers.
It could be recalled that in June 2014, a financing agreement to the tune of 62.2 million euros from the Regional Indicative Programme and Sierra Leone 10th EDF National Indicative Programme to partly finance the construction works was approved and signed.
The handing over of the additional Le190 billion (43 million euros) by the EU to complete the package for the construction works brings their contribution to a total of 105 million euros – which is the estimated cost of the project – for a scheme that will connect Sierra Leone and Liberia with “an all-weather road suitable for international traffic”.
EU Head of Delegation, Ambassador Peter Versteeg, informed newsmen yesterday at a press conference hosted by the Ministry of Finance that the project includes two components which are: the construction of three bridges over the Sewa, Moa and Wanje rivers, and the upgrading of a 99km road from Bandajuma in southern Sierra Leone to the Liberian boarder.
He revealed that construction work is expected to commence before the end of the year and would last for approximately three years.
“This project will significantly boost livelihoods and trade between Sierra Leone and Liberia, as we observed after the completion of the road between Rogbere and Farmoreah in Guinea,” said Ambassador Versteeg. “It will also greatly improve accessibility in the Bo and Pujehun districts.”
The EU country boss commended the government for having placed particular emphasis on developing infrastructure in its ‘Agenda for Prosperity’, while encouraging the Sierra Leonean authorities to put in place the necessary road maintenance axel, load control legislation and road safety campaigns to maximise return on investment and generate economic diversification and service sector growth.
In his statement, Minister of Finance, Dr. Kaifala Marah, commended the EU for their support to the country’s infrastructural development and noted that the project speaks to the key fundamental element of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s vision for the nation.
He assured that the government would ensure it meets the aspirations of the project by adhering to the maintenance requirement, and added: “The completion of this project will provide livelihoods and facilitate trade between Sierra Leone and Liberia.”