US$36.5m BADEA project contract awarded to Guinean company
July 4, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
The delayed BADEA project for the rehabilitation and construction of additional facilities on Fourah Bay College campus will soon commence after the contract was awarded to a Guinean construction company.
The construction company, which was not disclosed by Prof. Ekundayo Thompson, Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sierra Leone, will be tasked with rehabilitating the dilapidated hostels, construction of new lecture rooms, a multi-purpose hall, library, among other facilities.
Prof. Thompson admitted that facilities at Fourah Bay College could no longer accommodate the current number of students at the college.
“The facilities there [FBC] were constructed to accommodate 500 students but currently we have over 6,000 students. Students’ vandalism also led to the further deterioration of the facilities at Fourah Bay College,” he said.
He disclosed that funds for the project would be provided by banks in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, among others, adding that the last payment of the fund was a US$12m by the Saudis.
“When all the funds were given by the banks, they put out an international competitive bidding. For contractors to bid in order to start the project at Fourah Bay College,” he explained and added that many companies within and outside the country bid for the contract, which was awarded to a Guinea-based construction company.
He disclosed that the award was done by those who gave their money and not by the authorities of the University of Sierra Leone.
“I know the project has indeed taken long to start and thus many people are now concerned whether it will be materialised. The contract has been awarded and the work will start at any time from now,” he assured.
Quizzed about the reason for the delay to commence the rehabilitation, the University Vice Chancellor said for every step the contractors take they need a ‘no objection’ from the procurement officials.
However, students who spoke to this press expressed dismay and dissatisfaction over the delay of the project.
According to Sallieu Sesay of the Mass Communications Department at Fourah Bay College, the delay in the rehabilitation of the hostels had caused students a lot of embarrassment and economic loss.
“We pay transport fares to come for classes every day. Some of us are living in distant places. I’m living at Calaba Town so I have to wake up at 5am to ensure that I get transport on time. Most lecturers don’t want to know where you are coming from; they will start to teach at their stipulated lecture schedule. When a student comes 15 minutes late, you will be asked out of the class,” he said.
He said the situation is worse during examinations period which sometimes begin at 9:30am.
Another student at the Political Science Department, Lamrana Jalloh, said because students do reside on campus, they often times go for lectures late. He added that there is no proper toilet facilities on campus as most of the boys have to use the bush to respond to a call by nature.
“For the girls, the situation is worst. They are not like boys who can stand at every corner to urinate, they need water and a sheltered place to ease themselves,” he said and called on university authorities to act fast before things get out of hands.
Ruined and deserted: Block H, FBC campus