Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Planning and Economic Development in the Sierra Leone Parliament have commended the management and staff of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) for the successes made in the road sub-sector in the last four years.
The Authority was commended by the MPs on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 during an oversight meeting with management and staff. The Committee members were at the SLRA to gather information on the successes and challenges of the Authority in dispensing its functions.
In his statement, the Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Musa Fofana said, “the National Medium Term Development Plan will come to an end next year (2023). So, we thought it fit to interact with you to know the achievements made by SLRA and the challenges that you face in your work so that we can report them to parliament and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.”
Honourable Fofana stated that the work of SLRA is very crucial to achieving the infrastructural development goals of the country’s development strategy, and that the Authority has made remarkable gains, including the completion of the Magbele and Mabang bridges, and the Moyamba-Moyamba Junction Road.
The Director General of SLRA, Ing. Amara Jambai Kanneh thanked the Members of Parliament for their commendation, and remarked that, “Our successes are based on efficient planning. That is why we especially created the Department of Research, Planning and Policy, which is headed by an experienced engineer.”
The Director of Research, Planning and Policy Department, Ing. Vandi French, briefed the MPs on the effort made by the Authority to formulate its strategic plan in line with the National Medium Term Development Plan and to formulate new policies that promote the responsible use of the road, and as well as, serve as an alternative source of revenue for the maintenance of the existing roads and construction of new ones.
The Director of Operations Management, Ing. Alfred Jalil Momodu, highlighted some of the gains made by the Authority in the implementation of road projects in the last four years.
Ing. MOMODU explained that the Authority has maintained and paved most of the roads leading to district headquarter towns, including the township roads, with the exception of Pujehun and Mattru Jong which are ongoing, and Falaba and Kerene which are among the next priority projects.
He added that the Authority and partners have constructed modern bridges at some of the major ferry crossing points, paved some of the urban township roads, conducted feasibility studies on over 2000 kilometres of roads in the country, and have started signing Public Private Partnership agreements with private firms for the reconstruction of some of the roads.
He told the MPs that the Authority is determined to complete the Hillside Bypass Road and the Lumley-Tokeh Road in December 2022. Talking on the management of the road assets, the Director of Assets Management, Ing. Peter Kome, told the MPs that the Authority has the responsibility to take inventory of all road and non-road assets that it has across the country, from which it periodically examines their worthiness and rehabilitate those that are in deteriorating condition.
Ing. Kome, however, stated that even where the Authority has the capacity to do so, but it does not have enough funds to manage all the road assets in the country. He therefore encouraged the MPs to support the SLRA in protecting the road assets and advocate for more investment in the road sub-sector.
After listening to the various presentations, the MPs commended the gains made by SLRA with the limited funds that are allocated to the institution. “We have noticed that you have the capacity, the willingness and passion to do your work,” Honourable Fofana said.
Honourable Peter Koroma noted that the disjointed nature of some policies and the lack of coordination among some ministries, departments and agencies are the major factors responsible for the challenges faced with many government projects.
They encouraged the SLRA to strengthen collaboration with other key line ministries and departments for the development of the road sub-sector, and pledged support towards the work of the Authority.