By Jariatu S Bangura
Members of Parliament have ratified additional loan agreement amounting $25m for the continuation of the Tikonko-Kpetemba road project,together with an additional loan agreement amounting $10m for rice value chain development project between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa.
WHAT HAPPENED-In 2016, the Government of Sierra Leone was to fund the project and the project was awarded to the First Tricon Construction Company to construct the Bo-Tikonko-Kpetemba road, but the project was stalled after the commencement due to lack of funding.
WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SAYS: According to the Minister of Finance, Sheku Fantamadi Bangura, the government was wise enough to consider the road and therefore thought of reaching out to investors and that a loan agreement for the construction of the road was entered into and signed between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA).
He said the objective of the project is to connect Tikonko to Mattru Jong through Kpetemba village.
He said the project will entail the upgrading of 72.6 kilometer with a carriage way width of 7.3 meters and 1.5meter shoulder wide section in towns and villages and wide side works with huge construction of one bridge,culvert, among others.
He said the project is strategically relevant as it aims to the development of the country through the local communities in the Southern Region.
He said the project is part the government program to develop the transport sector in general and the network of the national roads.
The minister continues that the project would improve the agricultural sector and trade activities within the region and also links the region to the capital city and other parts of the country and neighboring country Liberia as well.
He also said the project will attract investors in the agricultural sector to reach productive and past river ecology of Pujehun District in the Southern Region.
Chairman Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Sallieu O. Sesay, said once the country has it right on agriculture, it would change the narrative of the country particularly on the issues revolving around the economy, as that is why government after government focus more on diversifying the economy.
He said value addition is good for the people in addressing food insecurity.
Hon. Fabbah Jabbie said good roads open up areas for economic and social development and also provides access to market and aviation services, therefore it would benefit the people of Sierra Leone, most especially those in Pujehun District.
Acting Leader of Bovernment Business, Hon. Bashiru Silikie, stated that road project was awarded to First Tricon Construction Company in 2016 and was launched, but when they took over governance,they realized that the government was to fund the road project.
He said to fast track the work,they have to seek funding from investors for the second phase.