April 1, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The World Bank Regional Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone has spoken about the bank’s plan to support the transport sector, particularly in the improvement of ferry services between Freetown and Lungi.
Henry G.R. Kerali, who is currently in the country on a routine visit to assess the bank’s operation, yesterday told a presser that during his meeting with President Ernest Bai Koroma they discussed a potential support from the bank to supply and implement improved ferry services.
According to him, for a longtime now ferry services had been quite efficient and that the government has put it as a high priority to extend high quality services between the two points.
“We are exploring the possibility to finance a project that will supply the two ferries and also finance the infrastructure needed for the landing of those ferries. There will of course be other feasibility studies related to the transport sector to see what is needed for the future,” he said.
He maintained that the support would also include an amount for the upgrading of landing sites used by the ferries, in order to ensure that they are technically sound and able to provide good landing service. He added that the road that connects those landing sites in Freetown and Lungi also needed to be improved.
With regards the telecom sector, Mr. Kerali said: “There is need to liberalise the gateway to Sierra Leone in order to reduce the cost of internet and communications, as well as invest in the country’s cable company, SALCAB. Progress has already been made.”
He said the key principle for the liberalisation of the country’s gateway was to have multiple access and not a monopoly by a single operator, with the objectives being to bring down prices and improve the quality of service.
On the fisheries sector, the World Bank Regional Director said there were in discussion on how to improve the sector, especially its management and governance arrangement around licensing of foreign fishing boats, as well as mechanisms to further strengthen fishing services in the country.
Also, he spoke about the Mamamah Airport project saying: “At this point in time, there is no economic justification. There are other priorities that the government has to deal with. We have other comprehensive post Ebola recovery programmes that the government is seeking support from development partners, and this comes at a high priority at this point in time. When the economic justification is proved, it may well be economically justifiable.”