Director General of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), Ing. Amara Kanneh has revealed that they are implementing 40 projects, of which some have been completed, others ongoing and all of these contracts have been signed. “That is why we say government has a liability of Le7 trillion. Some of the roads are funded by government and others are donor funded. The government roads are truck or urban roads within the township” said Ing. Kanneh. The DG was responding to a technical question asked by a Budget Bureau Staff Jacob T. Senesie on the total liabilities on government. His question was that he sees a Le2 trillion liability for FY 2020 in their Budget presentation document and he wanted to know if it is a spread going forward. “If you say the government has to undertake a total liability on roads for Le2 trillion, our target for 2020 with regards to revenue is Le6.5 trillion, and you take that figure out, you consider debt servicing that is almost going to a trillion, salaries, PAYE and other government expenditure is a challenge” he said. He then requested the Authority to provide the Ministry of Finance with a detailed analysis of the roads that have been completed which are no longer a burden to government and those that are ongoing and can be captured as expenditure for 2020 as well as the ones that are ongoing which should have been paid this year and have been carried forward. “If you have that analysis I think it will guide us better. I also don’t know even the status of the MoU roads, the last time I asked from the perspective of SLRA let the contractors tell them what we have paid so that we can reconcile with what we have … up till now I have not seen that document” he said.
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Ing. Kanneh went on to explain that the Kenema-Pendembu road which is 86 km has a government outstanding payment of over US$28 million, the Yeyi-Sefadu road they still have to pay Chico Company over US$8 million, the Matotoka-Yeyi road has an outstanding payment also. “We have all of these contracts for which they have been completed and we still have to pay and now the Ministry is in negotiation with these contractors to provide payments plan” he answered. According to their presentation slides of the 40 major roads funded by government and 15 donor roads have been completed, 10 at an advanced stage of implementation, 13 at an early stage of implementation and 2 at procurement stage of appraisal. Of these 40 roads, government is funding 26 and donors are funding 14. As part of the key deliverables for 2020, the Authority is planning on embarking on Feasibility Studies on first set of prioritized roads and its related structures as contained in the Fiscal Strategy Statement (2019 – 2023) & Strategic Plan, 2019 (2,018 Km) and the design review on the following five (5) major bituminous trunk roads (Total Length: 490 Km). These roads include, Cline Town – Wellington Road, Masiaka – Bo Road, Masiaka – Makeni Road, Bo – Kenema Road and Makeni – Matotoka Road. Upgrading of five (5) selected gravel roads to bituminous surfacing (325.40 Km), Bo – Mattru Jong (84 Km), Bauya Junction – Benducha (66.40 Km), Serabu Junction – Serabu (5 Km), Kailahun – Koindu – Guinea/Liberia Border (65 Km) and Kambia – Tomparie – Kamakwei (105 Km). SLRA’s Director of Development Daniel Joseph Wiseman explained that the rehabilitation of selected gravel trunk roads (3,126 Km) under the “Area Road Maintenance Management Scheme”, ARMMS, through Performance-Based Contracting will have a central focus on job creation geared towards improving employment opportunities for the youths in the next three (3) years (2020 – 2022). In addition, the maintenance of rural feeder roads (800 Km) under the “Framework of Rural Feeder Roads Maintenance Scheme”, FRFRMS by providing basic District Equipment & Plant Pools for feeder roads maintenance for 3 years in 16 Districts. They are also working towards the Emergency Response Strategy Programs for Road Maintenance Activities (FY2020), conduction of Road Asset Management (RAM) studies on national classified roads, develop Policy Guidelines for Road Infrastructural Policy & Regulations, and Technical & Managerial Manuals, supervision of on-going projects of the Urban & City Roads and Trunk Roads and periodic and Routine Maintenance Activities on selected core roads (3,000 Km).
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque
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