The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Dr. Samura Kamara yesterday said that the cost for the phase of the Freetown International Airport Project is US$ 190,000,000.
He made this statement at the signing of the contract between the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation and the China Railway International for the Construction of Freetown International Airport Project in Mamamah.
The ceremony which took place at the conference hall of the Ministry, attracted Ministers, officials from the transport sector, Government officials, representative from the China Railway Group and staff from the Ministry of Transport and Aviation.
In his statement, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Samura Kamara said that they have been in this project for long and the signing is the basic requirement for the Government to start the loan process from the Exim Bank.
The minister went further to say that the project is a collective effort from all partners involved, and that they are looking forward to an accelerated realization of this project, more so, when they will be signing the loan agreement.
He therefore congratulated his colleague Minister for the project and promised his fullest support.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Chinese Ambassador Kuang Weilin noted that the day is a great event not only for Sierra Leone but for China, as they are taking it very seriously.
He said that the building of a huge International Airport is a new testament to the China/Sierra Leone Friendship and co-operation. The ambassador said that over the years, China has helped Sierra Leone in building the National Stadium, the Foreign Ministry, Youyi Building, the new building at Parliament and the Jui Teaching Hospitals.
This project will be a big boost to the development of the country.
The Ambassador said that China will continue to support Sierra Leone so that the lives of people will be improved.
Xiaohong who is the Chief Marketing Director of the China Railway International said that it is a great honor for him to be here to represent China Railway International.
He said they sincerely admire the work of President Ernest Bai Koroma especially in the area of infrastructure, like the construction of the Freetown International Airport. He said that his company has the expertise and financial support from China to make this project fruitful.
In response, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Chidi Vandi Minah started by thanking all those who have helped in the success of the project, especially their Chinese friends.
He said that with the construction of the jetty, it has made the passenger experience when travelling less time consuming.
The Minister also made reference to the newly renovated Lungi Airport and said that over the years, they have signed a number of bilateral agreements with different airlines to come to Sierra Leone and are looking forward to the Turkish Airline, Egypt Airlines, Emirates and also they are in talks with airlines from the Carribean and also from South America, but one thing that they made clear was their passengers comfort. “From the reception they received, to their place of rest, the issue of safety and security of their Aircraft and air crews also came up,” he said.
In that light the safety of the Lungi Airport has been upgraded, the Minister said, added that the Lungi Airport will not cease it operations but will be a secondary means of Aviation, the new Airport he said is the nucleus of an Aviation City, he said that when this project is completed will be the largest infrastructure that the country will have. There will be a one year design phase and three years construction phase. He ended by saying that he needs the collaborative effort of all other Ministers in order for the success of this project,
Statements were also made by the Minister of Justice Franklyn Kargbo and the Minister of Lands and Country Planning Alieu Pat sowe all giving their commitment towards the successful completion of this project.
By Nancy Koroma