The Ministry of Works and Public Assets has concluded a nationwide familiarisation tour to assess the status of road works and public assets. The nationwide tour was led by the Minister of Works and Public Assets, Peter Bayoku Konteh. He was accompanied by the top management of the Ministry including the Deputy Minister of Works and Public Assets, Philip Tetema Tondoneh. The team was also comprised of the Board and Management of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority.
The Minister and team inspected public assets and road facilities, including potential spots for flooding in Port Loko, Kambia, Makeni, Kabala, Koidu, Bo, Kenem and Kailahun. In addition to inspection the minister and team also held meetings to engage stakeholders on the various challenges facing the respective communities visited and forging the way forward in addressing these challenges.
The Minister of Works and Public Assets outlined the government policy on the road sector and public assets within the framework of the New Direction. He said that under the new dispensation, it is no longer ‘ business as usual’ and that the government of Julius Maada Bio is firmly committed to upgrading the national roads network that will be devoid of any political undertone.
He said unlike the former regime, the SLPP government will not construct what the minister referred to as, ‘political roads’ but would rather construct roads that will be sustainable and beneficial to the communities. He lambasted the Feeder Roads policy under the APC government which, he described as ‘corrupt and a waste of donor resources’. He disclosed that under the New Direction, all feeder roads projects will be directly supervised by the Ministry through the Sierra Leone Roads Authority.
Speaking on behalf of the management Ing. Abdulai Ansumana, acting Deputy Director General of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority briefly outlined the National Road Master Plan as the working document that captures the vision of the government within the road sector. He pointed out that the master plan has three main components.
Firstly to connect all roads linking Sierra Leone and its immediate neighbours; secondly to transform all manual driven ferries into bridges and of the fifteen manual ferry crossings, two, Bandasuma Ferry and Mabang Ferry are already being transformed into bridges. The third component in the master plan is a circumferential road that will go through all the districts.
The tour was lauded by stakeholders, describing it as the first ever venture by the ministry and committed themselves to providing the necessary local support to all road works. They describe the ministry policy of involving them in both inception and implementation of road projects as a step in the right direction.