From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

PAID SUPPLEMENTS
In Sierra Leone, Commissioning Ceremony Of The Bo-Kenema High Way
By
Jun 16, 2010, 17:04

Just after the official commissioning of the EU funded Masiaka-Bo Highway Rehabilitation on the 29th May 2010, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has also officially commissioned the World Bank/Government funded Bo-Kenema Highway Rehabilitation on the 5th and 6th June 2010 in the Kenema and Bo Districts.

At Blama in the Kenema District where the actual commissioning cer­emony of the Bo-Kenema Highway started, Mr. President said he was very much clear about the programmes he would undertake to bring change to his country. He said his Agenda for Change of which energy, infrastruc­ture, agriculture, health and education have been given priority will ad­equately facilitate social and economic transformation of Sierra Leone. Mr. President reiterated that since his assumption to the Presidency, the energy sector, especially in the area of electricity has improved considerably. He said the Bumbuna Hydro Plant has been completed; Moyamba Project is on and upon completion will generate 10 MW and the Dodo Project in the Bo/Kenema districts is now ready to receive increased capacity from the Chinese.

A stretch of the re-constructed Bo, Kenema highway (2)

The President said all of these would be replicated in all the districts with the establishment of mini-hydro elec­tricity in Sierra Leone. He also in­formed the people that his aim is to provide electricity through solar light system on all the streets of the district headquarter towns. He said by his second term in office, almost all big towns in Sierra Leone will be electrified.

Talking on agriculture, Mr. Presi­dent said he had signed a memoran­dum of understanding (MOU) with the African Union for agricultural support especially in the area of the provision of fertilizers, seedlings and trac­tors. He encouraged the people to set their minds for large scale agriculture.

A stretch of the re-constructed Bo, Kenema highway

Speaking on the education sector, Mr. President catalogued the problems of the present education system. With reference to the Gbamaja Commission, he said there is all likelihood that the 6-3-3-4 system would be completely re­formed.

Dilating on the health sector, Mr. President referred to the Free Health Care as the biggest project ever undertaken by any Government in this country. He said because the APC Party is the peopleís party gone are the days when people will die for Le. 30,000 or Le. 10. 000 because they are so poor and could not pay for their medical bills.

Member of Parliament PC Kamachende flanked by other senior PCs of Eastern Region

Mr. President thus admonished the people to assist in making sure that the newly launched free medical care project becomes a success by being watchdogs over the distributions and treatment of beneficiaries. He said the project may have its own shortcomings but it is here to stay. He advised saboteurs especially pharmacists, to be pa­triotic or face the full force of the law.

On the subject proper, Mr. President said infrastructure is his main prior­ity, and has in this direction put in place a lot of projects which are ongoing, such as the Freetown-Conakry High­way, Kenema-Pendembu Highway, Pendembu-Koindu Highway, Bo-Bandajuma Highway, Makeni-Kabala Highway, Freetown-Lumley Road, Bandajuma-Liberia Highway, IMMAT-Hill Station-Regent Road, Hill­side Bye-pass and the Grafton -Jui Road. He told the people of Kono District to exer­cise some patience as according to him work on the Matotoka-Koidu Highway will soon commence.

PCs in the Eastern Region graced the commissioning ceremony at Blama

Mr. President referred to his govern­ment as an Infrastructural development oriented government. In this regard, he said he will also concentrate on the development of feeder and other trunk roads. He said his government intends to develop 2000 kilometers of feeder roads out of which Kenema had already benefited 308 kilometers and Kono too had started benefiting. He said the aim is to provide first class roads in all district headquarter towns with street light.

Member of Parliament and Para­mount Chief Mohamed Dhaffie Benya V of Small Bo Chiefdom as the host said this road is important because it is the gateway to the Eastern part of Si­erra Leone and even beyond. He said politics is not about elections but de­velopment, progress and resources. He referred to the President as somebody who is focused and ready to change Sierra Leone because of several legislations forwarded to Parliament. He called on his people and all Sierra Leoneans to support the President in the name of development.

The China Railway Seventh Group personnel at the Bo, Kenema commissioning ceremony

Hon. Emelia Safula Moijue of Con­stituency 17 said development does not take creed, religion, race or colour etc into consideration. She wasted no time to draw the Presidentís attention to the fact that the road went through Blama Junction but not the township (to which Mr. President gave immediate instruc­tion SLRA to take action).

The Resident Minister, Hon. William J. Smith thanked the President for completing the work started by the APC forefathers way back in 1972. He said before now traveling to the East was very difficult and time consuming, and going to Kono one has to travel through Kailahun. He said Mr. Presi­dent does not only launch but also com­mission, which is the end of the project.

Head of the China Railway Seventh Group which happens to be the con­tractors said the road has been profes­sionally completed. She hoped that this road will bring progress and take effective part in the Governmentís poverty reduction strategy. She informed the President that the Groupís assignment has been completed but the Group is ready and fully mobilized to undertake new projects in the areas of roads, housing, railway etc.

Making a snap description of the Highway the Consultants-SNC Lavalin/Comptran Engineering Associates 3MBD said the stretch is 69 Kilometers starting from Tikonko Road Junction in Bo to Kenema. He said the main areas of concern were site clearance, earthworks, road pavements, reconstruction, bituminous construction, installation, road furniture, drainages work (new dishing side drains and culvert), minor bridges and environmental organizations.

Munda Rogers, Director-General of SLRA said both World Bank and Gov­ernment sponsored the project. He added that despite some hiccups caused by the global economic crisis, funds were provided to take care of payment of project affected persons along the right of way. He said the work done at Shelmingo in Bo was never part of the project but was done within budget line. He told his audience that this project was successfully completed as a result of all the efforts put in place by the President and all stakeholders.

The Chairman of SLRA Ahmed Dumbuya said development is about energy, agriculture, trade and good road network. He said this will only come if the country has a correct leadership, which the people of Sierra Leone made in the persons of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma as President. He promised the President to be proactive in all the assignment given to SLRA.

The World Bank Country Representative said the competition of the road will bring benefit to the people and a milestone in the revival of this country. He said the four cities are now con­nected with good road network, and hoped that agriculture and mining will boom soon. He added that good road will bring cohesion, interconnectivity and peace. He said the World Bank is fully charged and willing to support projects especially in the areas of feeder roads and transportation. He asked for the involvement of the local people in the projects.

In his rather brief statement, the Chinese Ambassador said Sierra Leone and China have survived a long standing relationship within the South- south cooperation. He said Sierra Leone as a result benefited from the training, education, economic support and other projects offered by China. He said the Group is a good company in China and willing to work with the people of Sierra Leone.

Hon. Pat Sowe of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation said all of these achievements are possible due to the Presidentís commitments. He said before now the countryís road network was characterized by ditches, pot holes and other road blocks which made the Drivers Union to complain and organize strikes. He added that the Union is happy today because since the assumption of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma led APC to power, the road network has improved considerably.

Hon. Sowe said good roads are crucial to health, education, trade, agriculture; and referred to this year as year of infrastructure. He thanked the World Bank for their assistance, especially on the feeder roads network, and advised the people to use the road wisely and with care.

Hon. Alimany P. Koroma, Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure referred to the occasion as a great day in the history of the country. He said he was happy to be appointed as Minister and as part of the Presidentís dream team which made this remarkable achievement. He said the government has the intention to rehabilitate the Matotoka-Koidu Highway to an appreciable standard.

The Mayor of Kenema City Chief Brima Kargbo said Kenema is a spot for business, and that government should concentrate on its road network. He thanked the Government for the hard work on this main road leading to Kenema City. He also asked the Government to continue the efforts in road rehabilitation and construction of new ones, education, health, agriculture, and decentralization.

The vote of thanks was given in Blama by the Chairman, Kenema District Council while that of Kenema City was done by Paramount Chief Amara Benya Vagahun of Nongowa Chiefdom. And when returning, the President made stops at Baoma Town, Jerihun and Bo City where he explained to the people about the newly launched free medical care. The President and his entourage safely returned to Freetown.



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