From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Airport Transfer Project on Course
By Momoja Lappia
Jun 11, 2010, 17:04

The Airport Transfer Project (ATP) which aims at establishing a safe and reliable transfer service between Lungi and Freetown which has been in progress since 3rd August 2009 has been confirmed by government would be completed within the next 18 months.

This was disclosed yesterday 10th Thursday at a one-day stakeholders workshop for establishing a regulatory and administrative framework for the proposed Airport Transfer Unit at the Presidential Lounge, National Stadium in Freetown.

In his opening statement, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Captain Ibrahim Pat-Sowe declared that the workshop in spite of being apt and timely forms a landmark step towards His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koromaís determination to govern the country as a business entity.

According to him the objectives of the project will engender making Sierra Leone and extensively Africa a better place to do business; the main focus of the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF). "When transportation becomes affordable, reliable, and safer between Lungi and Freetown then a sustainable solution to the perennial problems of investment would have been attained", Captain Pat-Sowe pointed out.

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry in her statement highlighted that ATP by all standards gear will improve investment climate, attract investors, and consequently revamp the struggling national economy since a regular, efficient, and safe transportation for passengers would have been established.

She urged private and government players within the transport industry to be cooperative with the ATP.

On the background, progress, bottlenecks, and challenges of ATP, the Airport Transfer Unit Project Director, Abdul-Rahman Lewally disclosed that the project is being funded by ICF and is a constituent of the Transport Ministry.

The US$ 5 million ICF grant he revealed demonstrates ICF preparedness and determination to assist in removing existing impediments towards investment through the improvement of regulations, equipment provision, capacity building, and other related facilities in making Sierra Leone a better place to transact business.

Prior to the inception of the project Abdul Rahman- Lewally mentioned that, it had been widely know that for investment to gain ground in Sierra Leone there must be improvement on regulatory administrative, supervisory, and service delivery of how passengers are transported between Freetown and Lungi. This he claimed is what ATU and other stake holders are currently engaged with.

The interactive and participatory workshop chairman, Mr. Sahr Kpulum earlier informed participants that inconvenient transportation scares away investment and called on all present to make meaningful contributions so that the draft regulatory and administrative framework will become an impressive document.

While submitting the draft document for discussion, analysis, and recommendations the Lead Consultant, Mr. Claudius J. Thomas informed that the took cognizance of all key players while formulating the document. According to him the workshop was initiated so that it final outcome will perfectly serve its intended purpose.

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