Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has restated that the Gbarnga-Mendikorma highway project will not only bring great relief to the people of North-Western Liberia, but will also open the country to sub-regional commerce and trade.
He noted that the road project will further increase the Gross Domestic Product of Liberia and enhance free movement of peoples and goods in the sub-region in keeping with Mano River Union (MRU) protocols.
Vice President Boakai said without roads it is impossible to execute programs in health, education, agriculture and other areas that are critical to the growth and development of the nation.
The Vice President’s remarks were contained in a statement read on his behalf by the Director of Finance in the Office of the Vice President, Mr. Elwood Nettey at the signing ceremony held between Bong and Lofa Counties, which is in furtherance of the implementation of the Gbarnga-Salayea Road Rehabilitation Project, by the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Saudi Fund for Development.
The signing is a financing agreement that will cover the first section of Lotone of the Gbarnga-Mendikorma highway project at the cost of US$20 million, a release from the Office of the Vice President said.
The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has indicated that the primary objective of the Gbarnga-Salayea road rehabilitation project is to contribute to the economic and social development of Liberia through the development, expansion and integration of its road network.
The ministry also said that Government’s objective of implementing this critical project is also focused on reduced travel time and cost, improving accessibility, achieving road safety and security, and ultimately improving the standard of living of the inhabitants of Bong and Lofa Counties.
According to Vice President Boakai, he is “extremely delighted” by the signing ceremony which is a fulfilment of the pledge of the Government to bring the highway project to a reality and thanked the partners and implementing agencies for the level of interest and commitment they have shown for the realization of the project.
The Gbarnga-Mendikorma highway project is estimated at US$430 million, Lot One (1) is the stretch from Gbarnga to Konia, which is estimated at US$184.7 million and is about 137 kilometres in length, located in Bong and Lofa Counties, while the first section of this lot is from Gbarnga-to-Salayea and is estimated to cost is US$95.1 million.
Donor’s commitment for section one of Lot One, which is Gbarnga-Salayea is placed at US$82.5 million, while the Government of Liberia’s contribution or counterpart funding US$12.6 million.
The signed agreement will be transmitted to the National Legislature for ratification and when completed.
The project will make North-Western Liberia easily accessible and accelerate cross-border trade between Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, enhancing the economic status of inhabitants of the Mano River Union countries.
The signing Friday commemorates the fourth signing ceremony for funds earmarked for the Gbarnga-Salayea road project.
Over the last two months, the financing agreement with the OPEC Fund for International Development was signed in Vienna, Austria and financing Agreement with the Kuwait Fund for Development was also signed in Monrovia, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning explained in a release.
A similar ceremony with the Abu Dhabi Fund is expected to take place to seal the financial package needed for the full implementation of said project.
According to the MFDP, agreements with donors signed and ratified by the National Legislature to consummate this project includes the OPEC Fund for International Development US$20 million, The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development US$15.5 million and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa US$12 million.