The government of Liberia has benefited from the World Bank International Development Association grant for the construction of a new Fuel Unloading Facility valued at US$15.3 million. The President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Wednesday commissioned this facility. This historic occasion was graced by high profile officials of government including the NPA Managing Director David Williams, LPRC Managing Director Jackson F. Doe, Public Works Minister W. Gyude Moore and the World Bank Liberia Country Manager, among others. Void of interruption in the provision of petroleum products, the capacity of the new facility is bigger than the replaced one, and as such, it is expected to boost the Liberian economy.
According to the Port Assessment Report of 2006, the lifespan of the existing Fuel Unloading Facility has long been overdue and needed immediate replacement to avoid the risk of direct and indirect consequences the threat could pose on the country.
Speaking at the dedicatory ceremony of the Fuel Unloading Facility in Monrovia, the World Bank Liberia Country Manager, Larisa Leshchenko remarked that the new Fuel Unloading Facility is a modern facility built to high international standards, well equipped with latest safety equipment (firefighting equipment). She said the facility will improve the safety and security of the port operation, adding that Liberia’s ability to import fuel needed to sustain economic growth and development will increase.
“Now that construction of the Fuel Unloading Facility is complete, Liberia has nearly reconstructed all major infrastructure required to sustain a robust sea trade connection through the Freeport of Monrovia for the benefit of all Liberians” she asserted. Therefore, completing the construction of the Fuel Unloading Facility Project is both a symbolic milestone achievement and an important step towards sustained and resilient development for Liberia.
Despite the challenges that characterized the delay for the completion of the facility, Madam Leshchenko lauded the efforts of implementing agencies of government including the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation, National Port Authority, the Executive Mansion, contractors and consultants.
The World Bank Country Manager, Madam Leshchenko urged the Liberian Government to ensure the private sector acts in the best interest of the country, “It is urgent that the LPRC provides a secure and adequate power connection to the FUF, as well as build the supply pipelines to connect the new FUF to oil farm so that it may immediately begin to provide benefits to Liberia. Equally important is final testing and commissioning of the facility once all other elements are in place”, she averred.
She further stated that all major infrastructure works require long-term plans for maintenance and management. The FUF is no exception. Equally important will be ensuring clear responsibility for management and maintenance, and ensuring funding for maintenance and operations is spent with prudence and foresight.