President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is appealing to all Liberians, including development partners, to work with Government in the implementation of its ambitious National Transport Master Plan (NTMP).
Speaking Tuesday when she launched the Master Plan at the Monrovia City Hall, President Sirleaf indicated that although the Master Plan was being launched, there is still much more to be done as plans are but plans and one has to continually adjust them to the changing circumstances as you move towards implementation.
The Liberian leader reminded the audience that Government will not have the financial capacity to implement the entire Plan; as such, she called for the promotion of public-private partnerships. She also stressed that the responsibility is not only with partnerships, but is also with Liberians who need to build their capacity. “Most times we ourselves fail to carry out in time those things that we should do to enable the partnership to be much more effective. Whatever we do requires the commitment and the work of everybody, working together toward those common goals that have been established,” President Sirleaf said.
She observed that besides specifics, there will be the need to reflect upon the social and economic returns of particular projects specified to ensure that the Liberians for whom the Master Plan is intended feel the maximum impact. She stressed that time was of the essence.
Providing an overview of the National Transport Master Plan (NTMP), Transport Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe termed it “a quintessential blueprint” for the development of the transport sector, and the indispensible tool for policy makers and private sector participants to get involved in the provision of an efficient, sustainable, safe and affordable national transport network in Liberia.
“This is not a policy document but a comprehensive action plan constructed after several years of data collection, collation of statistics by technicians and engineers,” Minister Nagbe emphasized, noting that the Plan is a dynamic and evolving working tool.
According to Minister Nagbe, the Master Plan is a key activity of the National Transport Policy & Strategy (NTPS) which seeks to achieve several strategic objectives of the NTPS, including: the rehabilitation and maintenance of primary and secondary roads; the establishment of an effective road maintenance and management system; funding for the rehabilitation and maintenance of roads through levies on fuel, vehicles and government subvention; pavement of all roads leading to all county capitals; as well as encouraging greater private sector participation in public transport services with government regulations.
It also entails guidance for policy and decision makers in the development of a Port Master Plan for all seaports; development of an Airport Master Plan that will eventually lead to the development of the Roberts International Airport and other airports; as well as coastal shipping as an alternative mode of transportation.
The Master Plan underscores a number of activities to be undertaken in the various modes of transport, including road transport, rail transport, air transport and coastal shipping, aimed at improved transport infrastructure and service in Liberia.
As it relates to roads development and upgrading, the Master Plan envisages the pavement of 1,513 kilometers of all-weather strategic primary network linking Monrovia to the county capitals and to its main border points with Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire; it seeks to open two additional network links: the south coast road from Monrovia to Harper, and the link from Buchanan to Tappita; as well as conduct a feasibility study for road construction in the western region of the country.
The Master Plan observes that the cost of Road Development and Upgrading is not sustainable under the current annual budgetary allocation for road works as such would require significant external assistance. Minister Nagbe said mobilization and investment of massive external resources is required to complement Government’s annual budgetary allocations for road works.
On Rail Transport, according to Minister Nagbe, the Master Plan seeks to formulate a strategic action plan on the current status of the existing railways as well as for future developments in the rail sector; create a National Railway Authority (NRA) which will supervise and monitor the usage of the railways in Liberia; and alternatives for future investment in the railway sector on the proposed Putu railway line and the merger railways should be clearly defined in the Plan.
On Coastal Shipping, the Master Plan seeks to create an enabling environment for the development of private coastal shipping service; seeks the development of a Port Master Plan, and the rehabilitation of the smaller ports such as Buchanan, Greenville and Harper, and to ensure that suitable berthing facilities for coastal shipping are available at Monrovia; as well as seeks balanced financial support for coastal shipping with the need for investment in a new coastal highway and other road improvements intended to reduce journey times and costs from southeastern Liberia.
As it relates to Air Transport, the Master Plan seeks the development of an Airport Master Plan that will eventually lead to the development of the Roberts International Airport through public-private partnership; Government should undertake a feasibility study to determine the viability of investing in the upgrading of the James Spriggs Payne Airport to international standards, taking into account the potential for growth and the investments that will be needed at Spriggs and Roberts International Airports; and Government should encourage private sector domestic operators.
In line with the Plan, a Steering Committee and a Technical Secretariat have been set up to provide support to the NTPS implementation process. The Steering Committee is responsible to coordinate and manage the overall implementation process. It is chaired by the Minister of Transport, with the Minister of Public Works and the Country Manager of GIZ serving as First and Second Vice Chairs, respectively.
Technical Committee members include the Ministries of Transport and Public Works, the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority, the National Transit Authority, the National Port Authority, the Liberia Aviation Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Liberia Maritime Authority.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 30 May 2012 14:34)