Pres. Sirleaf Wants House Ratify US$27.3m EIB Loan

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has submitted a finance contract worth US$27.3 million between Liberia and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to the National Legislature for ratification.
The funds are intended to rehabilitate the runway of the Roberts International Airport (RIA), the Liberia News Agency reports.
In a communication to House Speaker J. Alexander Tyler, dated February 10, and read in session Tuesday, Pres. Sirleaf said the entire RIA modernization and rehabilitation project is estimated at US$60,300,000.
According to her, the Government has concluded arrangements for the project to be financed by US$20 million from the Saudi Fund for Development, US$10 million from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, US$3 million from the GOL and a credit of US$27.3 million from the EIB.
She emphasized that the project concerns the urgent rehabilitation of the RIA runway, which is in a very poor condition, improvements to the pavement drainage system, construction of the runway’s end safety areas and replacement of its lighting.
The President explained that the project includes the provision of assorted items of operational and safety-related airport equipment, including fire tenders, ambulances, fire-fighting equipment, forklift, passenger buses, conveyer belt loaders and passenger stairs, among others.      
Concluding, Pres. Sirleaf said that prompt action needs to be taken to upgrade and rehabilitate the nation’s only international airport and a critical piece of national infrastructure to truly international standards.
Following the reading of the letter, Plenary forwarded it to the Committees on Ways, Means and Finance, Judiciary and Contract and Monopoly for scrutiny to report in two weeks.
It can be recalled that in 1942, Liberia signed a Defense Pact with the United States, which commenced a period of strategic road building and other construction related to US military interests.

The airport was originally built by the United States Government as an Air Force base.


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