Int’l Donors Praise NRF For Honestly Utilizing Road Users’ Taxes To Provide Improved and Affordable Road Network In Liberia

By Joel Cholo Brooks

Chief Executive Officer of the National Road Fund of Liberia, Boniface Satu, implementing the Liberian leader’s vision

Following its enactment by law few years ago, the National Road Fund of Liberia is said to be performing its statuary duties at the satisfaction of both the international donors who have overwhelmingly appraised the works of this Liberian owned initiative as one of the productive institutions in Liberia by honestly using taxpayers monies to provide improved and affordable road network to many road user around the country.

President George M. Weah, the vision bearer of the National Road Fund

According GNN investigation, many of the donors including the African Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank (WB), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbei (GIZ), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC/NCAL), and the Liberian Government who have provided huge funding and technical support for the success of the National Road Fund of Liberia operations have lauded the tem at the NRF for the level of professional services.

The Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (IMSC) headed by the Minister of Public Works, Madam Ruth Coker-Collin

Sources closed to the GNN from the international donor community, exclusively confided in this writer how the management of the NRF has indeed proving to be one of  the most committed and reliable institutions in Liberia which  is extremely doing well as required by law, and further expending  in the holistic operations of the entity, pouring praises upon its professional honestly funds being collected from taxpayers.

According to sources also closed to the NRF, noted that  the  level of involvement and support from the  Liberian National Legislature and the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (IMSC) headed by the Minister of Public Works, Madam Ruth Coker-Collins, Hon, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., Minister of Finance & Development Planning, Hon, Samuel A. Wlue; Minister of Transport, Hon. Varney A. Sirleaf; Minister of Internal Affairs, and Hon. Mawine G. Diggs; Minister of Commerce as members of the IMSC for their policy decision is overwhelming making specific reference to some of the lawmakers who have made their mark in the successful operation of the NRF.

Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Ministry of Finance Development Planning, Member of the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (IMSC)

During GNN investigation at the National Legislature regarding the overwhelming support to the NRF it was overly observed that two members of the National Legislature, Bomi County Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe and Grand Bassa County District # 3 Representative Mathew Joe have been the exclusive supporting pillows of the NRF success at the legislature; their supports to the NRF have been publicly noticed by many Liberians.

Minister Samuel Wlue, Ministry of Transport, Member of the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (IMSC)

GNN investigation also revealed that two local road construction companies, the MDMC Express of John S. Youboty, Sr. , and the SSF Entrepreneur of  Sam Shawki Fawaz are said to be doing very well in the performing of contractual agreement with the National Road Fund (NRF) by providing  professional services in road maintenance.

According to information gathered by the GNN, funds generated from taxes paid by road users in Liberia have been equitably used by the NRF for the benefit of the greater Liberian population, especially the country’s road users throughout Liberia with the expenditure funds during 2020/21 annual road maintenance throughout the country being put at USD15,319,196.79.

Minister Varney A. Sirleaf, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Member of the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (IMSC)

According to NRF expenditure program budget by county, 12 of the 15 counties have benefited from the NRF maintenance road  works; Montserrado County the amount of USD9,132,026.48, Grabd Bassa County USD395,911.57, Margibi County USD1,415,809.14, River Cess USD804,263.39, Sinoe County USD285,782.82, Grand Kru USD104, 877.99, Grand Gedeh County USD200,000.00, Nimba County USD657,773,92, Bong County USD227,773.36, Lofa County USD439, 844.26, Gbapolu USD173,776.75, and Bomi County USD137, 272,27 while the Servicing of loans; support activities, partners’ activities and others received USD1,344,084.87.

Minister Mawine G. Diggs, Ministry of Commerce, Member of the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (IMSC)

Document in the possession of the GNN disclosed that during the fiscal year 2020/2021 a total of USD29,000.000 was approved by the National Legislature as fuel levy, USD3,500.000 loan was approved by the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (IMSC) of the National Road Fund for the Rehabilitation of the Marshall road by SSF Entrepreneur and a balance brought forward from commercial banks and the Escrow Account at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) which totaled USD5,450.088. , according to the NRF document, this made the total budgeted revenue in the FY2020/21 ARMEP USD37,950.088.

World Bank Headquarter

The NRF documents also disclosed that the monthly analysis of road maintenance fee collected by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) on behalf of the National Road Fund of Liberia during the fiscal year 2020/21 is summarized. The total equivalent amount collected by the LRA on behalf of the NRF during the period under review was USD24,256,474. , the document also said the total remittances made by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to the NRF Escrow Accounts at the Central Bank of Liberia from fuel levies collected by the LRA was USD22,636,104.40, whilst USD1,620,369.90 is the outstanding balance or balance due from the Liberian Government.

African Development Bank headquarter

According to the document, the variance between the budgeted fuel levy of USD29,000,000 and the actual fuel levy of USD22,895,013 remitted to the NRF  was USD6,363,896. These figures, according to the NRF document are based on the LRA report and reconciliation performed by the MFDP, LRA and the NRF.

One of the many NRF projects
Another sponsoired project of the NRF
Another NRF sponsored project
Another project by Ministry of Public Works sponsored by NRF

The NRF document also disclosed that the Marshall Loan was arranged by the Liberian Government, approved by the IMSC and guaranteed by the National Road Fud, according to the loan agreement, upon completion of the loan processing the bank, UBA Liberia Limited did transfer the cash directly to SSF Entrepreneur, the contractor for implementing the rehabilitation of the Marshall Road. Said road is an asphalt paved secondary road in Margibi County, the value of the loan was USD3,500,000.00., according to the document.

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Interest earned from the bank balances I commercial banks amounted to USD28,134.08 and balance brought forward from commercial banks and the Escrow Accounts totaled USD5,450,088. When the amounts are added to the loan and fuel he total actual income was USD31,614,326,48. According to the document, USD2,916,667 represents the loan provided to SSF for the Marshall road rehabilitation project.

The NRF document continues, “A total of USD8,555,065 was transferred to the Project Management Unit (PFMU) at the Ministry  of Finance Development Planning as portion of the Liberian Government contribution toward the Southeastern Corridor Road Asset Management Project (SECRAMP). It was used specifically for the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) payment for project affected persons from Ganta to Tapeta, and portion of the advanced payment for the implementing contractor, CICO”, the document continued, “An amount of USD430,000 was paid to the Ministry of Public Works for its administrative and operational costs which was an appropriation mad by the National Legislature in the FY2020/21 National Budget. USD452,393 was used for staff salaries and benefits for the last fiscal year and USD195,663 was used for supplies and consumables or goods and services”, the NFR document in the possession of this outlet disclosed.

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