The Success Story of NRF Under Boniface Satu Five Years’ Tenure – A Complete Report  

Boniface D. Satu, outgoing Head of the National Road Fund Liberia

The five years tenure of the Chief Executive Officer of the National Road Fund, (NRF), Mr. Boniface Satu has ended with a success story, as the new Acting Officer-In-Charge, who serves as Administrative Manager, Joseta Neufville-Wento has been named to steer the affairs of the entity until a new CEO is appointed.

Below are some major achievements and the background historicity of

Establishment of the National Road Fund-The National Road Fund of Liberia (NRF) was established in December 2016 by an act of Legislation to finance road infrastructures through maintenance and rehabilitation programs, ensuring that road assets are sustained, sufficiently funded for both periodic and routine maintenance.

The overarching aim is to allow maintained roads and bridges scale up trade facilitation, promoting local businesses and commerce, reduce cost of transportation of goods, people and services; improve access to markets, enhance economic integration, stimulate national competition and create employment. This drive is inscribed in Pillar two of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) as a 5-year National Development Plans (NDP) of the Government of Liberia.

Hiring of NRF Manager/CEO-The history of the recruitment process for the Road Fund Manager/CEO began in 2017 by Ellen J. Sirleaf government but did not get completed. In 2018, the current government of President George M. Weah ensued rigorous recruitment and selection process involving institutions from the public and private sectors, international organizations and civil society –including the Ministry of Public Works, the Ministry of Transport and the Liberia Revenue Authority, GIZ, World Bank, Millennium Challenge Corporations (MCC), European Union and USAID to facilitate the hiring of the National Road Fund Manager (CEO) of the Republic of Liberia. Mr. Boniface D. Satu was the most suitable and preferred candidate readily capable and professionally experience to lead the National Road Fund of Liberia, being the first of its kind. His initial responsibilities included a directive by the NRF Act to establish the Road Fund Office, institutionalize its functions, and operationalize the governance structure into a viable financial management institution that is transparent, accountable, effective and efficient for expending and financing road infrastructures.

The Basis of the National Road Fund Manager/CEO Selection-Mr. Satu is qualified with Master of Science Degree in Financial Management & Management Information Systems, Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA), Bachelor Degree in Finance and Bachelor of Science in Accounting & Finance. He also has many professional certificates and is trained with technical expertise managing Strategy at Global Market Place, project management Results Based Monitoring & Evaluation.

The Road Fund Manager/ CEO has incredible worth of expertise and has over 26 years of outstanding experience in working with the Public and Private Sectors organizations, Regional and Multinational Organizations-including USAID Projects, United Nations (WHO) and World Bank Projects. He has worked in the United States of America for over 10 years and over 17 years of professional working in Liberia.

Mr. Satu is currently implement an annual budget of over 25 million of the National Road Fund to finance road infrastructure and has previously managed Financial Portfolios for the World Bank Economic Governance and Institutional Reform Project in the amount of $18million, and has provided technical support to the World Bank $16million funded Project titled– West Africa Regional Fisheries Project (WARFP).

He also served as Coordinator and Deputy Chief of Party for the USAID Fielder Road 24 million dollars Project for Liberia in 2015. Liberia Road Infrastructure-Prior to the establishment of the National Road Fund, funding was inadequate to finance the maintenance of 11, 432 km road network; hence hindering trade and commerce throughout the country.

According to the first ever Road Condition Survey conducted the World bank in Liberia, there are approximately 90% – 95% (ninety to ninety-five percent) 11,424 km of road network unpaved and 60% of the unpaved were in poor condition. The report also revealed that Liberia will need approximately 1 to 2 billion United States Dollars to build Liberia’s road infrastructure to an appreciated international standard.

Annual Achievements

Section 4.3 of the National Road Fund Act sets the basis for the annual reviews of the NRF Manager and shall serve as a legitimate reason for the manager’s retention and renewal of contract. In view of Section 4.3, the IMSC should have evaluated the NRF manager annually in order to determine is performance in terms of progress, challenges, technical and behavioral competencies and knowledge capacity to manage, administrate and lead the National Road Fund of Liberia.

In accordance with Section 4.3, the NRF manager has outlined his achievements as a matter of self-evaluation for the periods of five (5) years (2018-2023); for the consideration of his legitimate retention and renewal of contract, based on performance. These are as followed year by year:

2018 Achievements

1. Managed and administrated the NRF, its finances and resources in a transparent, accountable, efficient and effective manner; consistent with the PFM law of Liberia and donor funding requirements (where applicable)

2. Established and Operationalized the NRF Office

3. Furnished the NRF office and secured supplies, logistics and office equipment

4. Recruited competent and resourceful staff

5. Opened bank accounts at the following banks (UBALL, ECOBANK, LBDI, CBL)

6. Facilitated the transfer of fuel levy to the NRF Accounts

7. Managed the GIZ fund for spot repairs in Montserrado County

8. Prepared the ARMEP as strategic roadmap for road infrastructures

9. Transferred of funds into the accounts for financing of the ARMEP,

10. Ensured adherence to the MC-AL Condition Precedence (transferred US$4.5M  to UBALL, SECRAMP as beginning balance for matching fund, and prepared the SOPs)

11. Recorded and tracked fuel levies and expenditures within the period

12. Applied and received loan for financing the ARMEP amount US$3.5M for all

PSIP

13. Prepared monthly, quarterly and annual reports and financial statements

14. Served as secretary to the regular IMSC Meetings

15. Prepared monthly, quarterly and annual reports and financial statements

2019 achievements

1. Managed and administrated the NRF, its finances and resources in a transparent, accountable, efficient and effective manner; consistent with the

PFM law of Liberia and donor funding requirements (where applicable)

2. Engaged with development partners, civil society organizations and others to create the awareness of the NRF

3. Opened additional accounts (IBLL, GLOBAL BANK, GT-BANK)

4. Transferred of fuel levy to the CBL Escrow Accounts,

5. Relocated the NRF Office from the MFDP to Payne Avenue, Sinkor 9th & 10th

Streets,

6. Established membership to IRF, ARMFA, WARFA and others road fund associations

7. Financed the ARMEP Program

8. Maintained the matching fund accounts at UBALL

9. Recruited Parker & Co CPA Firm to select accounting software (Sage ERP)

10. Serve as secretary to the IMSC in its regular meetings

11. Prepared monthly, quarterly and annual reports and financial statements

12. Study tour (Legislatures, AFDB, MPW, NRF) of two African Countries Ghana & Tanzania. Study to Sierra Leone with (Legislatures, AFDB, MPW, NRF)

2020 achievements

1. Managed and administrated the NRF, its finances and resources in a

transparent, accountable, efficient and effective manner; consistent with the

PFM law of Liberia and donor funding requirements (where applicable)

2. Engaged with development partners, civil society organizations and others to create the awareness of the NRF

3. Conducted the General Auditing Commission Audit for two fiscal years  (2018/2019 & 2019/2020) that resulted into an “Unqualified Opinions”

4. Paid all membership fees for International Road Federation, West African Road Fund Association and African Road Maintenance Fund Association

5. Attended membership to IRF, ARMFA, WARFA conferences

6. Applied and received of loan for financing the of the Marshall Road amount  US$3.5M

7. Maintained all NRF’s accounts at all banks

8. Served as secretary to the IMSC in its regular meetings

9. Prepared monthly, quarterly and annual reports and financial statement

2021 Special budget year achievements

1. Managed and administrated the NRF, its finances and resources in a

transparent, accountable, efficient and effective manner; consistent with the

PFM law of Liberia and donor funding requirements (where applicable)

2. Engaged with development partners, civil society organizations and others to

create the awareness of the NRF,

3. Paid all membership fees for International Road Federation, West African Road

Fund Association and African Road Maintenance Fund Association

4. Attended to the membership conferences of IRF, ARMFA, WARFA

5. Applied and received of loan for financing the of the Marshall Road amount

US$3.5M

6. Maintained all NRF accounts at all banks

7. Effected payment of license and implementation of Sage ERP Software

8. Served as secretary to the IMSC in its regular meetings

9. Prepared monthly, quarterly and annual reports and financial statements

2021 achievements

1. Managed and administrated the NRF, its finances and resources in a

transparent, accountable, efficient and effective manner; consistent with the

PFM law of Liberia and donor funding requirements (where applicable)

2. Engaged with development partners, civil society organizations and others to

create the awareness of the NRF,

3. Paid all membership fees for International Road Federation, West African Road

Fund Association and African Road Maintenance Fund Association

4. Attended membership conferences of IRF, WARFA

5. Payment of loans (up to 80%) contracted towards road infrastructures

financing

6. Maintained of all NRF accounts at all banks

7. The payment of license and implementation of Sage ERP Software

8. Served as secretary to the IMSC in its regular meetings

9. Prepared monthly, quarterly and annual reports and financial statements

2022 achievements

1. Managed and administrated the NRF, its finances and resources in a

transparent, accountable, efficient and effective manner; consistent with the

PFM law of Liberia and donor funding requirements (where applicable)

2. Engagement with development partners, civil society organizations and others

to create the awareness of the NRF,

3. Paid all membership fees for International Road Federation, West African Road

Fund Association and African Road Maintenance Fund Association

4. Attended membership conferences of IRF, ARMFA

5. Effected Payment of loans contracted

6. Maintained all NRF accounts at all banks

7. The payment of license and implementation of Sage ERP software

8. Served as secretary to the IMSC in its regular meetings

9. Prepared monthly, quarterly and annual reports and financial statements

Selective Notes to Achievements

Operationalization of the National Road Fund- the operationalization of the NRF came through the development of a Strategic Management Framework that gained support from the donor community and attracted technical and financial support.

The African Development Bank (AFDB) procures four (4) vehicles, office furniture and equipment for office set up, the GIZ contributed one vehicle, internet modems and additional office furniture, the World Bank provided technical support and acquired the Sage 300 for NRF Financial Management System (where all of NRF financial transactions occur and is currently producing timely financial reports). Finally, the, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) provide one pickup, several equipment’s, office furniture and GPS for the office use.

The National Road Fund Act requires the Fund Manager to work directly with the Inter[1]Ministerial Steering Committee to facilitate, support and provide cooperation from all sectors and ensure all policies, procedures, are provided to allow the provisions of this Act to be achieved fully. In full guidance, the NRF manager initiated operationalizing the National Road Fund by hiring professional financial experts, technical engineers, season administrators and other specialists.

The team and external consultants worked to established policies, processes and procedures affecting pubic financial management and procurement; developed a five-year annual road infrastructure maintenance programs and strategies for proceeding with intervention and financing.

Road Infrastructure Financing and Budgetary Allocations-Since its inception, the National Road Fund has been supported from fuel levies estimated in the National Budget and collected by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA). In the last five (5) years, collections by the LRA has amounts to $108 million and remittances to the National Road Fund in the same periods is $84 million. This suggests that 78% of its five years financing obligations to contractors has been executed through transparency and accountability. In this respect, the Annual Road Maintenance and Expenditure Program has financed the rehabilitation of 66.41km, maintained 948.44 kilometers and under the emergency program financed 57.5 kilometers of roads across Liberia.

Moreover, in 2019, the National Road Fund participated in the development of the World Bank SECRAMP project for the Ganta to Tappitta corridor of 100km road, securing approximately eight (8) million USD for the payment of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP), Mobilization and Advisory Service fees and the initial disbursement was planned for the first 30km and to start the entire project. This implementation leveraged opportunity for Public Private Partnership. In the same year, the NRF got qualified to receive contribution from Millennium Challenge Corporations (MCC) 15million by meeting 11 conditional precedents for donors funding obligations.

In the Fiscal Year 2020 the NRF Management secured a credit facilitate of more than eight (8) million dollars from the United bank of Africa (UBA) to finance the completion of the Marshall Road 6.1 km and the construction of many community roads and bridges across Liberia. In the same vein, the NRF secured overdrafts from UBA amounting to approximately 13 million as bridge financing, essentially due to delays in transfers from Gol and funding gaps. These monies have been payoff to the United Bank of Africa.

Additionally, in December 2022, the National Road Fund secured one million USD from the World Bank to support employees’ capacity building in order to optimize productivity. In 2023, the Fund Management has also undertaken Domestic Resource Mobilization assessment to establish potential revenues streams to complement the fuel levy in order to continue financing road infrastructure maintenance and rehabilitation-including axle load control capable highway toll bridges, vehicle registration, driver licenses, tax expenditures on roads projects. The additional revenues identified are estimated around 25 million in those additional revenue streams.

Reporting Requirements-From 2018 to 2023, the National Road Fund of Liberia has met all reporting requirements and obligations covering monthly, quarterly and yearly financial and expenditure reports. Moreover, the NRF collaborates with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Liberia Revenue Authority to reconcile revenue collections and remittances to the NRF.

In October 2022, the General Auditing Commission of Liberia issued a two-year Unqualified Opinion report on the National Road Fund financial statement and several other audits and peer review, making it one of the very institution in the Republic of Liberia excellent audit records, placing the National Road Fund as a credible Financial Management institution void of misapplication, misappropriation, corruption and mismanagement of public fund.

International Collaboration-The NRF has membership with two international body namely, African Road Fund Maintenance Association (ARFMA) consisting of 34 countries, 9 of which are in West, East and Central Africa; and the International Road Federation based in the United States of America with 113 countries worldwide.

Study Tour – (Legislatures, AFDB, MPW, NRF) of two African Countries Ghana  

Tanzania. Study to Sierra Leone with (Legislatures, AFDB, MPW, NRF)

Research & Development Study: The National Road Fund is proactively avowing preventive efforts to mitigate the risks of revenue shortfall in financing of road and bridge maintenance works. This summary report gives options with projections of as sources for domestic revenue mobilizations:

1) Potential Revenues Sources Options

a. Implementation of Toll System on Selected Highways

b. Axle Load Control

2) Alternative Sources of Revenues

a. Fees on Vehicle Registration

b. Drivers’ licenses

c. Traffic violation fines

d. City parking fees

e. Vehicle Insurance (Private Sector)

f. Levying flat rate tax on Earth Moving Equipment

g. Revenue sharing mechanism on import duties from imported vehicles

h. Cancelling and redirecting all duties waivers on GS granted through waivers and tax incentives on petroleum product importation. This will cover: i. Concession ii. Investment Incentive iii. Government Project.

Instruction

The evaluation is based on performance objectives consistent with the National Road

Fund Act, reference to the responsibilities, tasks, and activities associated with section 4.2, functions of the National Road Fund Manager.

Weighting here is only a guide so Employee and Supervisor agree on priorities and objectives.

1. Weight each objective based on its importance out of 10%—either to perform on a regular basis or to complete within the year.

2. The success or failure is numerically measured as output as being tracked based on results.

3. Performance targets achieved are defined based on a revision by the employee’s self-review, comments, and rating of performance using a scale of 4 to 10 as defined below:

— 4 Needs Some Development (Delivers results inconsistently. Knows the job, and maybe a passive learner. May adapt to new situations if necessary)

— 6% Meets Expectations (Consistently meets expectations. Knows current job well and enhances skills as appropriate. Can adapt to new situations as necessary)

— 8% Exceed Expectations (Outstanding, clearest example of superior performance and potential. Has the ability to take on major stretch assignments in new areas. Will challenge the organization to provide growth opportunities fast enough)

— 10% Outstanding Performance (Consistently produces exceptional results and high-performance ratings. Knows current job extremely well).

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