By Ragan M. Conteh
The Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) has updated the Parliamentary Committees on Planning and Economic Development and Finance that the statuses of roads in Freetown are terrible.
The management has also updated MP’s on the statuses of the roads across the country and the general operations of the SLRA.
The aim of the meeting that took place at the SLRA’s PWD, Kissy office was to have a clear picture of its role in the implementation of the Medium Term National Development Plan, according to the Planning Committee chairman, Hon Musa Fofanah.
He explained that they normally summons Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) to Parliament and that the outcomes were always different.
He said they heard great things about the authority but meeting them in their offices would help MP’s have better insight before engaging the MOF and others before the review of the document.
According to him, it will also enhance them to write a comprehensive report that will be tabled before Parliament.
Hon Musa Fofanah also dilated on the Committees’ nationwide oversight tours in 2020 on most of the road projects, including Rogbele and Mabang bridges, while drawing the attention to the Kamakuwie road among others that were left behind by the previous administration that were yet to be completed, adding: ‘government is continuity’. He cited the achievements and challenges as key findings of the joint committees.
On behalf of the Committee on Finance, Hon Ibrahim B. Kamara opined that the meeting was not to probe the SLRA budget but that the institution was a critical component of the Medium Term Plan that requires key attention.
According to SLRA Director General Amara Kanneh, they now have a strategic plan to encourage development partners, unlike the previous years.
He explained that he had a capable team with the required expertise but lacks the resources to effectively perform.
The DG therefore highlighted some of the roads they have already completed, those under construction among other projects, noting that due to the heavy rains, most of the work had to stop.
Engineer Kanneh informed MP’s that the increase in pump price and change of market prices seriously affected their work.
He said they had also established a planning department to help them plan the roads well and to manage their assets, noting that, their work was within the framework of the Medium Term document.
He commended the committees for the engagement while admonishing them to press the necessary buttons to enable them access their allocations.
The Director of Planning and Research, engineer Vandy French, narrated that his department was formed to interpret government policies and that donor partners were always raising red flags on the management of roads.
Engineer Sullay Mamadu spoke on the roads leading to areas that could help them generate revenues, including the airport and seaports ‘mostly for tourist attraction’.
Mr Mamadu stressed that they also considered toll gates as a means of income generation for maintenance, adding that it could also help them to assess the assets that were depreciating.
He concluded that most of the terrible roads in the city were beyond patching and in need of an overhaul construction, disclosing that they lack the funds to do so at the moment due to a number of internal and external factors.
PC Hon Kanagbaro Sanka III said authorities should pay attention to the roads.
He marked a number of roads in the capital city that were difficult to drive on at the moment, yet the authorities cannot do anything to address the current poor condition of the roads.