By State House Communication Unit
The 103 kilometer Bandajuma – Gendema Highway project was launched in Bandajuma Sowa, Pujehun district by President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Tuesday May 24, 2016. The project, linking Sierra Leone and Liberia, is the largest European Union (EU) project ever commissioned in the country. The president later proceeded to launch another 32.8 kilometer Moyamba Junction – Moyamba township road, and four bridges – Magbele, Mabang, Gbangbama and Moyamba Bridges at Moyamba junction on Wednesday May 25, 2016.
Speaking on the occasion, President Koroma referred to the two road projects as major EU projects simultaneously funded in the country. He said government takes infrastructure seriously and thanked the EU for its partnership, noting that his administration has a clear direction with priorities on education, health, energy, infrastructure, agriculture water and sanitation.
The President said the EU, African Development Bank, the World Bank and other development partners are confident and always ready to support his government. He reminded the mammoth gathering that the previous government didn’t properly handle EU funds to construct the first phase of the Songo – Moyamba, Lumley – Tokeh, and the Rogbere – Guinea border roads, which led to the withdrawal of EU support to Sierra Leone.
“It took me and my government 18 months to rebuild the country’s battered relationship with the EU by fully replenishing their funding at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank,” he pointed out, adding that “this is why the EU is today standing by us.”
President Koroma emphasized the importance of road network which government is indiscriminately doing across the country and for the national character of his leadership he said, is the reason why the EU and other development partners are always ready to support him.
“As I speak, I have received a call from the Kuwaiti government assuring me of support towards the Hillside bye-pass road,” he revealed.
At the launch of the Magbele and Magbang Bridges, President Koroma underscored the economic importance of the bridges, noting that they would connect the north- south and the west and this connectivity, he emphasized, would boom economic activities.
Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure Hon. Alhaji Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay commended the president for demonstrating leadership of national character, and thanked the EU for partnering with government in doing an 86 kilometers Freetown – Conakry road, 24 kilometers Freetown – Rogbere road and 162 kilometers Freetown – Bo road and now Bandajuma – Liberia road respectively.
The CSE Country Manager Amadou Gaye said the 103 kilometer road project including the construction of three bridges should, according to the project time line, be delivered in twenty – four months. He assured of completion of the project within the time frame.
Branch Representative of Monie Da Maa Serra Fortunato (MSF) Construction Company in charge of the 32.8 kilometer Moyamba-Junction to Moyamba Town road project, Mario Figueiredo, said the construction of the four bridges will be delivered in 24 months.
The Head of EU Delegation to Sierra Leone, Peter Versteeg also thanked President Koroma and all sectors involved in making the project a reality. He expressed the need for gender mainstreaming, and therefore encouraged CSE contractors to equally consider women during their recruitment of workers. He commended the government for its emphasis on infrastructure as a pillar in its Agenda for Prosperity and assured of EU’s continued support to Sierra Leone. The project costs 105 Million Euros.
Paramount Chief of Sowa chiefdom, Pujehun district, Chief Sowa described President Koroma as a leader with a true national character and thanked him for appointing Ambassador Dr Victor Bockarie Foh as Vice President of the country, and for the immediate construction of the bridge leading to Sowa town, which has greatly facilitated the movement of people in and out of the district.