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Feeder Road Contracts Face Threat of Termination for Poor Work

HomeAYV NewsFeeder Road Contracts Face Threat of Termination for Poor Work

Feeder Road Contracts Face Threat of Termination for Poor Work

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The importance of the roads when completed will ease transportation of agricultural commodities from those remote areas to the market for business.

The project is jointly funded by the World Bank, IDA and the Government of Sierra Leone.

The minister and team of experts started the week-long nationwide monitoring of the road works on Tuesday 26th November, 2019 and ended on Saturday the 30th.

The team meticulously assessed all the ongoing project implementations in the four regions to ascertain value for money.

Plying the length of each of the roads, the minister took his time to address the contractors or representatives on site, and also engaged stakeholders in the implementing communities to seek their views as direct beneficiaries of the project. He encouraged communities to own their units of the project and for them to openly speak out on what they feel about the ongoing works.

To both the contractors and community people, Minister Peter Bayuku Konteh underscored the importance of feeder roads for sustainable economic growth; and he made it unequivocally clear that Government was very passionate about the feeder roads project. He said the New Direction administration of President Maada Bio has road infrastructure as the second priority sector on his development agenda after education.

“I want to therefore, tell you that it is not going to be business as usual;  and more to that, I will not hesitate to terminate contracts awarded to companies that are doing sub-standard work and also lagging behind in implementation schedule,” he said.

The minister’s team comprised of his Deputy, Hon.. Philip Tetema Tondoneh, the Senior Permanent Secretary and a technical team of Works and the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) engineers.

SCADep projects are implemented under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS); and the road sub-project Supervised by the Works Ministry is part of government’s efforts at improving on rural road networks to enhance access to the markets by farmers.

The exercise was timely as it came out clear that feeder road constructions through SCADeP are fraught with problems of delay in implementation and sub-standard works being carried out by some of the contractors.

Furious at the discovery, the Minister thought it out that very soon the Ministry of Works will take the lead in all road construction works. He said for harmony and proper planning and design, it was but fitting that all road projects sponsored by NGOs, NaCSA  as well as SCADep go through the ministry.

“Government through the Ministry of Works will create road basket fund for all monies provided for road works from our development and donor partners to avoid duplication of responsibilities and to ensure financial prudence,” he noted.

The Minister particularly scolded God With Us Company that was given three roads to do in Moyamba District but has done very little six months into time line of fifteen months.

Generally, it was observed that work in Moyamba District is at a snail’s pace with questionable quality.

“Each of the contractors was given 30% payment so whosoever defaults will have his contract not only terminated but blacklisted by this government,” the minister cautioned, citing especially the case of God With Us Company.

There was some good news that of the six contractors, not all were condemned for quality as some were commended by the Minister when their works were approval by engineers and the SLRA  Director of Feeder Roads, Tamba Amara. But all are in default of lagging behind implementation time.

The contractors given accolade for quality work were NICO doing the feeder roads in Bonthe district and Unique Solutions doing work in Kailahun in the far east

Killing two birds with one stone, the untiring Minister and team took the opportunity to also inspect ongoing trunk road construction projects like the Moyamba – Moyamba Junction Road and the Bo – Matru Highway. The two roads are being done by First Tricon and there was no problem of quality.

Also visited were the Bonthe Municipality Township roads and the Sea Face Protection projects going on at very unsatisfactory and slow pace. A lot of concerns were raised by the Bonthe City Mayor regarding the capacity by First Tricon Construction Company to do the work effectively.

On the whole, the move to embark on the Monitoring and Evaluation exercise was lauded by community people and the contractors themselves. As he put ownership in the hands of the community people, he urged them to be vigorous and to speak out on what they see as not correct about the projects as beneficiaries.

They said it was the first time that a minister was physically undertaking monitoring of feeder roads. This got the nod of the contractors as Unique Solutions boss, Mohamed Deen very boldly admitted that for his over ten years in construction field, Bayuku Konteh is the only minister that has ever cared to come and physically inspect ongoing works. Similar sentiments were expresses by the District Chairmen of Bonthe and Kono districts.

Both Councillor Problyn and Gbondo gave hearty welcome to the monitoring team as they hailed the minister. They said such a move was motivational and would further spur contractors to take their works seriously.

The team will make a follow-up visit to the sites by mid-January 2020.

MWPA

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