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Works minister launches validation workshop

Works minister launches validation workshop

The Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructural Development, Alimamy P. Koroma (in photo) on Thursday 19th August 2010 launched a one-day validation workshop for a National Infrastructure Policy at the Miatta Conference Hall Freetown.

The workshop which was also attended by the Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, Denis Sandi, aimed at adopting a comprehensive policy and legislative framework on the infrastructure development of the country.

Speaking at the workshop, the chairman of the programme who also doubles as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works, Mr. A.M. Bockarie extended a warm welcome to participants and reiterated the aim of the workshop, stressing that the workshop was intended to validate the recommendations made during the previous regional workshops held in Freetown from the 18th to 19th August 2008.

Those workshops, he said, replicated in Makeni on 30th November, 2nd December in Kenema and 4th December in Bo, respectively.

He said the goal of the previous workshops was to develop a national infrastructure development policy and the objects of those workshops was three-fold, namely, to collect information on the current provision of infrastructure services and facilities in the country; identify the inadequacies/deficiencies in the provision of infrastructure services and facilities and to make recommendation for the preparation and implementation of a national infrastructure policy.

He added that the workshops which were attended by highly skilled professionals in the development of infrastructure service and facilities ended with recommendations by the participants, which included the creation of an institutional and legislative framework for the provision and development of infrastructure services and facilities.

The PS stated that the just ended workshop would look at the importance of infrastructure policy, planning, co-ordination/collaboration, setting of standards and processes they have already achieved.

The Minister of Lands Country Planning and the Environment, Denis Sandi said he was pleased to be part of the workshop as his presence explained the closeness of his ministry to that of the Ministry of Works, which he referred to as important ministries when it comes to infrastructural development.

He encouraged participants to take the workshop seriously as it was geared towards the infrastructural development of the country and pledged his ministry’s support to the outcome of the workshop.

In his keynote address, the Minister of Works, Alimamy P. Koroma described the workshop as another important landmark in the country’s long struggle to attain a compressive policy and legislation on the infrastructure development of the country.

The minister noted that the workshop was a culminating action that would enable participants to take closer look at the draft policy and legislation with a view to putting the final touches to fine tune the documents for the attention of cabinet and parliament for ratification.

He added that infrastructure is the cornerstone for our socio-economic development, as its covers a wide spectrum of development needs encompassing roads network, water, railways, airport building, electricity network, sea transportation and the likes.

Mr. Koroma maintained that infrastructure is a vital sector that determines our economic growth and needs to be treated and accorded top most priority in our development strategies.

Infrastructure, he went on, is precisely a focus on President Koroma’s agenda since he assumed the reins of political authority for the administration and management of our country’s infrastructures. He said his ministry, like all other government ministries that transform policies of government into actions, has been working relentlessly to bring about a formidable national strategy to guide our infrastructure development.

Speaking further, Mr. Koroma said the content of the policy requires an International Framework to regulate the activities of all service providers in infrastructure.

The recommendation for the establishment of a National Infrastructure Development Commission will coordinate and monitor the construction industry for standardization and safety in all towns and cities across Sierra Leone.

The minister cited examples, such as the collapse of buildings on hillside and slum areas resulting in the loss of lives and property which he said are pointers to the urgent need to have a robust body that will enforce our laws on the development and control of our topography especially in urban environment.

The minister emphasized that the commission would require a strong mandate to act decisively on all aspects of infrastructure in both the private and public sectors. It would require the cooperation of all MDAs and the support of development partners for the operations.

Mr. Koroma maintained that the commission should be established by an Act of Parliament that would detail its composition and function. He encouraged the participants to carefully study the draft so that they would agree on the nitty-gritty that would make the Act an instrument that will stand the test of time.

He finally appealed to participants to have patriotic spirit and do justice to the task that his ministry has put before them, bearing in mind that this is a national course.

Representatives from SALWACO and Institute on Architect made statements during which they pledged their support to the policy.

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