PMs investigate road construction project in Kabala and Kono
The Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Works, Housing and Infrastructure has over the past weeks be engaging road construction contractors from across the country to explain their constraints and mad out possible solutions that enhances quality work and speedy completion of projects. The Committee after listening to the concerns of various contractors and some of their successes scored, decided to visit the various project sites to get a firsthand knowledge of what is been said during their meetings. Well Group Sierra Leone Limited is contracted by the Government of Sierra Leone to construct 20.5km feeder roads in Koidu City and 5km roads in Kabala Town. (Photo: Parliamentary Committee on Works )
The Parliamentary Committee on Works headed by Honourable Kombor Kamara of the All Peoples Congress Party (APC) stormed Koidu City and Kabala Town on Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23 July 2013 respectively to assess work done by Well Group and will at the end of the day put together a report that will be forwarded to President Ernest Bai Koroma and discussed in the House of Parliament the findings and recommendations.
The Political Messi of the ruling party led his Committee to various project areas like drainages, quarry, crushing site, company offices and other areas of interest.
He informed this press that it is the duty of the Committee to protect contractors if only they have genuine concerns, which is part of the development process of the country.
Committee Members were very much impressed to see a massive work done by a Sierra Leonean company headed by Sahr Ngegba. In the face of financial constraints, members of the Oversight Committee were happy to see old culverts replaced, most of the pipe culverts changed to new box culverts as contained in the project agreement etc.
The Committee Chairman informed this press that they’ll have to study the project document to know the project design, how many drainages to be done, the cost involved and how much government has provided.
The Committee, according to Hon. Kombor found out that there are so many challenges causing setbacks to the project. He revealed that there is big political division in Kono, which disturbs the road project. Also, he has they were told that the Contractor has only received 20% of the project cost, which has served as bottleneck to the timeline of the project. “We noticed that kickbacks are also affecting road projects in this country. If contractors are tasked to pay 20% or 30% of the project cost to authorities, it affects the work to be done,” he said, and assured that Parliament will not sit by looking at some of these odds affecting development. He promised that by Tuesday next week the Committee will complete its report and submit it to the relevant authorities.
He admonished the people of Koidu City and Kabala Town to be patient as the Committee will ensure that road construction problem will soon be a thing of the past.
Sahr Ngegba is the Managing Director of Well Group Limited said it is a major evidence that political undertone is causing setback to the project. “If only the politicians allow me to do the work, then I’ll assure that everybody will walk on tarred road roads,” he said, and noted that “I am a businessman and not a politician. I must be allowed to do my job.”
Mr. Ngegba revealed that the scope of work has doubled to two and a half time, yet government has only provided 20% of the project cost. “We have bought equipment and materials to proceed with the work. It is frustrating to realize that I had to secure bank loans to buy material in order to keep work ongoing, yet government is not meeting its financial commitment,” the MD said.
In spite of the fact that the Director General of Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) have signed performance certificate to ensure payment for some aspect of the project, Well group is yet to receive billions of Leones from government.
“My determination is greater than ever. We have to take the lead as Sierra Leoneans and we must stop crying down our fellow men without looking at various parameters,” he added.
Abu Bakarr Kargbo
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