Your trusted place for Sierra Leone and global news
HomeFeaturedWhy blame Jento Construction Company?

Why blame Jento Construction Company?

Why blame Jento Construction Company?

Solar street lights in Freetown and the 149 chiefdom headquarter towns in the country.

According to the news release issued by the Procurement Unit of the Ministry of Energy, the request for the Expression of Interest (EOI) followed the successful piloting of 8,888 solar street lights installed nationwide funded by the Indian Exim Bank, the Government of Sierra Leone and EBID.  But two years on, we are yet to see any sign of the solar street lights projects in our towns and cities, save for the existing ones, states the report in Platinum Media.

Platinum also dilated on the contract awarded to Jento Construction Company by alleging that pedestrians and motorists in Freetown have expressed concern over the slow pace at which the Kingharman Road, Hill Cut Road and Hill Station Road are being constructed by the company. Its report states that what is shocking is the fact that the same company has been awarded another contract to construct the Waterloo township roads. The media outfit considers the move as a blatant disregard to Sierra Leoneans who need more good roads to enhance their daily movement.

According to our observation, Platinum Media states that this is a clear reward for failure as the Jento Group has spent more than three years constructing these roads. It called on Government for an immediate review of the solar street lights projects and the Jento Construction Company’s road contracts, noting that our people deserve better.

The issues raised by Platinum Media in the social media about both the solar street lights project nationwide and the road projects in Freetown are two pertinent development programmes which are of great public interest given the necessity of light and roads to national development. These are some of the national issues we should be raising as responsible media practitioners especially when we present such information without attaching ourselves to it or being subjective in our presentations.

Truth is that the delays in the implementation of both the solar street lights and the road projects Platinum Media reported about in the social media are a matter of concern to every Sierra Leonean. But one of the main reasons why the public is most often not privy to information on contracts awarded by Government is the too much bureaucratic bottlenecks and secrecy in the day-to-day running of the state administration.

For example, hardly would Government pronounce the cost of contracts being awarded to contractors for implementation or concede to undue delays in the disbursement of funds to contractors to enhance the implementation of those projects. But most times the general public will blame the contractors implementing those projects for the slow pace at which they are being implemented without recourse to delays in the disbursement of funds by Government to enhance the implementation process.  Sometimes the contractors have to pre-finance the contracts to enhance the project implementation before the first tranche of payment would be disbursed by Government. The under-the-table kickbacks which Government officials always demand from contractors prior to the award of contracts also plays a key role in delaying or fast-tracking Government projects.

By and large, delay in the implementation of the solar street lights project is a matter of concern to all Sierra Leoneans especially when not even 20% of the project has been implemented since 2014. Much publication was made by the APC Government about the so-called project but it all started on bad footing when it was reported and confirmed that some unscrupulous politicians and local authorities had many of the 8,888 solar street lights installed in their private compounds instead of been installed in the streets and essential Government institutions and facilities like hospitals, schools, national parks, roundabouts, amongst others.

Many Government officials and politicians were accused of ordering to have the solar street lights installed in their compounds in the provinces but the whole issue died down naturally and Government had never come out with any statement on how far the project implementation has gone or why it has been delayed. Amidst all of this, some people may be thinking that the delay in the project implementation is due to the incompetence of the contractor while others may have the feeling that Government does not owe up to its responsibility in terms of disbursement of funds to enhance the implementation process.

Be that as it may, Government awarded Jento Construction Company the Freetown road project because it has proved its competence in terms of performances and fulfilment of its tax obligations over the years. Claims made by Platinum Media that the construction of Kingharman Road, Hill Cut Road and Hill Station Road by Jento Construction Company has either stuck or going at a chameleonic pace apparently as a result of incompetence are very unfair to the company. The media outfit also claimed that “what is shocking is the fact that the same company has been awarded another contract to construct the Waterloo township roads… as a reward for failure,” which I consider as an insult to the company when you consider the number of construction projects it has successfully implemented over the years.

I challenge the Platinum Media that the slow pace at which the implementation of Kingharman Road, Hill Cut Road and Hill Station Road is going is not the fault of Jento Construction Company but Government which has delayed the disbursement of funds to the contractor to enhance the road works. For example, I was reliably informed by a very senior official at the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) that the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) has failed to disburse over Le10 billion to Jento Construction Company for the Freetown roads project which Platinum Media referred to in the social media.  So the Government may have awarded another contract to the company in order to compensate for its failure to honour its huge financial obligation to the company which has delayed the Freetown roads project.

Besides, Jento Construction Company is one of the most reputable construction companies that have been pre-financing Government contracts for which Government owes it billions of Leones. For example, since the company constructed the new embankment at Government Wharf which was a Le5 billion project, it has only received 50% of that amount from Government. Yet, it is still pre-financing other projects for which Government owes it mouth-watering sum. But has anybody ever lashed out at Government for owing Jento Construction Company so much money it should have paid by now?

I believe Government should encourage the indigenous construction companies by empowering them to compete healthily with the foreign owned companies that have more capital. One way of empowering them is the prompt disbursement of funds for projects awarded to them instead of holding on to them which often results to the slow pace of project implementation.  And at the end of the day, the companies are blamed unnecessarily for the delay of project implementation without knowing the financial implications involved in the delay.

We as Sierra Leoneans should also always learn to encourage our indigenous construction companies by rebranding their image at home and abroad instead of pulling them down for personal and selfish reasons. After all, how many affluent Sierra Leoneans have invested massively in construction companies like the young and industrious proprietor of Jento Construction Company?  They are extremely few, but there are still some vindictive Sierra Leoneans trying to muddy the reputation of the company and its hard working proprietor.

Stay with Sierra Express Media, for your trusted place in news!

© 2016, https:. All rights reserved.

Share With:
Rate This Article
No Comments

Leave A Comment