‘Hardship Intensifies In Rural Liberia’, Ex-Lawmaker Raises Alarm over Bad Roads
Monrovia – As the rainy season intensifies in Liberia, former Grand Kru County Representative Numene T. H. Bartekwa has alarmed that the deplorable condition of roads in rural Liberia is imposing more hardship on the already impoverished people.
Mr. Bartekwa disclosed that transportation cost continues to increase daily, especially for citizens travelling to and from the South-east because of the bad state of roads in the rural areas.
Mr. Bartekwa added that the prices of basic commodities continue to skyrocket because of the current situation.
“The bad road condition is causing hardship and hike in the prices in the leeward areas. This is on an annual basis; citizens experience more hardship every rainy season because, every rainy season, this happens. And it is undermining the growth and development of the national economy,” the former lawmaker said during a cellphone interview with FrontPageAfrica on Tuesday, June 16.
“Government should not only talk about or focus on roads in the capital. Primary roads construction is very important. Sooner or later, the entire Southeast will be closed. So, the government should do all it can by living up to its promise to include the primary roads that are in the country”.
He added that most often marketers, local and international entrepreneurs experience difficulties in transporting their produce and goods to the rural parts of the country.
He noted that the situation is negatively affecting economic activities in the leeward areas, particularly southeastern Liberians.
Mr. Bartekwa, however, urged the Ministry of Public Works to “play low” on the construction of neighborhood roads, and place more emphasis on the construction of roads in rural Liberia.
The former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Posts and Telecommunications said the bad road situation in rural Liberia will exacerbate if the government does not intervene urgently.
He noted that though government is going through enormous financial constraints, efforts must be applied to galvanize the needed resources to bring some level of relief to citizens residing and doing business in rural Liberia.
He said government should weigh in on options to find the best alternatives to address the deplorable road condition or help alleviate their citizens from poverty.
“The bad road condition is causing hardship and hike in the prices in the leeward areas. This is on an annual basis; citizens experience more hardship every rainy season because, every rainy season, this happens. And it is undermining the growth and development of the national economy,”Numene T. H. Bartekwa, Former Grand Kru County Representative
“Government needs to be sincere in investing highly in the Agro sector of our country. Let them empower people who are interested in the sector and give them the opportunity to acquire loans to build and add quality to the economy of the country. Government should encourage citizens to return to the soil. In fact, this will bring employment opportunities for our citizens,” he said.
Most often, Liberians blamed members of the Legislature for signing ‘bogus’ concession agreements that do not improve their living conditions.
They have consistently complained that concession companies have not been living up to the agreements signed with government to ensure the provision of better social and health services including the construction of schools, roads, and clinics, amongst others.
The citizens have also complained of illegally dismissal, suspension, or assault on the job, but nothing is done to ensure that they are serve justice.
According to the former Grand Kru County lawmaker, those accusing past or current members of the Legislature of signing ‘bogus’ concession agreements are novices to the workings of lawmakers.
Mr. Bartekwa disclosed that most often lawmakers support the passage of concession agreements based upon the need to help revive the economy and provide jobs for their constituents.
“I do not really like to give credence to people accusing the Legislature of signing bogus agreements. People desecrate the Legislature because they are not there and they do not know or they are not really aware of the problems the Legislature is faced with in supporting legislations for the sake of the country,” he said.
He admitted that although some concession companies do not live up to the agreements signed with the government, the situation cannot squarely be blamed on lawmakers.
“Legislators are always motivated whenever they see a concession coming into the country to contribute to economic viability. They take it as an opportunity to support their country”.
Mr. Bartekwa continued: “But unfortunately, when the agreement of that concession is signed and the area or sector they came to invest in is facing economic shock on the world market, our people will consider it to be bogus; and they accused legislators of signing bogus concession agreements”.
He claimed that concession agreements signed by the 53rd Legislature were in the interest of the country, contrary to the Moore Stephen’s report which alleged that over 60 concession agreements passed by the 53rd Legislature did not meet international standards.
Speaking further, Mr. Bartekwa indicated that the high level of redundancy of employees by some companies operating in Liberia, has immensely contributed to the downward trend of the country’s economy.
He, however, underscored the need for government and stakeholders to maintain the peace and collectively work together to mitigate the situation and help economically move the country forward.