Liberia: House Launches Inquiry over Delay of Gbarnga-Konia Road Construction Project

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Capitol Hill, Monrovia – Plenary of the House of Representative has mandated its Committee on Public Works to launch an inquiry into the abrupt standstill of the Gbarnga-Konia highway project.

Plenary’s decision was based on a communication jointly written by several lawmakers of Lofa County calling for the House’s intervention over the delay in the road construction project.

“… It can be recalled that the implementation of the above named project commenced barely three years ago; but abruptly came to a standstill more than six months now without any explanation or cause given by authorities of the Public Works Ministry. We are therefore left with no alternative but to seek the intervention of Plenary.”

Following the reading of the communication written by Representatives Francis Sakila Nyumalin, Sr. (District #1) Julie Fatorma Wiah (District #2) and Cllr. Beyan D. Haword (District #5) on Tuesday, Plenary mandated its Committee on Public Works to take siege of the communication and report within a week.

Plenary’s decision was in line with a motion filed by Rep. Ivar Jones of Margibi County District #2, calling for the Minister of Public Works and principal deputies to appear before the Committee give reasons for the abrupt stalling of the road construction.

The Gbarnga-Konia highway project is phase one of the multi-million dollar Gbarnga-Mendikorma which was negotiated by the Ellen Johson Sirleaf’s administration in 2017. Construction work began in 2018 under the George Weah’s administration.

The government at the time placed the cost of the 131 kilometers road project at US$184.7m over a duration period of 36 months as of the commencement date. It is again subdivided into two sections, with section one covering the Gbarnga- Salayea (81 km) and Section two, Salayea-Konia (50km).

Meanwhile, phase two of entire Gbarnga-Konia-Mendikoma Road Project covers the 143 km Konia-Voinjama-Mendikoma Road.

The contractor is China Henan International Cooperation Group Limited (CHICO) and the monitoring consultant is the Saudi Consulting Services Company (SAUDCONSULT) of Saudi Arabia in conjunction with Tristar Collaborative Engineering and Construction Consultant Liberia.

The donors for the project, as announced by the government include the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), and OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).

It can be recalled that President Weah’s presence at the groundbreaking ceremony of the road back in 2017 when he was then an opposition presidential candidate sparked outrage among members of the then ruling Unity Party.

Since as election, President Weah’s administration has made road construction its top priority, as it continues to negotiate with major donors and multilateral agencies to secure loan for construction of major roads connecting the counties and neighboring countries.

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