Liberia: Public Works Minister-designate Assured of Confirmation

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MONROVIA – Madam Ruth Coker-Collins has insisted the Ministry of Public Works satisfied contractors for payment by certificating them while the National Road Fund was the spending entity amid an audit report from the country’s General Auditing Commission.

Coker-Collins made the argument Friday when she came face-to-face with Senate Committee on Public Works during her confirmation hearing as Public Works Minister.

During Friday confirmation hearing, some senators were keen on how millions of dollars from the National Road Fund conducted by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) for two fiscal years July 1, 2018  to  June 30, 2020 wasn’t remitted to the road fund account as required by the act creating the National Road Fund or expended for the intended purpose.

Coker-Collins, who has been serving as acting public work minister since the death of Mabutu Nyenpan two years ago, said she’s best suited for the position, citing her long experience as deputy minister and her acting role as acting public works minister.

“Honourable senators, I’m a team player, I understand the workings of the ministry, and as a technical person, I come to the job with a lot of experience. If confirmed as minister, I would work  with my team of technicians to support the government’s agenda of road connectivity.”

Many senators who are members of the committee appeared impressed by her presentation and her performance, with many promising to ensure she’s confirmed as minister.

The senators, however,  cautioned Coker-Collins to continue to exert herself as minister by ensuring that roads, especially those leading to south-east of Liberia, are pliable during the rainy season. 

Coker-Collins was on May 4 nominated by President George Weah, replacing the late Nyenpan, who served in the capacity from 2018 to 2020.

If confirmed, Coker-Collins would have a herculean task overseeing Liberia’s infrastructural sector, with emphasis on the country’s road network of approximately 13000km.

Under her watch as Acting Public Works Minister, several projects have hit the ground running, including re-commissioning of the RIA Road Reconstruction and Modernization Plan, witnessing the arrival of South Korean Engineering and Consultancy Group, ilshin, the ongoing Special Presidential Lightning Project which will see over one thousand five hundred street lights across Monrovia and its environs;

ground breaking and subsequent commencement of the Ganta-Saclepea project in which Resettlement Action Plan is being worked on ahead of active civil works next year.

Within a relatively short period, Coker-Collins has ably executed the mandate of President Weah and has demonstrated the trust and sense of administrative continuity at the ministry, according to many.

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