Public Works Minister Mobutu Nyenpan Assures Lawmakers of Ganta-Southeastern Road Maintenance Work
By Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]
Capitol Hill, Monrovia – The Minister of Public Works, Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan has assured members of the House of Representatives that all is set for maintenance work on the Ganta-Zwedru road.
The 225 Kilometers road is one of the major road corridors in Liberia, linking several counties of the Southeast and neighboring Ivory Coast.
Every year during some parts of the rainy season – from June to October the road becomes hardly passable due to its deplorable condition caused by the rain, and thereby stalling economic activities.
Farmers and business people face difficulties in transporting their goods to the market. As a result, residents of the affected areas experience hardship as commodities including food and gasoline prices skyrocket. Even lawmakers from that part of the country hardly ply the route during the wet season.
To alleviate these difficulties encounter by Liberians plying the route and living in that part of the country, the Legislature has made several appropriations in the national budget for the past two years for continued maintenance of the road as a short tern solution while Government engages its bilateral and multilateral partners for the asphalt pavement as the long-term remedy.
However, a group of lawmakers from Nimba and the Southeast have complained that despite these allocations, no repair work is being carried out on the road.
In a communication adopted by plenary on Tuesday, June 9, the lawmakers summoned Minister Nyenpan to brief the House on plans put in place to keep the road passable during what is expected to be a turbulent rainy season.
“Resources are not very adequate to employ a full-scale intervention on this road. So, what we are trying to do is to keep the corridor pliable. We convened a technical meeting with our contractors to revisit our strategy because the pictures coming from that road are not very good.”
– Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan, Minister of Public Works
Minister Nyenpan, taking the witness’ stand after being administered the oath by the Sergeant-At-Arm, Brigadier General Gabriel Johnson on Tuesday, June 16 told plenary that a contractual agreement between a Chinese construction firm -CHICO has already been signed and work is expected to resume soon.
He said the agreement has been in place but was suspended because of the government’s failure to fully pay the company for its previous work on the road.
He also revealed the Government has just paid the company the amount of US$400,000 in arrears. And with the payment, the company is set to resume work on the Ganta-Zwedru road.
Speaking further, he said maintenance work will be split into two- a team from Zwedru towards Tappita and from Ganta to Tappita.
However, he lamented that resource are limited for a full-scale intervention.
“Resources are not very adequate to employ a full-scale intervention on this road. So, what we are trying to do is to keep the corridor pliable. We convened a technical meeting with our contractors to revisit our strategy because the pictures coming from that road are not very good,” he said.
The Minister also extended invitation to affected counties’ legislative caucuses to form part of a delegation to Nimba County over the weekend for the ceremony marking the resumption of work.
Meanwhile, Minister Nyenpan’s deliberations were greeted with mixed reactions from plenary. While some members lauded him for his detailed explanation and work done so far, others appeared cynical and called on him to ensure his plans become a reality.
Plenary then voted in favor of a motion by Rep. Kaine Wesso of Gbarpolu County, mandating the Minister to submit copies of his strategies and plans for the road work to the House’s Committee on public works within one week.