The President Pro – Tempore of the Liberian Senate Albert Chie says the coastal road project announced by President George Manneh Weah in his first Annual Message is unachievable in contemporary economy, giving technical reasons and financial concerns.
“There are about 75 rivers flowing into the ocean and the persistent erosion that is affecting the coastal counties and it could cause the country billions of United States Dollars. I think … Liberia as country cannot afford cost attached to such project,” Sen. Chie told a press conference Tuesday, 24 April at the Capitol Building.
Senator Albert Chie, who teaches Geology at the University of Liberia (UL), observes that Liberia has many rivers flowing into the Atlantic Ocean nurtured with the growing erosion that are affecting the coastal counties.
He says the coastal road project is a good idea, but it’s one that is impossible because it is costly and the country cannot afford it. According to Sen. Chie, the best option for the Weah led – government is to undertake pavement of existing roads from Grand Bassa through Grand Kru to Maryland Counties, rather than considering a coastal road at this time.
“The Senate welcomes the plan of paving … the existing stretch [of] road between Buchanan, Grand Bassa and Pleebo, Maryland Counties,” he says.President Weah in January promised that his administration would construct a coastal highway from Buchanan to Harper, which could eventually end the isolation of six south-eastern counties.
“There is a medium-term project which will take several years to complete, but it is the intention of my government to prioritize the planning and raising of funding for this important development goal, which has been estimated to cost approximately three billion dollars,” Mr. Weah told lawmakers in his first Annual Message this year.
The Executive Branch is said to be engaged in talks with financial institutions for a loan to construct crucial road segments as well as other roads leading to Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount Counties at a cost of approximately US$535 million.
Commenting on the government’s pronouncement about loan agreement for the road pavement project, he notes that if a loan agreement has been signed, it will be sent to the Legislature for ratification.
“The ratification process will involve public discourse on the instrument and will not be hidden. We want to assure the public that the Senate will ensure any loan incurred will be within the confines of good governance and will be used for the intended purpose,” he concludes.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley