Public Works Minister Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan says here publicly that he owes no apology for critics, who describe the controversy US$536 million road financing loan agreement between Singapore-based ETON Finance Limited and the Government of Liberia as a ‘bad’ financial deal.
Speaking Monday, 4 June before the Liberian Legislature Joint Committees on Public Works, Ways, Means, Finance, Budget and Judiciary, he says unpaved roads in southeast Liberia and other parts of the country is a national security threat that needs urgent attention.
Minister Nyenpan explains Liberia’s roads are about 11,000 kilometers, but less than 1,000 kilometers are paved, indicating that the remaining 94 percent of the country’s roads is unpaved.
He says due to lack of road network, majority of citizens in leeward counties face serious challenges, including poor health and high cost of living with teachers reneging to take up assignments in those counties that would deny them easy access to Monrovia.
Nyenpan, a former Senator of Sinoe County, informs the hearings that as head of the ministry responsible for public infrastructure in Liberia especially, roads, he would not relent in advising President George Weah to seek avenues, including loans to open roads connectivity throughout the country.
He maintains the Eton loan is one of the best agreements in the history of Liberia, arguing that 94 percent of road network here is inaccessible during rainy season, thereby making life unbearable and unacceptable for citizens.
The Works Minister discloses that already, government has concluded feasibility studies and other studies, ready to commence the project immediately once ratified by the 54th Legislature.
When endorsed by lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the loan will be used to finance pavement of estimated 503 kilometers of road that would connect the entire southeast Liberia to the rest of the country, including the capital, Monrovia.
Highways to be targeted include: Buchanan-Cestos City-Greenville-Barclayville road, Barclayville-Sasstown road, Barclayville-Pleebo road, Medina-Robertsport road and Tubmanburg-Bopolu road, respectively.
The loan would also cover construction of a vocational training centre in Greenville, mini soccer stadiums in Harper, Barclayville, Zwedru and Cestos cities, respectively. Western Liberian cities Robertsport and Bopolu would also benefit from the mini stadium project, according to President George Weah.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne