“We want to easy for 2023 elections”
-Public Works Minister
By Ethel A Tweh
Public Works Minister Ruth Coker Collins says the ministry’s aim is to rehabilitate and construct major road corridors before the rainy season to ease mobility ahead of the 2023 general and presidential elections.
Mrs. Coker-Collins gave the assurance on Thursday, February 16, when she appeared before a Senate Committee a whole (a session presided over by the head of the Public Works Committee) along with Minister Samuel D. Tweah and the National Road Fund Director Boniface D. Satu.
According to Minister Coker Collins, the country has a total road network of 13,000 kilometers. Of this number, she said only 6% is paved, while 90% is unpaved. She added that primary roads constitute 18% of the entire road network.
In addition, she said 36% of the major roads are in good condition, while 52% of the major roads are in fair, poor and bad conditions.
The minister further explained that most of the paved primary roads are within Monsterrado County, stressing that more effort is needed to improve the road condition outside of Montserrado.
She continued that the government through the Ministry of Public Works is constructing and rehabilitating major roads outside Montserrado, which when completed will increase the road network from 36% to 42%.
Also speaking Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah said there are currently 408 kilometers of road network under construction, while there are plans to develop a further 900 kilometers of road. He added that road infrastructure is a massive program for the government.
Minster Tweah also explained that the National Road Fund for the last fiscal year collected US$23.6 million in revenue through the LRA.
He further explained that nearly US4 million was added to that amount by the government to bring the amount to US$26.9 million. These monies, he said, were used on road projects.
Acknowledging challenges in the past with the road funds, Tweah said 2021, 2022 and 2023 are the best years with no interference with road fund resources.
He says the institution of leverage responsible for road fund, transfer the road fund to do road works.
Meanwhile, Tweah narrated that cumulative road fund collection from 2018-2022 was US$108 million, while all leverage collected by the LRA was US$128 million.
Additionally, he explained that money transferred to the road fund over the same period was US$84.2 million.
According to him, the last recast budget didn’t affect the road fund, noting that the National Legislature does not consider the road fund when making re-appropriation. “The road fund is in a very solid place to continue financing roads”. He added.