President George Manneh Weah has officially launched a US$8m project to replace thatch and mud huts by modern housing units along major highways in Liberia’s 15 counties.
Under the project dubbed “Special Presidential Pro – Poor Housing Unit Project,” the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) is contracted to implement the construction of 564 housing units along the highways, with the initial construction of 283 modern houses due to commence in Sasstown, Grand Kru County.
Launching the project Wednesday, 20 June in Margibi County near Fendal Campus, Mr. Weah said his government wants to change the face of communities along the rural highway, noting that you cannot be building the roads and keep huts on the roads.
To finance construction of roads here, Mr. Weah’s government has recently signed two different loan agreements with two foreign institutions totaling nearly a billion US Dollars.
The President guarantees that the 15 counties here will be served in the implementation of the housing unit project, encouraging contractor LACE and those that will work along with the agency to be very fast, efficient and ensuring durability.
Mr. Weah says he lived in Sasstown since 1975 up to 1979 and he never had the opportunity to live in a home like the one to which he cut ribbon Wednesday.
Mr. Weah says today in this 21st century, the people he left in Sasstown are still living in huts, adding that this is modern era and it is time to change the condition and give them hope.
According to him, the pro – poor agenda is aimed at serving everyone, whether rich, middle class or poor.
The president assures that there will be affordable housing units too for those that want them, but notes that the current project is intended to lift people out of poverty to a sustainable development.
President Weah announces that the special presidential pro – poor housing units will be free of charge from the Government of Liberia, and therefore asks Liberians to pray with him so that the project does not stop in Margibi with the prototype.
He says no matter what is said about him, he will not stop doing what he is supposed to do for Liberians, stating that critics can go ahead and criticize him because criticism is a good thing.
Mr. Weah expresses thanks to LACE Executive Director Mr. Quiwu Yeke for making the effort to construct in Margibi County a prototype of what villagers always imagine than a hut.
Before cutting ribbon to the structure, Mr. Weah says the design is good and one would be happy to have such a residence, compared to a hut.
After launching the project, Mr. Weah later interacted with young people in the area, and heard their request to help them with scholarships for both academic and vocational schools.
He told them in response to work with Margibi County Sen. Oscar Cooper who was at the program, urging them to submit a list to the Senator so that their request can be addressed.
Mr. Weah says government is willing to support people in their quest to acquire education.
Earlier, LACE Executive Director Mr. Quiwu Yeke said President Weah is working tirelessly with his counterparts in ensuring the use of US$8m to complete 564 housing units with some latrines and handpumps.
He says the construction of the housings will be at no cost to the people in the rural areas, noting that it is President Weah’s way of identifying with the rural people.
Mr. Yeke says the program aims to ensure the achievement of economic justice by making available the initial 283 low cost housing units starting in Sasstown, Grand Kru County.
Under this project, Mr. Yeke says President Weah’s government seeks to reduce housing gap, strengthen and support poverty reduction and social protection, among others.
He announces that government will not go elsewhere to hire contractors for the project, but will instead use graduates of the Monrovia Vocational and Technical Center (MVTC) to execute the project.
He says he has already requested the Minister of Youth and Sports to send the listing of those that have just graduated from the MVTC so that they can help to build the country.
According to Mr. Yeke, the project will strongly support government’s pro – poor agenda by replacing huts by modern structures along major highways.
Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Mr. Nathaniel McGill says he is very happy to see the sample of how the housing units will look, assuring President Weah of Cabinet’s support.
Sen. Oscar Cooper also welcomes the project and pledges support, noting that when you see the mud and thatch houses in the rural areas, you wonder how the people and the children survive.
By Winston W. Parley