STAFF OF MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT INSPECT FEEDER ROADS REHABILITATION PROJECT
In fulfillment of its mission of promoting leadership in policy formulation, coordination, standard setting and oversight in order to ensure democratic local governance responsive to the aspirations of the people by promoting good governance, maintenance of peace, and the provision of services to improve the welfare of the people, especially the “rural poor ”a team, comprising senior staff of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in collaboration with some district councils officials on Saturday, 15th and Sunday, 16th August, 2020, embarked on an inspection tour of Feeder Roads Projects implemented by the Small Holder Commercialization Agribusiness Development Programme, SCaDEP in Kono, Tonkolili and Portloko districts.
The 142 Kilometer feeder roads project which is implemented in six districts – Kono, Moyamba, Portloko, Tonkolili, Bonthe and Kailahun with funds from donor partners is expected to create vital links between communities and enhance socio-economic development in the regions. Addressing the team before their departure, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Tamba Sylvanus Lamina who led the team, said the main thrust of the exercise is to gauge the contractors level of performance and progress made so far in the implementation of the projects. He stressed the importance of the project and expressed the need to organize a meeting of key stakeholders, involving staff of the ministry, SCaDEP and local councils with a view to identifying and addressing challenges facing the project.
Speaking to beneficiaries of the roads project, the leader of the team who is also Deputy Secretary in the ministry of Local Government, Ibrahim Sorie Kamara emphasized government’s commitment to promoting peace and development in their communities through the decentralization process. He said the tour was organised to ascertain what was happening on the ground and elicit views from key stakeholders, including direct beneficiaries, regarding the implementation of the project. He expressed dissatisfaction in the manner in which the project was implemented in most of the communities and called for full community participation in the process.
The Chief of Boroma town in Gbenseh chiefdom where a 21.7 Kilometer road project from koidu to Gbangadu is implemented, Kai Machendeh, thanked the team for visiting the site and government for considering them in its development plan, hoping that the project will be successfully implemented to address their socio-economic problems. He cited a number challenges facing them as a result of poor road network and expressed concern over the slow pace at which the project is moving. He called on the authorities to ensure that modalities are put in place to fast track the process. At Makali in the Tonkolili district where a 10.8 Kilometer feeder road from Makali town to Makong village is being implemented, the team also paid a courtesy call on the Paramount Chief of the chiefdom who also expressed concern about the manner in which the project was implemented. Work Inspector of the project, Sidikie Mansaray, informed the team that work at the site has been put on hold for the past three weeks and expressed doubt as to whether the contractor will meet set deadline.
The team also inspected a 9.05kilometer road project from Robana , Makambisa to Manharma in the Maforki Chiefdom, and a 10.8 Kilometer road project from Malekuray to Robaka in Tinkatupa-Maka Safrorkor Chiefdom, Portloko district. Headman, Robana town, Morlai Conteh said the project will boost economic activities in their region but expressed frustration at the lack of commitment on the part of the contractor
A youth Leader in Malekuray town Sahid Fallah, said construction work at the site has been going on but came to a standstill as a result of disagreement between them and the contractor in relation to request they made for an increase in the stipend given to them. On her impression about the visit, the SCaDEP
Focal Person in the Ministry of Local Government, Marian Kamara-Senesie, described the project as “a very vital development initiative that would improve the welfare of beneficiaries” and pledged government’s unwavering commitment to ensuring it is successfully implemented through robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. She observed that most of the contractors were not coming from communities benefitting from the project. This, she said, has contributed to the poor implementation of the project and admonished communities to own projects implemented in their areas. She called on implementers of the project to address all technical errors identified during the visit.
Making their observations during the visits, Engineers, Monitoring and Evaluation and Environmental Officers from all district councils in the affected regions, expressed dissatisfaction at the manner in which the project is implemented, saying that as key players, they have not been given the opportunity to contribute to the project. They highlighted a number of technical errors identified during the visit, including poor drainage system and construction of culverts.
By Max A. Konneh,
Press Officer, MLGRD