Sierra Leone Telegraph: 06 February 2021:
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development Dr. Francis Kai-Kai held a meeting yesterday Friday, with a visiting ECOWAS delegation and members of the National Project Committee (NCP) – a Task Force established for the ECOWAS Logistics Depot construction project in Lungi, Freetown, to discuss progress on the ongoing construction work now said to be at phases 2 and 3.
In his remarks, Dr Francis Kai-Kai emphasized the importance of the ECOWAS Depot to Sierra Leone and the subregion, noting that the decision to locate the depot in Sierra Leone is to demonstrate the country’s ability in managing such projects, when completed.
Dr. Kai-Kai (Photo – Left) assured the delegation of the Bio-led government’s firm commitment to the project, saying that the depot is part of fulfilling the ECOWAS ideals, objectives and vision of which Sierra Leone continues to uphold and has participated in formulating. He said the depot would contribute to the peace and stability of the sub-region.
Minister of Water Resources, Philip K. Lansana, in his statement, said since they were approached last year for the construction of the depot, he had sent a team to do an assessment for the provision of water facilities at the site. He said the Ministry of Water Resources had submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Finance to provide funding for the installation of water to the site, which would cost over 1 billion Leones.
In his statement, the Commissioner in-charge of General Administration and Conference, ECOWAS Commission, Vafolay Tulay said that the construction of an ECOWAS logistics facility in Lungi is timely and an important project for the region’s peace support operations. He said the Commission was excited to be working with the Bio-led Government to ensure issues are identified and resolved quickly.
On the 14th of September 2019 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, President Dr. Julius Maada Bio called on Heads of States and Governments of ECOWAS member States to speedily ensure the construction of Phases 2 and 3 of the Logistics Depot at Lungi for Peace Support Operations.
The discussions were centred around tax exemption for SOGEFEL to import construction materials, building permit to start construction in Sierra Leone, environmental policy for building construction, provision of electricity by Government of Sierra Leone to the Depot site and COVID-19 clearance for movement of SOGEFEL construction vehicles, among others.
Other dignitaries in attendance included: The Deputy Minister of Defence, ECOWAS Commissioner for Peace and Political Affairs, Chief of Staff for ECOWAS Standby Force for West Africa, The Development Secretary and Members of the National Project Committee on ECOWAS Depot.
When completed, the ECOWAS facility at Lunig is expetcted to create direct jobs for hundrdes of Sierra Leoneans, as well as spion off employement opportunities for supply-chain businesses in the local area.
The ECOWAS facility will also serve as a beacon for the relocation of commercial and business activity in Lungi. Work on the construction of the new Lungi Airport terminal, expansion of the runway, construction of new VIP lounge are underway.