Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 May 2022:
Last Saturday, President Dr Julius Maada Bio commissioned the 48 million Euros (Le 634 billion) Magbele Bridge, saying that the 163-meter-long modern two-lane bridge, now provides a safer corridor for trade and commerce.
“In less than 4 years alone in Port Loko District, my government, with our Eu partners, has constructed this 163-meter-long modern two-lane bridge. In less than 4 years, we are constructing a $270 million USD airport terminal at Lungi, Port Loko District even when the other people wanted to move the airport away from Lungi.
“In less than 4 years, we are reconstructing and modernising the Tagrin ferry terminal and working on bridging 4 new ferries. In less than four years, we have reopened the iron-ore mines at Marampa, expanded its operations, and created more jobs for our people in Port Loko District,” he said.
In his bid to win over hearts and minds of the people of Port Loko, the President spoke about the billions of Leones spent by his government to refurbish the Port Loko Government hospital with a functional ambulance service and medical facilities providing regular supply of drugs, adding that Community Health Care Centres now have access to solar electricity; and the government has hired more nurses and midwives specifically for Port Loko District.
“Fewer mothers are now dying in childbirth and fewer children under five are now dying as there is better immunisation and primary health care. Our friends in the UAE have also invested in constructing a major health facility. In just four years, my government thought it fit to bring in agricultural investors to consider rice production in the Rombeh area. There is an investment in onion and vegetable production in Port Loko District.
“Add this to electricity access [solar] in Lokomasama and other places in just four years, my government – I personally came to Lokomasama in 2019 to switch on the lights. So, in just four years, my government has invested extensively in Port Loko District by all accounts,” he said.
Director General of Sierra Leone Roads Authority, Amara Kanneh, said the bridge has been constructed with funds from the European Union (EU), under the supervision of the National Authorising Office (NAO) in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development to replace the dilapidated bridge.
“This bridge will stand the test of time, and if preventive measures are observed and maintained, it will serve for more than 100 years. Thank you very much President Julius Maada Bio for providing the requisite leadership. Thank you, the EU,” he concluded.
EU Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Manuel Müller, said that the construction of the New Magbele bridge started in March 2018 as part of the package of roads infrastructure projects that Sierra Leone and the EU intended to complete before the 2023 rainy season.
He further noted that the EU has a long and strong relationship with Sierra Leone, and with a track record of working together in education, governance, decentralisation, agriculture, environment, rural electrification and the management of public finances. He said that the EU will continue to work with the country to achieve its development goals.
“What we are witnessing here today at Magbele, also, is part of a huge programme of building bridges between nations. The cooperation of the EU and Sierra Leone has contributed to more connectivity in the sub-region,” he concluded.