Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 November 2020:
On Saturday, 14 November 2020, President Dr Julius Maada Bio laid the foundation for the construction of a major road network in the far West of the capital Freetown.
The thirteen miles long Goderich-Funkia road, will benefit over 30,000 people in the outlying communities, as well as boost the country’s tourism sector.
Marking the occasion, President Bio said that his government has prioritised road and transport development to promote improved standards of living and economic growth.
“The rehabilitation of the Funkia-Goderich road by my government is in fulfilment of the overall government strategy to open up communities, towns and cities throughout the country and to the free flow of goods and services, helping to improve the living standards of the people. Roads are part of the cornerstone of my government, and we shall continue to invest in the maintenance, rehabilitation and construction of more roads nationwide,” the president said.
President Bio noted that his government is committed to not only improving the road network in disadvantaged communities, but also to improving the living conditions of people, adding that he will provide more scholarships for young people to extend access to higher education.
He spoke about his government’s efforts in supporting struggling small business against the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Next week, NaCSA will start to do an assessment of the needs of petty traders, so that Funkia traders too will benefit from my government’s support of Le1.3 million each to businesses across the country. As a government we are going to provide more fishing boats and nets to every fishing community in the country, irrespective of region, tribe or political leaning,” he said.
The President also called on the people of Funkia to take ownership of the road construction project, so as to help the government in monitoring the contractors to ensure the road is of good quality standard.
Director-General of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority – Amara Kanneh, said the road construction will cover 1.35 kilometres – including the main Funkia Road and sections of Femi Turner-Gbendembu Junction.
He also said that the project which will cost $3.4 million, will include the construction of the road leading to the local jetty, and building of a new local market to be completed in June 2021.
But critics of the government are accusing the government of hypocrisy for condemning the former government’s spending of $1 million on every kilo-metre of the Wilkinson Road construction project when they were in power, and president Bio now spending almost three times more.
Speaking on behalf of the construction company – the CSE Group, Mohamed Sowe, said that the construction work is a significant project that would transform the local community and expand road connection network in Freetown, especially the Peninsular Road.