Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 March 2022:
Last week, there was confusion and surprise when the government of Sierra Leone’s Chairman of the Office of the Presidential Infrastructure and Initiatives, Dr John Tambi described the ongoing construction work taking place adjacent to the Lungi International Airport as “a new international airport”, published in the Sierra Leone Telegraph.
But last Friday, the script was changed by the government, when President visited the site where work started on 12 November 2020, costing $270 million, describing the construction as “the new airport terminal project that will accommodate one million passengers per year once complete later this year.”
To put the value-for-money comparisoon into Sierra Leone’s economic context, the previous APC government wanted to build a new airport costing $400 million not far from Lungi. Today President Bio is constructing a new airport terminal and runway next to the existing airport at a cost of $270 million.
Chairman of the Office of the Presidential Infrastructure and Initiatives, Dr John Tambi, said that the President’s visit to the site was to review the work of the “SUMMA Group in expanding the capacity of the existing airport to an estimated 13,200 square miles from the current 7,200 square miles.”
“This is the largest Turkish investment in Africa so far and when completed it will give a facelift to our country and open it to investment,” Tambi said.
Country Director of the SUMMA Group in Sierra Leone, Ibrahim Sheriff, said they are a multinational Turkish company operating in about 8 African countries, adding that they are building a new terminal that will tansform Lungi airport.
He said the company has employed hundreds of Sierra Leoneans from the local community, and that the SUMMA Group will continue to impact lives and add to the socio-economic development of the country.
“At the end of this year, we will all be gathered here again to celebrate the completion of this all-important project,” Sheriff concluded.
President Bio thanked the people of Lungi for hosting and supporting the project. He emphasised that the construction work is the largest such investment in Africa by the Turkish developer, a demonstration of confidence in his government.
The President also said that Lungi airport is the gateway to the country, hence a modern airport is not only important in beautifying the country but also in attracting direct foreign investments.
“I am pleased with the progress made so far. I am very excited to be here and to share this moment with you. Thank you very much,” President Bio concluded.