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‘National Emergency’

-Works Minister Describes Deplorable Roads

By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.

The Minister of Public Works, Mabutu Vlah Nyenpan has described deplorable roads in Liberia as ‘national emergency’ and a threat to national security of the state.

Minister Mabutu Vlah Nyenpan, MoPW

Speaking when he appeared before the joint committees of the National Legislature on Ways, Means, Finance, judiciary and Public Works for public hearing on the US$536million loan agreement for roads connectivity in the country Monday, June 4, 2018, Minister Nyenpan reminded the lawmakers that immediate action must be taken to address what he calls national emergency.

“The situation of roads in our country is a threat to national security and must therefore be treated as a national emergency which requires radical affirmative actions,” Minister Nyenpan told members of the committees.

The Public Works Minister indicated that Liberia after 170 years of independence, is a sad state of underdevelopment and socio-economic backwardness, thus, most of the country’s infrastructures, especially roads are in a deplorable condition.

Minister Nyenpan stated that travelling throughout the country has now become nightmarish and hazardous for many citizens, particularly those within rural Liberia.

“Statistic reveals that Liberia has a total road network of about 11,000km. It will, however, interest you to know that of the 11,000km, we have under 1,000km of roads paved. Hence about 94% of the roads in our country are unpaved, and most often than not, unplayable and accident prone especially during the rainy season,” Minister Nyenpan stressed.

He stated that year in and year out, since Liberia’s independence, the Liberian people and other nationals have been subjected to extreme difficulties in the transportation of goods and services, adding that throughout the length and breadth of the country, there is a situation of bad roads.

He indicated that it is sad that the country’s annual budgetary allotment to roads connectivity is too meager to addressing what he considers as the chronic nature of bad roads in the country.

“As Liberians and as a government which got elected on an agenda of change, we cannot continue to do business as usual. Our people have hopelessly waited for far too long. There must be a paradigm shift. President Weah has therefore made roads connectivity as the first and foremost priority of his administration as a means of actualizing the Pro-Poor agenda,” the Public Works Minister intoned.

Minister Nyenpan said Liberia has nothing to lose by ratifying this loan agreement, nothing that this would not be the first time that Liberia would borrow but this would be the first time that Liberia can have something to show substantively tangible for her borrow.

For his part, the Minister of Justice, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean said the loan is legally reliable and as such; the government through the legislature can ratify the agreement.

Minister Dean said he sees nothing wrong with a company being registered in another country and operates in another country, thus, this could be as a result of tax purposes.

“After due diligence, I have reached the conclusion to advise this body that the new financing and Development Planning agreement was duly signed by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Public Works of the Republic of Liberia. In the history of the practice of Law, this is the best agreement we have seen,” Minister Dean said.

Meanwhile, the committees are going to report back to their respective plenaries for the hearing process and plenary would subsequently act accordingly.

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