The Ministry of Works and Public Assets, in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Roads Authority convened a stakeholder’s forum to discuss the road map on rural/feeder roads in Sierra Leone. The three days event was held at the Galliness Paradise in Bo city and brought together major stakeholders on the road sector development in the country.
In his opening remarks the Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Works and Public Assets, who also chaired the forum, said that as a committee. parliament is fully aware of the challenges confronting the Sierra Leone Roads Authority in its operations since the end of the rebel war. These challenges, he maintained are further compounded by the lack of adequate funds to undertake the huge pile of rehabilitation and maintenance backlog for both trunk and rural/feeder Roads. The committee, he further noted, is also aware of the gaps in the various Acts establishing SLRA, SLRSA and RMFA. He therefore commended the Ministry of Works and Public Assets and SLRA for creating the forum to engage key stakeholders on a lot of issues surrounding rural/feeder roads development, management and operations including financing.
In his keynote address the Minister of Works and Public Assets, Peter Bayoku Conteh said that the forum was created to look into the challenges confronting the management of rural/feeder roads sector and to define the role of SLRA in the midst of the numerous players in the sector. The forum, he pointed out, is an interactive session that will give the opportunity to all stakeholders to proffer solutions to the challenges confronting the management of rural/feeder roads in Sierra Leone.
In his presentation, the Director General of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority, Ing Amara Jambai Kanneh, pointed out that the major threat facing the rural/feeder sector is that there are too many players with little or no proper coordination. He noted that funds are remitted to local councils without reference to the Authority which, by all indications limits SLRA’s role in the implementation of these projects. He therefore called on the participants to harmonize these anomalies and to position the Sierra Leone Roads Authority in its rightful place in the management of rural/feeder roads in the country.
The Sierra Leone Roads Authority was established to develop, maintain and efficiently manage the national road network to provide safe, reliable and sustainable means of transportation. For the attainment of this objective, SLRA should have the responsibility to develop a national policy on the maintenance, rehabilitation, improvement and management of the national road network and to exercise control over the implementation of such a policy.
Achieving this objective forms the corner stone of the stakeholder’s forum. It is not surprising therefore that all the action points agreed by the stakeholders at the three days deliberation revolved around this direction. Based on this assessment, it is suffice to describe the Feeder Roads Retreat as very successful engagement for the road sector development in Sierra Leone.