Members of Parliament yesterday ratified two loan agreements for the rehabilitation of the Bo-Bandajuma road, amounting to the sum of nine million, seven hundred and forty-one thousand, nine hundred and fifty five United States dollars (US$9,741, 955.6M).
The two loan agreements were signed by the Government of Sierra Leone, African Development Bank and African Development Fund (on behalf of the transition support facility) to finance the Mano River Union rehabilitation of Bo-Bandajuma road project .
Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Momodu Kargbo, told the House that one of the objectives of the project was to provide efficient nationwide road transport access to the southern districts of Bo and Pujehun, and regionally to the Mano River Union member states and ECOWAS countries.
He said the project would help promote transformational and sustainable infrastructural development in the country.
The minister continued that the 46 kilometre road project constitute part of the Trans-African Highway (TAH-7) from Lagos to Nouakchott, providing principal access to the south-eastern part of the country and neighboring countries of Liberia, Guinea and beyond.
He stated that the construction of the missing link of the TAH-7 between Bandajuma and the Mano River Union Bridge had already been awarded to Companie Salhelinnie D’Enterprise (CSE) with funds from European Union, while the Bo-Bandajuma section was co-financed by the ADB group and the OPEC fund for International Development.
Minister Kargbo noted that the road connects vast areas of rich agricultural potential, enormous mineral wealth, as well as people of common culture and history.
When completed, he said, the road would reduce transport cost and travel time, enhance potential for agriculture value chain development, thereby contributing to poverty reduction among communities.
He further stated that the loan would be repaid over a period of 30 years after a grace period of ten years, commencing from the date of the agreements at a rate of 2% per annum from the 1th to the 20th year inclusive.
Hon. Patricia Bangura from Kambia district said the agreements were timely as the construction of the Bo-Bandajuma road would help attract tourists and fast track linkages between Mano River Union countries and Sierra Leone. She said the project was very important as it would increase business activities in that part of the country.
Hon. Jusifu Mansaray from Bo district commended the minister and donor partners, stating that Bo district has long been yearning for such opportunity. He promised to provide support to the construction company and pleaded with the government for speedily pay compensation to people whose houses would be demolished.