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Sierra Leone News: RMFA wants all contracts to be in Leones

Road construction

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Road Maintenance Fund Administration (RMFA) Sheku M. Kanneh has said “We want all contract to be denominated in Leones, we are insisting that everything should be done in Leones, as at any time there is a change in the value of the Leones which is a normal thing now, the cost of the projects already awarded goes up, but if they are in Leones it will remain the same” Kanneh told Ministry of Finance (MoF) facilitators at their budget hearings that cost overruns are seriously affecting their operations. He cited the fact that when a contract is estimated at Le2 billion and then the payment is delayed they spend more than what they intend to spend on that contract. He however, pleaded with MoF for timely disbursement of funds which he says is one of the primary reasons that cause overruns. “We do not know when we are going to receive funds so we cannot pay the contractors so it is affecting us greatly.” The Administration he says will be instituting performance based form of payment, noting that when a contract for brushing of the roadside is given and the contractor is given the height of grass that should be on the road, if it grows beyond that height they will not pay. “Rehabilitation is not part of our mandate so we want to focus on our core function which is the maintenance of roads.” Ing. Rugiatu Koroma, Head of Monitoring and Evaluation talked about the activities the RMFA pay for and stressed that they do not implement, as they have the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) as the main implementing partner. The SLRA manages all class A and B roads which are the primary and secondary roads, these roads she says are the national and regional roads including the main highways around. According to the Local Act 2004, maintenance of feeder roads which are the rural roads has been devolved to the Local Councils, so the SLRA do not manage the maintenance of feeder roads but they rehabilitate and construct it. “So for the SLRA they make sure they manage each and every road you are seeing in the main highways or trunk roads, the regional roads to ensure those roads are passable and are kept at the standard specifications that they should be kept, so that we are safe” she said. SLRA she added constructs bridges but that the RMFA has a limit, they do not finance bridges that have a 20 meters span, they can only fund less, they also construct culverts, drainages the SLRA uses asphalt to patch roads. She continued that SLRA are responsible for the brushing of rural roads and when it comes to the maintenance of the 16 local ferries the SLRA should make sure they maintain it, if the RMFA provide the funds. “When it comes to road markings and signs, SLRSA want to keep the roads safe, but how can you keep the roads safe if the road infrastructure is not safe?” she asked. Ing. Koroma said that is why they are insisting that the MoF tell the Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA) that there is no way the roads can be safe if the road infrastructure is not safe, so they need to give the revenues to make sure that the roads are safe. “You cannot be spending on administration and leaving the roads unsafe to drive or to walk.” When it comes to data collection to check how many culverts and length of roads in the country, the RMFA also pays for that. With the feeder roads the RMFA gives allocation to the Local Government to maintain these roads yearly, “even that it is just pittance, it is not enough because the feeder roads are over 6,000 kilometres, we can’t even pay to manage them” she said.

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Monday October 01, 2018.

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