New Democrat (Monrovia)

18 February 2013

Liberia: U.S. $Six Million for Gbarnga Highway Demolition

After spending U$1.1m out of the U$8m earmarked to demolish structures along the way between Paynesville and Gbarnga, U$6m more is needed to compensate for demolishing structures that fall within passage of that highway.

The amount is being paid under the Resettlement Action Plans (RAP) initiated by government to compensate those who occupy the areas during the civil crisis and have to be resettled elsewhere.

Word Bank and the African Development Bank (ADB) each committed US$50m for the pavement of the road, which became deplorable for a long period.

Both President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and the Public Works Minister said the construction of the road will commence this dry season after CICO, a Chiense Conbstruction Company assured them of paving this trunk highway .

But there are reports that part of the problem is due to the occupation of residents whenever government is ready to rehabilitate the road.

Speaking to residents of Robertsports, President Sirleaf said: "Soon people hear the road will be fixed, they start to put their structures quick, quick."

The president added: That's the problem we are facing on the Red-Light to Gbarnga Road.

Government is going to spend 6 million dollars, extra money that we did not plan for.

The president said the amount is not in the current approved budget of 2012/13 "to be able to move all the illegal structures."

"That's the problem we are facing on the Red-Light to Gbarnga Road.

Government is going to spend 6 million dollars, extra money that we did not plan for, and we did not put in our budget, to be able to move all the illegal structures.

She quoted residents who want money for the demolition of their structures as saying, "They say government is coming, the money is coming."

Meanwhile, she urged prominent citizens of Robertsports to return home and build on their lands as part of the beautification of the city for this year's July 26 Celebration set to be hosted by Grand Cape Mount, Bomi and Gbarpolu Counties.

"And Robertsports has plenty big, big people sitting in Monrovia. Every now and then they come here and say that is my land, they go back and they do not come back and say that is my land.

If they do not do something with their land, then what will we do?

We are going to call upon all of them. We want to see them come and put something on their land, at least a pavilion where people will sit and rest during the celebrations," she said

During the visit, the president dedicated the resource center for the Ministry of Education, and a donor-sponsored quick impact water project implemented by LWSC in Robertsport.

But she warned, "That is not enough for Cape Mount because I still drive though Robertsport and I still see too many opportunities that are going around unattended."

She told the citizens that she would work with authorities of the county to construct the road connecting Robertsport with the Babangida highway for the July 26 celebrations.

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