4 June 2014

Liberia: Public Works Minister to Appear Before House Plenary Next Tuesday

Photo: FrontPage Africa
Ministry of Public Works Minister Madame Antoinette Weeks

Minister Antoinette Weeks has been rescheduled to appear before Members of the House Tuesday, June 10, 2014, to address a number of concerns raised by the House's Joint Committee on Public Works and Contract & Monopoly.

The rescheduling of Madam Weeks was granted by plenary yesterday during its 33rd day sitting following a communication written by the minister requesting the House Plenary to extend her appearance from Tuesday, June 3 to June 10, 2014 in order to better prepare her to effectively address concerns raised by the House Joint Committee.

"In light of the requested information required to adequately brief and update of the House of Representatives, the Ministry is requesting a one (1) week extension to Tuesday, June 10, 2014 to allow us to effectively prepare for this meeting, given the depth and complexity of the issues encompassing the aforementioned investigation, the Ministry plans to use the required extension to be more comprehensive in its representation to the Honorable House of Representatives". The Minister letter stated.

The Joint Committee on Tuesday, May, 12 recommended that the Minister should come alone with the Minister of Finance after it expressed reservation on the poor quality of roads and other infrastructural projects across the country and the questionable manner in which contracts are given out to contractors.

Investigation conducted by the Joint Committee disclosed that twenty (20) contracts the Ministry of Public Works awarded to contractors for roads rehabilitation did not meet the required standard set by the Public Procurement Concession Commission, as a result, road construction in the country often meet zero compliance.

According to the report, all Public Works contracts covering the period, 2011-2014 have been based on single source without competitive bidding as required by law thereby undermining the doctrine of comparative advantage for quality works.

The Minister, who replaced Atty. Kofi Woods, will also respond to concerns about the poor state of roads around Monrovia and the status of the Somalia drive - Red Light road reconstruction.

The House's Plenary is keen to know the process leading to awarding of contract, quality & funding of works, as well as the capacity of the Ministry amongst other things.

The Plenary of the House of Representatives maintained that in the wake of budget short fall with competing priorities, Government functionaries must be highly responsible in managing state funds to ensure service delivery.

From the report, it is believed that most of these road projects are repeatedly reflected in the budget for rehabilitation which indicates a lack of technical know how on the part of the Ministry of Public Works.

During the 31day sitting, the Joint Committees on public works submitted a comprehensive report on the condition of infrastructure across the country.

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