9 October 2018

Sierra Leone: Govt Terminates Mamamah Airport Project, Says It's Economically Unviable

A letter from the Ministry of Transport and Aviation to the Director Freetown International Airport Project (FIAP) has indicated that the Mamamah Airport Project, which was signed by the previous regime on the eve of April's election, has been terminated with immediate effect.

"I write with reference to the above subject and to convey the decision of government through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation that all contract services under the Freetown International Airport Project (FIAP) are terminated with immediate effect from the 31st October,2018,"the letter reads.

The Transport Ministry letter dated 5th October and signed by Permanent Secretary Brima S.T. Kebbie, further notes that following the change of government the continuation of the project had been under serious consideration as to its socio-economic viability, in view of the current situation government now finds itself in.

The letter adds that after serious consideration and due diligence, government's view is that it was uneconomical to proceed with the construction of a new airport when the existing one was grossly under-utilised.

"On account of that, I have been directed to inform you that all contract appointments under that project are being terminated. The effective date for this termination is 31st October, 2018. The letter serves as notification in lieu of one month. Any other information relating to the decision will be communicated to FIAP accordingly," the letter reads.

According to the letter, an officer by the name of Mr. Katta has been mandated to take inventory of all assets and to provide oversight over the assets in question.

"I entreat you to do a comprehensive handing over including a status report to him for the attention of the Honourable Minister. I thank you very much for your invaluable services rendered over this period and wish you well in your next endeavours."

The Mamamah Airport Project was launched by former President Ernest Bai Koroma on March 2nd earlier this year. The Chinese funded project would have cost US$318 million, a loan from the China Exim Bank.

According to the project specification, they would have constructed a new city and an economic business zone.

The Mamamah Airport Project received lots of criticism at the time of the signing of the contract, but the then APC-led government didn't listen, arguing that it would bolster economic as well as touristic development in the country.

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