... through maintenance support
The Millennium Challenge Account-Liberia (MCA-L) and the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) have committed to coordinating their efforts to strengthen Liberia's capacity to provide routine maintenance of paved and unpaved primary roads.
The two entities signed an Implementing Entity Agreement, providing for the MCA-L and the U.S.-based Volpe National Transportation Systems Center to fund necessary support to strengthen MPW's capacity to sustainably manage its road maintenance programs through effective use of a US$1 million proposed Road Asset Management System (RAMS).
Prior to this agreement, MCA-L and Volpe had already provided support to MPW for data collection activities (traffic counts, road inventory, and condition surveys) and trained 15 staff (including 4 females) from MPW and the National Road Fund (NRF) to use a data-driven computer software for road maintenance, known as HDM-4.
Some of these individuals became trainers and led the team that developed the country's five-year Road Maintenance Plan, which is updated every fiscal year for collaboration with their NRF counterparts to prepare the Annual Road Maintenance Expenditure Programs in strict accordance with the National Road Fund Act of 2016.
Through this new agreement, RAMS will integrate with HDM-4 and the various software systems currently used by MPW to provide a user-friendly database for data collection, planning, execution, and other maintenance-related functions for managing Liberia's entire road network.
As part of the support, MCA-L will also provide institutional strengthening and capacity building, including new Gender and Social Inclusion and Monitoring and Evaluation units at MPW, as well as a consultant for NRF to study the Road User Charges that generate revenues for the Road Fund.
MPW will dedicate staff (trained in HDM-4) to support MCA-L with the procurement and implementation of RAMS, and be solely responsible for administering and maintaining the system to ensure sustainability well beyond the end of the compact in 2021.
MCA-L CEO, Monie Captan, said his organization would remain fully engaged with the Government of Liberia to achieve MCA-L's goal of stimulating economic growth through poverty reduction by improving the country's road network.
"The compact support is helping Liberia build a data-driven system to inform road maintenance in the country," he said.
"Routine maintenance of Liberia's roadways produce better roads, which can have far-reaching dividends for Liberians and the Liberian economy. With better roads, drivers will reduce travel time, the cost for transport, and vehicle repair. With better roads, farmers can get their products to the market quickly, students can get to school on time, patients can get to health posts on time, and police can arrive at crime scenes on time."
Improving Liberia's road infrastructure is one of the two key projects of the Millennium Challenge Corporation compact between the U.S. and Liberian governments because improved roads will stimulate trade and commerce, which will help businesses grow with sustainable increases in their profit margins.
In October 2015, the Government of the United States of America, through its development agency, Millennium Challenge Corporation, provided a grant of US$257 million to Liberia. MCA-L is an independent, legal, and autonomous agency of the Government of Liberia created by the legislature to administer the compact projects, which address the lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity and inadequate road infrastructure.