Thursday, October 26, 2006

Freetown Peninsula Road To Be Completed By Kuwait

 6th October 2003 -A three-man mission from the Kuwait Fund For Arab Economic Development has concluded their visit to Sierra Leone after an appraisal of the Tokeh-Lumley sector of the Road Project following a request received by the fund from the Government of Sierra Leone.

The Mission had several meetings with the Minister of Finance and Works, Housing and Technical Maintenance Minister, who both re-affirmed the importance and priority of the project within government's plans for the development of the road transport infrastructure in Sierra Leone.

Accompanied by officials of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), the mission visited the project site and inspected the completed portions as well as ongoing works on the Waterloo-Kent-Tokeh sections of the Peninsular Road. The mission, after its appraisal exercise, today negotiated and initialed a draft loan agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Kuwait Fund for the remaining portion of the entire road project.

The Project aims to support the economic and social development of the Freetown Peninsula by improving its link with Freetown and the other regions of Sierra Leone, with a view to facilitating the development of fishing, tourism and agricultural activities in the peninsula, while also helping to reduce transport and vehicle operating costs. In addition, the Project also aims to provide an alternative link between Freetown and the provinces in order to relieve the congestion on the capital roads.

The Project comprises the reconstruction of the final section of the Waterloo-Freetown Peninsular Road axis between Tokeh and Lumley with a length of about 21km and an asphalted width of 7.0m with 1.5m shoulders. It also includes the construction of village access roads and by-passes along the axis with a total length of about 8.0 km, and the re-construction and landscaping of the main square at the entrance of Freetown at Lumley Round-about.
The project which is scheduled to start in January 2004 is expected to be completed by mid 2006, also includes engineering services for the detailed engineering design and supervision of construction and institutional support for the Sierra Leone Roads Authority.
The total cost of the Project is estimated at about US$ 17 million, which will be financed jointly by Kuwait Fund, OPEC Fund and the government of Sierra Leone.

The proposed Kuwait Fund participation is in the form of a soft loan of 2.5 million Kuwaiti Dinars equivalent to about UD$ 8.2 million representing about 46% of the cost of the Project. The loan carries interest at 2% and will be repaid over 25 years after a 3 years' grace period.

The proposed loan represents the fourth Loan of Kuwait Fund to participate in financing the Freetown Peninsular Road starting in 1989 and totaling about US$35 million, which comes within the spirit of friendship and cooperation between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Sierra Leone.

Speaking at a meeting with the Kuwaiti delegation during a courtesy call at the Presidential Lodge this morning, President Kabbah said no country could make a head-way in its economic development without infrastructural development. He said the Kuwaitis had targeted a vital aspect of the country's economy by choosing to help rebuild its infrastructure. On behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone, President Kabbah expressed profound gratitude to His Excellency the Emir of Kuwait for what he called the "sufficient confidence" his government had reposed in Sierra Leone in spite of the then raging civil conflict.

Leader of the Kuwaiti delegation Bassim Hamdi Al-Roumani observed that their confidence reposed in Sierra Leone had been justified, pointing to the impressive pace of national recovery recorded during the past three years. He said they were also impressed with the efficiency of the SLRA Managing Director Mr. Ismail Mohamed Kebbay, and the Minister of Works, Dr. J. C Boima, noting that they at the Fund had also been privy to a World Bank report, which contained praiseworthy comments about their efforts.

Mr. Al-Roumani, also an engineering advisor, went on to disclose that the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development had been diversified to include support towards health and educational infrastructure, hoping that they would be active in Sierra Leone in these two important areas as well. 
He also recalled that the original concept of the road project was from Tokehto Lumley bridge. However, he further disclosed that the project would now include reconstruction works up to the Lumley Police Station.

Touching on the bidding process, Mr. Al-Roumani indicated that the fund would go for an open competitive bidding process which could allow for increased competitiveness and consequently better prices and savings that could be ploughed into improving feeder roads in the Lumley area. He also revealed that a group of Kuwaiti contractors were interested in coming to participate in the bidding process.
Other members of the Kuwaiti delegation include Mr. A. Abu Akeel, Legal Advisor
and Mr. M. Gameil, Financial Analyst and Economic Advisor.

Also in another engagement, President Kabbah received in audience an Egyptian business magnate Mr. Emmad El Galaba, who is desirous of establishing a fish canning and processing industry in Sierra Leone.
According to Marine Resources Minister, Mr. Okere Adams, the Egyptian had already leased the Jui fishing jetty some nine miles outside the center of Freetown, where engineers were currently working round the clock to set up the fish processing facility. He said the new Egyptian company was ready to bring in some fifty fishing vessels for the project, which also aims to provide thousands of jobs for Sierra Leoneans.

President Kabbah, who welcomed the Egyptian investor to Sierra Leone, urged him to clearly indicate what his needs were as well as what he intends to do for subsequent discussion in cabinet.