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US$ 10M for Pendembu-Kailahun Road

The Government of Sierra Leone and representatives of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) on Friday 17th April 2020 completed negotiations for supplementary financing of US$10 million for the Pendembu-Kailahun road project. The construction work on the 17-kilometer stretch was stalled when the previous administration of Ernest Bai Koroma failed to meet the government’s part of the commitment in funding gaps. The agreement was reached in a video conference organized at the Ministry of Finance in Freetown. In 2012, the Government of Sierra Leone first signed a US$15.45 million loan agreement with the bank for the construction of the Pendembu-Kailahun stretch, after the completion of the first tranche of the roadwork from Kenema to Pendembu.   

The Kenema-Pendembu road project was awarded to China Henan International Construction Company (CHICO) and the civil works were carried out for US$ 24.168 Million.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of that amount was provided by the Islamic Development Bank while the Government of Sierra Leone was to provide the remaining thirty-two (32%) percent.

At the ceremony, the Director-General of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), Engineer Amara Kanneh observed that the first phase of the road project had serious challenges but hoped that with the new dispensation, the government will take the project funding very serious.  According to him, the problem was on the part of the previous government.

“The past government was unable to pay its share of the total project cost. That is why the government has again approached the bank for the supplementary funding to cover the gap and allow the project to be completed,” he noted.

Kanneh disclosed that in fact since the second phase of the project was launched for the construction of the Pendembu-Kailalhun stretch in 2017, the previous government paid nothing for the road project.  He said when the SLPP took over in 2018, the government committed to completing the road work.

“Initially, President Bio’s government disbursed Le. 6 billion to offset arrears; and further paid Le. 2 billion to affected property owners. But realizing that the money disbursed could not be sufficient to take the road to Kailahun, the president directly intervened through IDB for a 100 percent funding to finish the project,” he disclosed.

Mouchili Mayoua, the operation team lead of the bank, represented the Islamic Development Bank. In a short statement, he said the ceremony was testimony that IDB has agreed in principle to provide the funds. “But this agreement is subject to IDB Board’s approval in June,” he noted.

This will take the total cost of the project to 26.05 million dollars of which 98 % is IDB funded.

The Financial Secretary, Sahr Jusu commended the bank, saying the meeting was an assurance that the road will now be completed.

He also took the opportunity to disclose to the IDB team that the African Development Bank (ADB) has promised US$40 Million in funding for the remaining road from Kailahun to Koindu.

To this, the IDB team lead, Mouchili Mayoua responded that they too would consider the funding request by the government for the Kailahun-Koindu road by June when the Board meets.

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