Gov’t BROKE? Failed To Raise Checks Of US $132,600 For Traffic Lights Repairs

The trigger down effects of the harsh economic situations in the country is digging holes in many of the government’s promises and the provision of basic needs of the citizenry.

Recently, Liberia’s Minister for Public Works, Mabutu Vlah. Nyenpan told the plenary of the House of Representatives that vouchers for one hundred and thirty-two thousand, six hundred (US$132,600.00) projected cost to rehabilitate street/traffic lights in Monrovia has been raised but the Ministry of Finance has no money to make payments.

In central Monrovia, frames of pre-war nonfunctional street lights remain on the main Broad Street without serving any purpose, while new ones installed at the intersection of the main seaport (Freeport of Monrovia) and Sinkor erected by a Chinese road company which rehabilitated some roads a few years ago have been off for a protracted period of time.

Appearing before the House’s full plenary earlier this week, September 10, 2019, Minister Nyenpan said the assessment of the damaged traffic lights were made based on a mandate from the House of Representatives to rehabilitate the lights. A bidding process was opened in 2018 and a Liberian company won and signed a new contract to have the traffic lights brought back to life on Oct 9, 2018,

“On May 9, 2019 the Liberian contractor started removing the batteries to have them replace” Min. Nyenpan said. According to him, he has raised many vouchers to have the contractor money pay, but till present, none of the vouchers have turned into checks.

The tone of Minister Nyenpan during the hearing shows that he was casting all of the blame at the feet of the Minister of Finance.

“We have tried our best to be sensitive to the issues affecting Liberians. We want to do the people’s work but it is not working as planned,” the Liberian Public Works Minister told Lawmakers.

He went on to say that on June 4th, the contractor installed two new batteries to revamp the traffic lights around and VAMUMA and Capitol by-pass.

The Public Works Minister attributed the alarming road issues across the country to partial fulfillment of the 2018/2019 budget of the Ministry. “the Ministry had US$49M in the last budget year but we only received 40% of that amount and the rest is still on paper”, Min. Nyepan revealed.

He mentioned that there will be more strangulation in road projects across the country as the Ministry budget has been slashed by US$16M from the previous budget year. In the draft 2019/2020 that is yet to be passed by the Legislature, the budget for Public works stands at $US32M which the Minister indicated is insufficient to cater to dying need for roads across Liberia.

Min. Nyepan called on the Legislature to ensure adequate appropriations for the ministry in order to ensure infrastructure and road connectivity within the next budget year.

Plenary agreed to invite the Minister of Finance and Development Planning to explain further on the installation of new traffic lights across Monrovia to ease road users’ constraints and also ensure that the House’s Committee on Ways, Means and Finance ensure proper appropriation for the sector.

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