Lungi Bridge Bio Hits Jackpot…

 

His Excellency, President Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio’s government is on the verge of bringing to reality an important infrastructural development project initiated by the former President Koroma for the country – the Lungi Bridge.

It could be recalled that several weeks ago, during a meeting with a high powered foreign delegation at State House, President Bio disclosed that he was looking out for investors to build the Lungi bridge that will link Freetown with Lungi across the mouth of the Rokel River.

Potential partners in Israel, Germany, France and USA were approached for the project which should be done within a stipulated timeframe and cost-effectively.   It has now emerged that on the 30th of August, 2018, at a meeting with the President of the Chinese Construction Company, PowerChina International Group Limited which is reputed for many infrastructure investments in Africa, President Bio held fruitful discussion on the idea of the company financing and building the proposed Lungi Bridge, which will be the longest bridge in Sierra Leone.

President of PowerChina Ltd, Song Dongsheng who praised President Bio for his great leadership and passion in attracting investors to Sierra Leone said it would be a honor for his company to undertake the said project. He noted that it will create more employment opportunities for Sierra Leoneans.

On the advantages of building the Lungi Bridge, President Bio stated that it will open up the country for business, as it will attract more investors and an enviable tourist destination. Moreover, with the capital city congested and very little space for further expansion, building of the Lungi Bridge will open up space across the Rokel estuary in the vast level plain that stretches from Lungi to Port Loko and beyond. Thus, President Bio considers the project important for the continued socio-economic development of the country.

One big challenge that the construction of the Lungi Bridge faced was that of finance. The President of PowerChina Ltd assured President Bio that his company is ready to finance the project; meaning that the financial burden will not fall on the Government of Sierra Leone. Finance Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa who was at the meeting commented that such financing falls within internationally accepted mode as it will not indebt the government.

Chief Minister, Prof. David J. Francis who is the proposed project’s focal person said whilst the bridge is the main part of the project, the entire construction package includes expansion of the Lungi international airport and creation of an economic free zone. He added that the bridge and its other components will increase traffic for flights and passengers.

Towards realization of the project, the President of PowerChina has accepted an invitation from the Sierra Leone Government delegation to visit in October for detailed discussions, feasibility study and technical design of the project with the Chairman of the Presidential Team on Infrastructure, Dr. John Tambi and the line ministries.

Meanwhile, many Sierra Leoneans have commented that President Bio who during the campaign said he does not want to over-promise and under-deliver is a very good example of a leader who believes that developing a country should not be based on only developing one’s political stronghold.

By: Murtala Mohamed Kamara