By Tabora Bojang
The Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure Bai Lamin Jobe, has said financial constraints are hindering government’s strategic phase in the speedy development of the transport priorities across the country.
Jobe was addressing members of parliament yesterday, as the Assembly commences sittings for the third Ordinary Session for the 2019 legislative year.
The parliamentarians tasked the minister to explain plans of his ministry for the construction and rehabilitation of roads and feeder roads across several parts of the country.
The Minister responded that the government has plans to upgrade the poor road networks and infrastructure affecting many parts of the country, especially the rural areas to support the economic and social perspectives of the people.
He said the National Roads Authority has carried out an inventory and condition survey on most of the key rural roads from Kiang Karantaba to Burong, Karantaba to Tanding Kunda, Sibanor to Kayum-Jifanga, Sotuma Samba koi to Numuyel among others but implementation cannot yet take effect due to financial constraints.
He said the ministry is initiating other avenues to provide assistance to the projects to facilitate easy access to infrastructure and viable economic activities through other means such as public private partnerships as manifested by the Banjul roads and drainage project.
He said the Banjul roads project is a pilot project that the ministry hopes to extend to other areas of the country through the mobilisation of sources of finance through public private partnerships.
He further disclosed that the financial constraints could be highly exacerbated by the snail pace of pledges, which was mainly due to the level of the debt to the GDP.
Jobe also disclosed plans to add more crossing points on either sides of the Bakoteh Bridge to facilitate the movement of people who are subjected to the risk of walking on poorly constructed wooden bridges.
He said there are plans to also rehabilitate the two roads running parallel to the main Westfield- Sukuta road to reduce congestion.
He added that there was a nationwide joint inspection carried out to provide information on the state of all bridges in the country including the Denton Bridge to know the extent of maintenance requirement.
However, there is no regular inspection on the Denton Bridge in recent years despite its continuous endurance to heavy and increasing vehicular traffic.