The Minister of Finance on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone on Monday 22nd July 2019, signed a US$50 million Integrated Resilient Urban Mobility Project financing agreement with the World Bank.
In his opening statement at the signing ceremony, the Financial Secretary, Sahr Lahai Jusu welcomed the new World Bank Country Director for the Republic of Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone Pierre Frank Laporte who is visiting Freetown for the first time in his new capacity.
Sahr Lahai Jusu went on to state that this financing agreement on the Integrated and Resilient Urban Mobility Project will help support Government of Sierra Leone in particular Ministry of Transport on key operation by enhancing the process of buying of public buses in a more transparent and open manner, decongest certain locations in Freetown and capacity building of the institutions involved.
In her statement the World Bank Country Manager, Dr. Gayle Martins said, this project is aimed at improving transport mechanisms and infrastructures on important roots in Freetown to reduce travel time, create the market space and reduce traffic congestion in Freetown.
Kabineh Kallon is the Minister of Transport and Aviation, in his statement expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank for ensuring that this project this Government inherited from the inception stage is coming to life.
Minister Kallon Furthered that this project is based on three major components; Modernization and professionalization of the Public Transport Services, including informal private operators US$13 Million and will be financed by IDA; Strategic Resilient Mobility Investment cost US$ 31 Million of which US$ 29 Million will be financed by IDB and $ 2 Million by the Government of Sierra Leone and Building Human Capacity and Institutional Capacity cost $ 6 Million will also be financed by IDB.
According to the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, this Government was able to convince the World Bank to increase the fund from US$20million to US$50million in 2018 and also to convert it from a loan to a grant.
The Minister of Finance went on to admonish all stakeholders in the project to work together and own the project to ensure smooth implementation. He said that this is the first time in the history of the World Bank and Sierra Leone that the Work Bank have approve more project in a single year.
Jacob Jusu Saffa also stated that this project is part of the five projects financing that was increased to US$230million during the President, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio visits to the World Bank President early this year.