“We will embark on series of road constructions across the country. As part of the agency’s development agenda, we would improve road connectivity. This would guarantee the free movement of our people, enhance domestic trade, as well as boost the economy of the nation,” Satu told reporters in Monrovia a fortnight ago. Liberia faces poor road infrastructure. To understand the challenges of the transport industry in Liberia, and reflection on the policy implications for government, an interview was conducted with more than 70 companies and 200 drivers based in Liberia’s main transport hubs, according to a report released by the International Growth Center in June 2017.
The preliminary findings from the study recognized five key challenges hindering the country’s road sector including truck and road maintenance, poor road conditions, credit constraints for small firms, bribery high marginal costs and low competition. The Liberian government contracted a ten- year credit with the World Bank to build a road on the main axis of the country. However, intra-national costs remain high, and most of the local markets are still isolated, findings from the survey showed. “On average, truck drivers report having to pay a bribe every 30 minutes on the road. Trucking companies in the sample spend on average as much as eight percent of their expenditure on bribes,” the study underscored.
The country’s road challenges are said to be placing heavy constraints on its transport sector, undermining market integration in the country. Infrastructure development and access to credit to make small firms more competitive would help to address these challenges, the group recommended. The LNRFA boss says much of the sector’s improvement would come through robust reforms that have layout by his administration. “ “The National Road Fund Act calls for reform and there’s need for this to happen,” Satu indicated.“The agency needs independence, he added, emphasizing further that: “we are part of 34 countries in Africa that are using this Act. However, Liberia Road Fund Agency is the only entity that does not have its independence. This is very bad for Liberia,”Satu avowed in an interview with Footage magazine a fortnight ago.”
His comments are in fulfillment of the government’s overall plan to improved road connectivity across the country, experts say. Previous projections put the country’s road infrastructure demand at over US$4billion required to connect over 1000 kilometer roads network spinning across a country. Most of Liberia’s interior parts are hard-to-reach areas due to road inaccessibility, a situation which undermine delivery of social services to its rural population. However, the LNRF Manager disclosed the agency currently has almost US$5 million dollars in its account, which includes monies remitted by the Liberian government as well as other commitments made by international partners.
Founded in 2016, the National Road Fund Agency was established to purposefully finance road and bridge maintenance works directly associated with planning, programming, and management activities. Other functions include governance and oversight of the Road Fund including the approval of the Annual Road Maintenance Expenditure Program submitted by agencies authorized to undertake road and bridge works in the country. The agency also has an administrative structure that is capable of undertaking the core functions associated with collecting, managing and disbursing funds to and on behalf of agencies authorized to undertake road and bridge works in Liberia.