The Honourable Minister for Transport, Works and Infrastructure, Bai Lamin Jobe and member of his senior team officials, on Friday 26TH June, 2020 visited the ongoing People’s Republic of China (PRC) -Gambia Government sponsored $82million bridges and roads project under construction in Basse and Fatoto in the Upper River Region of the country. The site visit and meeting were meant for the Minister and the project team to see and have first-hand information on the implementation progresses, to note and resolve any challenges facing the projects.
Earlier in the day, a steering committee meeting was held comprising of different stakeholders: GAMTEL, NAWEC, Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Finance, The National Roads Authority, the contractor and consultant, workers and URR Governor and the Host Community at the Chinese construction company camp offices in Basse, Mansajang Kunda.
Speaking shortly before the site visit with the stakeholders, Minister Jobe described the URR projects as one of the fastest projects ever in the life of the Independent Gambia from conceptualization to implementation for a short span of barely three years reaching 60% completion. Saying, when completed would impact positively on the lives of the people of Upper River Region.
Minister Jobe implored all to redouble their efforts to keep the implementation momentum. “What I am hearing on the ground seems the progress of work is going fast and on track. We should maintain the speed,” he said. According to him, even though there might be some issues critical to the projects such as compensation for the affected persons and families living around the projects’ area, he is optimistic that the projects would finish on time.
On completion, the projects will provide vital trading link and boost commerce and regional integration between The Gambia and the sub-region in particular the Senegalse regions of Wellingara, Kolda, Tamba Kunda and beyond. He finally appealed to the truck drivers at the projects to always drive with care as there are other road users.
Minister Jobe and PS Ceesay at the meeting
On his part, Mr. Mod Ceesay, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, said their role and responsibility in the projects as a Ministry and as the Project Steering Committee member remains the same, which is to remove bottlenecks and to ensure proper monitoring of the projects.
He called on affected persons and families eligible for compensation to have their proper documents ready to receive their compensations as soon as possible through the banks. “We will continue visiting the project sites to ensure quality and efficient delivery of the projects,” he added.
Fanta BS. Manneh, Governor, Upper River Region, described the visit as timely as it would avail the team the opportunity to know the progresses and challenges facing the projects.
“These projects are important as it would connect my region to other regions and the country as a whole to the outside world,” she said.
Feng Zhuode, the Chinese lead consultant of the projects, promised timely completion of work and of better quality and standard.
Worker plights and work conditions were also discussed and mechanisms put in place to resolving them as soon as possible.
By Lamin Njie
Assistant Information Officer, Ministry of Works