His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has commissioned the start of work and turned the sod for the construction of the Garwama, Gendema Bridge, which connects Simbaru and Wandor Chiefdoms in the Kenema District, east of the country.
This ceremony is happening just 3 weeks after the Ministries of Finance, Agriculture and Works signed a $30 million grant contract with Sino-Hydro Bureau 9 JV Construction Company to replace the 50-year-old unmotorised ferry service as the only means of transportation linking Gendema with other communities. The government is also working on replacing the Manowa, Karene and Matru Jong ferry crossing points.
The World Bank support is part of a broader government effort at enhancing interdistrict linkages and improving market access, foster economic growth and agricultural productivity in chiefdoms and districts with potentially heavy volumes of traffic across those rivers.
Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa, who served as chairman of the ceremony, recalled that in 2017, when President Bio was campaigning, he had some difficulties using the unmotorised ferry and had told them that once elected the bridge should be constructed to ease the transportation burden on his people in those areas.
“This is a man who, even before his presidency, would visit his people. So, coming here as the President is not strange. He has his people at heart and knows the needs of his people,” he said.
First Lady, Dr Fatima Maada Bio, told the people to use the bridge, once completed, as a means of connectivity and to bring peace to each other. She urged them to be custodian of peace in their various communities, especially now that elections were drawing closer in June.
Addressing the jubilant crowd, President Julius Maada Bio said the bridge would ease the burden of movement on school pupils, farmers, and businesspeople, assuring that the construction work would only take to complete. He added that the bridge was also a way of connecting the people to the rest of the country.
The contractor assured the President, the government and the people of the Sierra Leone of quality work and that they would complete the work within the stipulated timeframe.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Republic of Sierra Leone State House.