Minority Leader of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) in Parliament yesterday urged officials responsible for the implementation of the Fourah Bay College loan agreement project to properly monitor the project.
The loan agreement for the rehabilitation and expansion of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, totals thirty-six million six hundred and fifty thousand United States dollars (US$US36, 650, 000), and was signed by the government of Sierra Leone and the Saudi Fund for Development on 28 January, 2016.
Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai said the agreement came at the right time as the university has lost its glorious name, adding that the current health environment was not good for the students and administrative staff.
“It is one thing to rehabilitate but another thing to reserve them as we will spend a lot of money in the process, but what should be considered after the rehabilitation would have been finished. If proper maintenance and repairs were to be done, there will have been no way of mending potholes, rehabilitation of government buildings, vehicles and the like and now that we discussing the issue of FBC, who will preserve it? If the responsibility is given to a particular someone and if not taken care of properly there should be penalties for such behavior,” she said.
Hon. Dr. Lahai maintained that both the Committees on Works, Housing and Infrastructure and Transparency and Accountability and Education should provide better oversight and monitoring during and after the rehabilitation. She added that the quality of maintenance should be implored on the university as lots of garbage are all over the campus, which is affecting conducive environment for students and administrative staff.
Earlier in his presentation, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Alhaji Foday B.L. Mansaray, said the agreement was signed with the objective of rehabilitating the college, following an Appraisal Mission from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) in 2012 to follow up the ongoing projected funded by the bank, adding that a joint appraisal Mission from BADEA and the Saudi Fund visited the country during which the amount was agreed upon for the rehabilitation process.
He said the joint Appraisal Mission agreed to co-finance the project as follows: OFID will provide US$13m, Saudi Fund will provide US$12m, BADEA will provide US$8m, while the Government of Sierra Leone will provide US$3,650,000.
“You will agree with me that over the years the student population of FBC has expanded considerably due to the increased demand for tertiary education. Unfortunately, the infrastructural development scheme of the college stagnated over the period; maintenance of the college building was compromised drastically and also exacerbated by the 10 years civil war and more recently by the outbreak of the Ebola in May 2014. The rehabilitation and expansion of the college is strategic in the sense that it will contribute to the enhancement of quality higher education through the improvement of physical infrastructure of the college, thus creating a conducive and safe environment for earning” he said.
He explained that the objectives of the project were for the rehabilitation of existing buildings, including accommodation faculties for students, the administrative building and halls for student activities, with a total area of 48,000 square meters, expansion works, including the construction of the Faculty of Architecture, the construction of lecture halls, accommodation for faculty staff and administrative facilities, with a total area of 8,656 square meters, rehabilitation of road networks, supply and construction of electricity networks, using solar energy and many more.
Minister Mansaray said the project is expected to be implemented within a period of 30 months, while the loan would be paid on a semiannual basis over a period of 3 years with a grace period of 10 years. The government, through the Finance Ministry, would provide a counterpart contribution of US$3,650,000 to the entire project through the annual budget for the said project.