Road Fund Manager Craves for Autonomy
MONROVIA-Birthed by an Act on December 12, 2016, and subsequently signed into Law by former President Ellen Johnson-Sirfeaf , the National Road Fund,( NRF) has been taking giant steps in ameliorating Liberia’s road nightmare.
The NRF, under the supervision of Mr. Boniface D. Satu has been engineering huge efforts along with stakeholders to ensure road maintenance, supervision, and management throughout the country.
Despite the mountainous progress being made since its inception, much is still needed to have the Road Fund operate independently without interference.
Speaking in an exclusive interview on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, the NRF Manager mentioned that the current Road Fund Amendment Bill being debated at the House of Representatives will empower the entity to source founding, mitigate fund flow risk and to allow matching funds and international financial institutions to lend money for the country’s road infrastructure. Mr. Satu believes that this effort is geared toward making the NRF autonomous that will serve the best interest of the country.
He noted that most African Countries have leaped towards having their road funds institutions autonomous.
The Manager of the National Road Fund of Liberia indicated that African Countries that started controlling their road funds have now allowed their road fund institutions to operate independently.
He mentioned that almost all road funds are second-generation 100 % autonomous with less interference.
Mr. Satu pointed out that Liberia was able to establish the Road Fund 1st generation (government), but the government fell short of the Road Agency which gives appetite to donors to participate in the Public, Private, Partnership (PPP), and matching funds, cost recovery etc.
He noted that given the semi-autonomous status of the Road Fund in Liberia, donors are not encouraged until the government can institute the requisite approaches aimed at the actualization of such a vision.
The NRF Manager pointed out that the autonomy of the Road Fund will ensure sustainability, transparency, and accountability in the sector.
“The Amendment will address some of those issues and our international partners fully support this amendment. Currently, the World Bank has an approved project “Road Sector Development Project” working with NRF and MPW on reforms Road Agency and autonomous road funds. Do we want our partners to do this or we can do it ourselves by passing the BILL.
Mr. Satu indicated that appetite for donor support in the road sector has decreased especially when total reform has not taken place for a (Road Agency, Road Authority, and 2nd generation Road Fund).
“To cope with the upcoming difficulties ahead for the road sector environment in Africa – Economic and financial crisis affecting donors – Less interest for some major actors (EU, GIZ, World Bank USAID, etc.) hence greater interest for others sectors (energy, agriculture, railways…) – Changes in some major donors’ procedures (EU) – Raise of green energy in the automobile industry. We need to watch out for fuel-efficient and electric vehicles” the NRF Boss added.
He pointed out that the world is changing by 2030 both Europe and America will be binding fuel cars and moving to full-scale electric vehicles and America is investing over 600 million for electric vehicle charging systems and reducing emissions.
The Road Fund Manager stressed that Norway is currently using 100% electric vehicles. Fuel tax revenue will be challenged. The world is finding alternative financing tolling is the new normal.
“Due to the international economic and financial crisis and the raise of green energy in the automobile industry, a new paradigm has to be found to increase Road Fund revenues. Therefore, most countries have moved towards 100% autonomy of Road Funds. Ghana in recent times allows all funds collected deposited into the Road Fund Account directly, not through the Ghana Consolidated or single treasury account.
Due to the dynamic action of the Ghanaian parliament and the government’s swift action, the fund is attracting potential financing institutions to lend them funds. UBA has just lent them over 300 million. The national budget cannot do it.
ROAD FUNDs IN AFRICA are all autonomous (Sierra Leone, Ghana etc.) they are moving fast with road development “INDEPENDENT”.
- WEST AFRICA (12 countries) BENIN, BURKINA FASO, GHANA, IVORY COAST, CAPE VERDE, NIGER GUINEE, SENEGAL, TOGO MALI, BISSAU GUINEE, SIERA LEONE
- CENTRAL AFRICA (7 countries) BURUNDI DEM. REP. CONGO CHAD RCA CONGO GABON CAMEROON • EASTERN AFRICA (8 countries) KENYA TANZANIA RWANDA UGANDA ETHIOPIA ZANZIBAR DJIBOUTI COMORES
- SOUTHERN AFRICA (7 countries) MOZAMBIQUE MADAGASCAR NAMIBIA ZAMBIA ZIMBABWE MALAWI LESOTHO”
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