*SLRA pays compensation to over 1,600 Project Affected Persons*
The Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) has over the weekend commenced the payment of compensation to 1,666 Project Affected Persons (PAPs) within the Reconstruction of the Tikonko Junction – Kpetema – Mattru Jong Road Project.
The first phase of the compensation payments targets project affected persons within Kpetema to Mattru Jong (42.5km), which is Lot One of the project. A total cost of SLL2, 962,476,846 (Two Billion Nine Hundred and Sixty-two Million Four Hundred and Seventy-six Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty-six Leones) is being paid to PAPs within that area.
The payment is made to PAPs for their physical structures and economic trees that will be affected by the project.
Addressing stakeholders and project affected persons before the start of payment at the Luawa Community Centre in Bonthe District, the Deputy Director of Engineering Services who doubles as the Project Manager, Ing. Phodie Musa Kamara said that the PAPs were identified based on a project impact assessment that was conducted by SLRA.
“Before we start any construction work, government and donors always ensure that persons who will be affected by the project are duly compensated,” he said.
Ing. Kamara explained that the compensation payments were not necessarily the actual worth of the affected properties, but a consolation package to encourage the PAPs to move off the road corridor in order to minimise the risk of accident and loss of livelihood.
The representative of the Chairman Bonthe District Council, Councillor Joseph Sivalie of Ward 321, expressed delight that the road construction that they have been anxious to see is gradually being realized.
He commended the government and donors for accepting to provide other social services, including schools and healthcare facilities, as requested by the communities within the project area.
The Director for Infrastructure for Development, a Civil Society consortium, Mr. Charles Mambu, stated that the Tikonko Junction – Mattru Jong Road is one of the roads that they had long being advocating for since the administration of the last government, but nothing was done about it.
Mr. Mambu emphasized that road construction is one of the best developments that a government can offer to its people because it is an enhancer to many other development projects.
He encouraged the PAPs, especially the community leaders and heads of households to invest the compensation payments into sustainable development projects that would benefit other family and community members.
In Kpetema, the Member of Parliament for Constituency 79, which covers the Bumpeh Gao Chiefdom, Honourable Charles Abdulai encouraged the PAPs to quickly surrender or remove their properties from the road corridor to enhance easier access to the contractors to commence the road works.
According to the Resettlement Action Plan prepared by SLRA, the 1,666 affected persons belong to 719 households with an ownership of 230 structures and 389 economic trees along the road corridor.
Generally, the project affected persons are willing to give up their properties and relocate to other suitable locations because of the socio-economic benefits that they expect to gain from the road construction.
The SLRA will submit the compensation report to the donor, Arab Bank for Economic Development, (BADEA) for an approval while it continues the verification process for the next phase of the project.