Home | News    Friday 18 June 2010

GOSS minister lauds USAID for boosting infrastructure in road maintenance


By Richard Ruati

June 16, 2010 (JUBA) — Anthony Lino Makana, Minister of Transport and Roads has praised USAID’s Sudan Infrastructure Services project (SISP) for its concerted efforts over the past four years to boost road maintenance and capacity building in select state ministries in ten states across the would-be South Sudan country.

Mr. Makana was speaking at the graduation of 17 new southern Sudanese road contractors at the Ministry of Transport and Roads’ Yei Road Facility in Juba on Monday June 14, 2010. The event marked the completion of a 10-week training course, and the local contractors will be awarded small contracts for the construction of feeder roads, which will be monitored and evaluated by USAID partner site engineers in their local areas. The graduates will also be presented with small, mechanized equipment to support their efforts.

"This is yet another milestone in improving rural roads and the underdeveloped transport system in Southern Sudan, promoting economic recovery and employment."

The occasion was attended by senior USAID Economic Growth officials among others, Camelita Manes, Eng Boutros Magaya, George Waggwa and Mary Aurupai and high States Director Generals plus their directors of Roads and Bridges in the ten states of Southern Sudan as well as the Louis Berger Group Sudan Chief of Party (COP) Dave Little.

The Minister encouraged the local contractors to take improvement of roads upon their shoulders, “you must take your hoes and shovels to show good results to the American people, who continue to develop your capacities."

The graduated contractors have joined forces with 13 previously trained labor-based contractors, some of whom were present at the event. USAID capacity-building training has resulted in 30 fully-trained, road maintenance contractors working in all 10 states of southern Sudan.

The Transport Minister highlighted some of the major successes of the project – the development of human resources, which is now being used improve deplorable feeder roads, VSAT communication, which will allow State Directorates of Roads and Bridges access to real time data to drive improvements in road asset management.

He also commended the local contractors, as over 70 percent of them had achieved the required standards of improvement of road using intensive labor.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Sudan Deputy Mission Director Peter Malnak, also addressed the event and he expressed satisfaction with the numerous achievements of the SISP.

"Infrastructure has created passion to many people throughout Southern Sudan, [we] can see results in Yambio in Western Equatoria, the travel time on the feeder road between Yambio and Gangura has been reduced from over two hours to about 20 minutes. In addition, the road is now traveled daily by not only the local residents on bicycles purchased underemployment from Labor-based contractors but also trucks using the improved route between Southern Sudan and the DRC."

He further noted that, "in Malakal, Upper Nile State, improvements in drainage within the town have improved the serviceability of the streets for travel during the rainy season. Before, children attending school had to walk through water but can now enjoy walking on a graveled carriageway"

Also on June 14, USAID handed over six new vehicles to the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) Ministry of Transport and Roads and were distributed to six state Ministries of Physical Infrastructure in Unity, Upper Nile, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, and Central Equatoria states. In 2009, four pickups were handed over to Jonglei, Eastern Equatoria, Western Equatoria and Lakes States. After Monday’s event, all ten states of southern Sudan will be equipped to access roads for ongoing site inspection by local ministries.

The vehicles, funded through USAID’s Sudan Infrastructure Services Project (SISP) and valued at $184,456 (One hundred eight four thousand, four hundred fifty six United States dollars) will enable the various State Directorates of Roads and Bridges to conduct road supervisory field work, which is important for rural road activities, including feeder road improvements, planning, monitoring and evaluation, and coordination of state-wide road activities.

"The distribution of the six vehicles represents yet another step forward in the strengthening of the road networks in Sudan," said Mr. Malnak.

Onlookers note that, Labor-based approach for road maintenance project is a good platform for greater accountability and performance management in the rural areas. They also had high praise for the unique road maintenance of the SISP project, because of its special emphasis on techniques to enhance the learning process for local firms.


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