Donors Send Warning Over U$4.5million ‘Missing’ In Road Fund Accounts

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    Liberia may not benefit from international aid program targeting road construction and rehabilitation should the National Road Fund is not properly managed as expected, the country’s donor partners have said in a document the New Democrat has seen.

    The National Road Fund (NRF) of Liberia was established by a legislative act in 2016 to finance maintenance and rehabilitation of roads and bridges for the purpose of keeping good roads from going bad. The fund comprises monies raised through appropriations of the Government of Liberia (GOL), grants and loans by international partners, road user charges (fuel levy) and other sources.

    But international development partners supporting the strengthening of Liberia’s roads network including the European Union, the German Corporation, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Embassy of Sweden said the approximately $US 13.2 million, which the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) collected as at January 2019, only $US 8.2 million has been transferred to the NRF accounts.

    Transfers into the accounts are lagging two to three months behind scheduled; the partners said fearing government could be tempted to increasingly rely on the road fund levy to cover non-road related expenses.

    “While the GOL’s progress is noted, further efforts by the GOL are urgently needed if the National Road Fund’s potential is to be achieved and donor supported initiatives sustained,” the partners said.

    “The GOL should demonstrate that it can effectively and regularly transfer all fuel levy funds collected by LRA into the National Road Fund account. All other steps to successfully implementing the NRF Act are dependent on the effective collection and transfer of the road levy without diversion of funds to unrelated expenditures.

    Liberian authorizes could not comment on the unexplained variance of US$4.5million despite efforts from this paper.

    New Democrat in subsequent publication will present how a Supreme Court case potentially undermined full implementation of the National Road Fund and could force partners to pullout.

    – Festus Poquie