NAMs approve $34M Bertil- Harding highway project

Feb 23, 2022, 12:16 PM | Article By: Ismaila Sonko

Deputies at the National Assembly on Tuesday ratified a loan agreement between the Republic of The Gambia (the borrower), the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB)  amounting to the sum of US$34,000,000 ( Thirty-Four Million US dollars).

Out of this amount $14,000,000 (Fourteen Million US dollars) will be provided by the Islamic Development Bank while the remaining $20, 000,000 (Twenty Million US dollars) to be provided by the BADEA for the widening of the Bertil - Harding highway project.

This loan agreement was tabled before the parliament by the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mamburay Njie on Tuesday for the ratification.

Tabling the loan agreement, Minister Njie said is in line with the overarching goal of the National Development Plan (NDP) and its strategic priorities. BADEA and IsDB are providing support to the government of The Gambia through credit facilities aimed at widening the Bertil-Harding highway into a triple carriage-way with two overpasses. 

He informed that the loan amounts from BADEA and IsDB are $20,000,000.00 and $14,000,000.00 respectively with both loan facilities being concessional per the International Monetary Fund (IMF) guidelines. 

Finance Minister said the project when completed would reduce travel time and savings is considered as one of the direct benefits to the users and the community.

“Indeed, the average travel time will be reduced by 40% from 48 minutes in 2021 to 26 minutes after the project completion by end of 2023. It will also improve the road quality which leads to savings in road maintenance; the International Roughness Index (IRI) of the road will be improved from 10m/km to 7m/km in 2028.”

He indicated that it will also reduce Vehicles Operating Coat (VOC), mainly for trucks, by about 35% from $2 per truck per km in 2021 to $1.3 per truck per km  and the reduction in the number of accidents and fatalities.

The project, he added, would improve exchanges between Old Jeshwang and Banjul International Airport, passing through Fajara, Kotu, Bijilo, Sukuta and Old Yundum districts, which is the Sting Corner - Banjul International Airport Junction Highway.

The widening of this flagship highway, he affirmed, would significantly complement other government infrastructural initiatives vis-a-vis the construction of 20 new roads for the upcoming Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit which the country will host this year.

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