By Mustapha E. Dumbuya
Director General of the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA) Moses Tiffa Baio told reporters last week the Mama Airport Project signed by the Former president Koroma was not part of the government’s National Development Plan.
Mr Baio made this statement during the weekly government press briefing at the Ministry of Information and Communications conference at the Youyi Building in Freetown.
According to Baio, the Chinese government told former presidents Koroma and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia that they had money, but it was not for airport construction and the both of them requested for the money.
Baio said that the government of former president koroma did collect the money for the construction of the Mama Airport and by then the Chinese investors wanted to see an investment that would cost at around 300 million dollars.
He added that there were a series of challenges with the government of Sierra Leone one of which regarded the location and technical problems as the Chinese contractors had wanted to run the air tracks against the main high way by Masiaka.
“Because of these challenges, that is why the Chinese contractors had been reluctant to provide the design of the airport, as well as reducing the money to 240 Million dollars instaed. They said that you can provide the balance,” the Director said.
Mr Baio stated that even their international development partners, including the World Bank came out with a report condemning the project. The Mamama airport would not have given Sierra Leoneans a modern Airport because there was no boarding bridge for and other security issues.
Baio maintained it will have cost more money building a city in Mamama than building a city in Lungi. For thos reasn also, that is why the government of president Bio cancelled the construction of Mamama Airport and a new city projects.
The Minister of Transport and Aviation Kabineh Kallon told journalists that no Sierra Leone Airport Authority (SLAA) staff will lose his or her job at the airport because the Summa Group of Companies will take over the management of the airport. He said that all former staff of the Sierra Leone Airports Authority will be moved under the employ of Summa and all their benefits will be paid fully.
Mr. Kallon earlier said that there have been certain letters of terminations from some staff of SLAA, with a proposition that their contract had been terminated.
The Transport Minister pointed out that for former SLAA staff they will continue to work for Summa until after one year of transfer. Then if any is found unwilling to work, it is up to Suma to decide their fate.