By State House Communication Unit
Few days to the March 7 general elections, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Thursday 1st March 2018 commissioned the construction of the Mamamah International Airport at Mamboima off Songo Village, Koya Chiefdom in Port Loko district.
Delivering his keynote address, President Koroma expressed delight that in a few days to elections and his retirement, he is commissioning his dream project that will transform and take the country to the next level adding, that the construction of the Mamamah project is one of the projects put aside to transform the country.
He also disclosed that the next administration will commission the construction of the long anticipated Lungi Bridge which will transform Lungi and it’s environs into an economic zone.
He pointed out that in transforming a nation and creating the foundation to attaining a middle income country by 2035, bold decisions have to be taken. “We have to take big and bold decisions that are visionary,” citing Kwame Nkrumah’s decision to construct the Akosombo Dam that has yielded dividends for the people of Ghana.
He stated that when he came into governance in 2007, three projects which included the expansion of the Queen Elizabeth II Quay, the Mamamah airport and the construction of the Lungi Bridge that will transform Lungi were specifically put together to usher the country into an era of great economic development pointing out, that the Mamamah Airport will bring employment, development of tourism, connect with the international world among others.
This development, the president said, should go along with the construction of an administrative block, new state house, parliament, ministerial section, judiciary and an environment that will transform Koya into the New Freetown.
“This will help to decongest Freetown and encourage the next administration that all of these development projects should be completed within five years under the next government. “We should not hesitate and be distracted, it is possible,” he emphasized.
President Koroma noted that Lungi Airport will not be closed as a result of the Mamamah Airport.
Chairman of the ceremony who also doubles as the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Mr Leonard Balogun Koroma said the airport will propel economic growth and foster the continued transformation of the country. He said the airport which will be completed within four years will be an ultra modern and a state of the art airport that will significantly promote and develop tourism, job creation, provides an impetus for the massive expansion of Freetown and the creation of a new Koya City. He stated that the construction of the airport was as a result of the special bilateral relationship between China and Sierra Leone.
Giving an overview of the Mamamah Airport, Director of Mamamah International Airport project Mr Morlai Buya Kamara said they are building an airport development zone of approximately 21,000 acres of land with a facility of a category four E Airfield, wing span of 60 metres, presidential terminal, terminal building, office space and any other facilities found in any international airport in the world. He said the project will cost Three Hundred and Eighteen Million United States Dollars through a concessionary loan agreement with the Exim Bank of China.
Chairman Civil Aviation Authority Captain Victor Spaine said the move is a fresh start in the aviation industry as it will form the nucleus for a mega city and will address challenges in the aviation industry.
Making a brief statement, the Chinese ambassador Mr Wu Peng said the airport will create economic growth, jobs, open up a new city and an economic zone in the area. He said the project was as a result of a special arrangement between the Chinese government and the government of Sierra Leone and thanked President Xi Jinping and the people of China for their support to the project. He noted that the Mamamah Airport will bring unimaginable benefits that will contribute to the development and great transformation of the country.