Establishment of SLRA
The Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) was legally established on March 1, 1993 under the SLRA Act of 1992. The establishment of the SLRA satisfied one of the three elements of the Sierra Leone Government’s strategy for addressing the problems of the road sub-sector that is, to build institutional capacity to better plan and manage, on a sustainable basis, the maintenance, development and control of the country’s road network.
In line with Government’s development aspirations, the SLRA’S Mission is:
To provide a safe, reliable and sustainable National Road System for the enhancement of the socio-economic development of the country.
Upon re-classification of the country’s road network, on a functional basis in 1995, the Authority identified an 8,200km national road network, comprising primary and secondary trunk roads and feeder roads. In addition, there were about 3000km of local roads, comprising rural roads and trucks and urban streets. About 800km of trunk roads were paved (seal or asphalt), as indeed were many urban streets. Other roads were gravel or earth.
The basis of classification of the national road network is as follows:
- Primary Roads (Class A) – form a network of main trunk roads serving corridors characterised by relatively high volumes of traffic and with a high proportion of long distance trips, including those of an international or inter-regional nature. They connect the national capital with regional and district centres and with the trunk roads on neighbouring countries.
- Secondary Roads (Class B) – are the principal collector/distributor roads for the primary network, serving major district centres as well as other important population centres and tourists or agricultural areas, which generate a considerable number of medium and long distance trips.
- Tertiary or Feeder Roads (Class F) – are primarily local and land-service roads, serving as collector/distributor routes for secondary and some primary routes. They also provide access to Chiefdom Centres, which are the lowest level of administrative authority of government.
The SLRA’s current responsibilities include the administration, control, development and maintenance of all roads and related structures in Sierra Leone.
When established, the SLRA was directly responsible to the Ministry of Works. This situation however changed in 2003 when the SLRA was added to the first schedule (public Enterprise for Divestiture) of the National Commission for Privatization Act 2002 (the NCP Act). From this time on, SLRA became directly responsible to the NCP. The only major link that now exists with the Ministry n of Works, Housing and Technical Maintenance (MWHTM) is that the GOSL funds for road rehabilitation and development projects are managed in the ministry’s component of the Government appropriation.
A further modification to the functions of SLRA occurred with the enactment of the Local Government Act 2004 (the LG Act). The third schedule of that Act lists the SLRA functions of maintenance of primary feeder roads and chiefdom roads/tracks as being devolved to Local Councils. This development is to occur according to a programme to be promulgated by the Minister of Local Government.
In addition to devolvement of some road maintenance functions under the local Government Act, the SLRA Act makes provision for the SLRA to delegate its responsibilities for certain roads to Local Government bodies.
The Authority has a staff strength of 361 nationwide. The breakdown is as follows:
Administration – 135
Maintenance – 110
Development – 25
Feeder Roads – 20
OMD – 18
Finance – 30
Internal Audit – 9
Procurement – 8
RIMP – 6
The SLRA Board and Management
The SLRA Act makes provision for a 10-Member Board being the governing body of the Authority. The current structure of the Board of Directors reflects well-balanced interests of various stake holders, comprising the Chairman, the Director-General of SLRA, the Professional Head of the Ministry of Works, Housing and Infrastructure, a representative of the Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers and Provincial representatives.
The day-to-day management, however, rests with the Directorate team, headed by the Director-General as Chief Executive, the Deputy Director-General and seven Departmental Directors.
The seven departments consisting the basic organisational framework of the Authority and their core functions are:
- Administration Department
The Administration Department deals with all matters relating to personnel, human resour4ce development and capacity building, estates and general maintenance, stores and supplies, general administration of the SLRA, and serves as secretariat for the SLRA Board of Directors.
- Development Department
The Development Department is responsible for the establishment of policies and procedures to ensure the development of new and upgrading of existing roads.
- Maintenance Department
The maintenance Department is responsible for the maintenance of all roads, with the exception of Feeder Roads. The six SLRA Regional Offices (western, Port Loko, Makeni, Mile 91, Bo and Kenema Regions) report to this Department.
- Feeder Roads Department
The Feeder Roads Department is responsible for the implementation of all programmes relating to the development and rehabilitation of feeder roads.
A modification in the functions of this Department occurred when the Local Government Act (the LG Act) was enacted by Parliament in 2004. The third schedule of that Act makes provision for the devolution of SLRA’s function of maintenance of primary feeder roads and chiefdom roads/tracks to Local Councils.
In addition to the devolvement of some road maintenance functions under the Local Government Act, the SLRA Act makes provision for the delegation of some SLRA’s responsibilities for certain roads to Local Government bodies.
- Operations Management Department
The Operations Department serves as an interface between the Development and Maintenance Departments. The Department is charged with the responsibility of rehabilitating class A and B roads, including those leading to market centres. The Department manages contracts, and implements development projects, thus leading to contract management.
- Mechanical Services Unit
In August 2001, the SLRA transformed its equipment holdings into a semi-autonomous Mechanical Services Unit (MSU). The Unit is expected to be a commercially viable plant pool from which indigenous contractors, particularly road maintenance contractors, can hire plant, equipment and vehicles.
- Financial Department
The Finance Department is responsible for the management of all the finances of SLRA, with the exception of MSU.
In addition to the above Departments, the Authority also has specialized units, key amongst which are:
- Procurement Unit:
The responsibilities of the Procurement Unit include procurement planning, condition of bidding procedures for selection of suppliers, contractors and consultants for goods, works and services procurement. The Unit also provides secretarial services for the Procurement Committee; sources, profiles and maintains a data base on service providers and administers the implementation and monitoring of contracts.
- Road Infrastructure Monitoring and Protection Unit (RIMPU):
As the name implies, the unit is charged with the responsibility of monitoring all Roads Infrastructure including Bridges and Ferries, and ensuring that that are protected against damage or encroachment.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE ROAD MAINTENANCE FUND ADMINISTRATION (RMFA) AND THE ROAD FUND BOARD
The Road Maintenance Fund Administration (RMFA) Act was enacted by Parliament on April 9, 2010. The objective of the Act is to set up an independent Road Maintenance Fund Administration to ensure the proper, efficient, economic and sustainable management of the Fund dedicated for the maintenance of the national core road network. The RMFA Act also makes provision for a Board of Directors being the governing body of the RMFA.
Existing road network in Sierra Leone
Below is a table showing the overall picture of the classified and unclassified road network in Sierra Leone: