FENDELL, Margibi – President George Weah on Wednesday launched a low-cost housing project in Fendell, Margibi.
The initiative is an US$8 million project aimed at constructing 568 housing units for poor rural inhabitants across the 15 counties.
Weah also dedicated a sample of the housing units during the launching ceremony. He said the project is in fulfillment of promises he made during the election campaign to improve the living standards of Liberians.
“I made a campaign promise that when you make me your president, I will do my best for you, and everything I am doing today is what I said I will do,” he said.
The president recalled that while in Sass Town in Grand Kru between 1975 and 1979, he had no opportunity to live in a modern home, and thought to provide an opportunity where his parents, grandparents and others in Sass Town and across the counties can benefit from modern structures.
“Today, in this 21st century, I see that my parents, the people and my friends are still living the hut life. Now, we are in a modern era; it is time to change that,” he noted. “This is the Pro-Poor we talk about; it is meant for everyone to be served – the rich, the poor, and the middle class.”
The president disclosed that while his administration would make efforts to provide affordable housing for Liberians in the working class, the current initiative is targeting toward lifting citizens from poverty to sustainable development. He said the units would be provided without cost to the inhabitants, although he did not specify how the beneficiaries would be selected.
He reaffirmed his commitment to serve his people and bring development to the country despite criticisms.
“Building roads is good; building homes for people is a good thing. We cannot be comfortable in our dwellings and see other people are uncomfortable,” he said. “This is what I am – the originator of the Pro-Poor Agenda – and I must make sure that the agenda be fulfilled so that you can see our performance.”
He said it is improper to build new roads and still have huts along the ways.
The Liberian leader meanwhile called on the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment, which is the implementing partner of the project, to speed up the process and construct durable housing units.
The executive director of LACE, Quiwu Yeke, said the first phase of the project, which includes the construction of the first 500-plus units, would be funded by a grant provided by the Japanese government. According to Yeke, LACE would receive an initial US$4 million for the construction of the first 283 units.
He said despite being launched in Margibi, the project would officially kick in a week’s time in Sass Town, Grand Kru. He said each unit costs US$12,500.
Yeke said the availability of affordable housing units remains one of Liberia’s social development, as housing is a key necessity.
“Out of a population of 4.5 million people, our national economic survey done by the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo Information Services, also known as LISGIS, shows that 54.1 percent do not have their own housing to live in or do not have housing at all,” he said.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Margibi’s Sen. Oscar Cooper hailed the president and LACE for having the sample of the low-cost housing units constructed in his county.
Cooper, however, called on the project implementors to go beyond the sample unit and include other place in the county and other rural localities across the country with the actual project.
Featured photo courtesy of Richard F. Manuba/ LACE