The Government of Pakistan, through the Pakistan Repair and Maintenance (PakRAM) contingent of UNMIL, donated an asphalt plant to the Government of Liberia at a ceremony yesterday at Camp Scheffline, on the outskirts of Monrovia. The facility was received by Liberia’s Deputy Minister of Defence, Saint Jerome Larbelee, from PakRAM Commanding Officer, Lt.-Col. Mohammad Rafiq.
“This ceremony marks the beginning of a new era of Pakistani-Liberia brotherly relations. We pray that this plant proves to be extremely beneficial in the realization of Liberia’s prosperity,” said Lt.-Col. Rafiq as he formally handed over the plant.
PakRAM is leaving Liberia as part of UNMIL’s drawdown. The Government of Liberia is currently implementing a transition plan that will see national institutions assuming full responsibility for security across the country by 30 June 2016.
“Much needs to be done to achieve full security transition to the Government. However, the hand-over today demonstrates UNMIL’s commitment to fully support the transition,” said UNMIL Deputy Force Commander and Acting Force Commander, Brig.-Gen. Dirk Faust.
The Niggatta Mobile Asphalt NP-600 Plant has facilitated the construction and rehabilitation of several roads at key installations across Liberia, such as the Samuel K. Doe Stadium, James Spriggs Payne Airfield, Star Base, and Roberts International Airport (RIA). More than 12,000 tonnes of asphalt has been produced since the installation of the plant in 2007, covering an area of over 81,000 square metres.
Six soldiers from the Armed Forces of Liberia have been trained by PakRAM on the basic operations of the plant. The donation also included spare parts and other accessories to meet urgent maintenance requirements.
“Maintenance of a good road network has remained a challenge in Liberia’s reconstruction. This asphalt plant is a great gift as we celebrate our independence. The Government will ensure its proper use and safety,” promised Deputy Minister Larbelee.
PakRAM arrived in UNMIL in 2003 and has implemented various projects, including the repair of 60 kilometers of RIA-Monrovia road, 75 kilometres of Harper-Webo road, and maintenance of the runway at RIA.
Also present during the hand-over ceremony were UNMIL Pakistan Contingent Commander, Lt.-Col. Tufail Ahmed, UNMIL Director of Mission Support, Hubert Price, and Assistant Minister for Technical Services, Ministry of Public Works, Daniel Socree.