Monrovia, Liberia-The government of Liberia through the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority, (NaFAA), the University of Liberia and development partners Friday July 28, 2023 broke grounds for the construction of two separate facilities for the department of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences and the Regional Center of Excellence for Fisheries Science and Governance of the T.J R. Faulkner College of Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change at the University of Liberia.
The two facilities which include an academic building and a dormitory will be constructed within the Fendell campus of the University of Liberia by two engineering firms to include Mak Enterprises Inc and Bitar Construction Company. Accordingly, the two construction companies won the bit to undertake the construction operations which is valued at 1.8 million United States dollars.
Bita Construction Company won the bit to construct the dormitory which will be a two-story building with 14 bed rooms on each floor and Mak Enterprise won the bit to construct the academic building following a competitive process.
Moreover, speaking during the ceremony, the proxy for the Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority Madam Emma Metieh Glassco, the Deputy Director General for Administration Hon. Augustine M. Manoballah commended the World Bank for the financial support toward the Liberian Fisheries sector which has led toward the establishment of the fisheries science degree program at the University of Liberia.
“today we are breaking grounds for the construction of facilities for the department of fisheries science all of this a dream come true for Liberia with the help of the World Bank”
Hon. Manoballah said the government of President George Weah was farsighted in the establishment of a fisheries science degree program at the University of Liberia which is gear toward the development of the skills of Liberia’s youthful population to enable them manage the fisheries sector.
The NaFAA Deputy Director General pledged to work collaboratively with development partners including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO) and the World Bank to ensure the continuity of the fisheries science department at the University.
At the same time, he urged development partners to continue their technical and financial support to enhance the operation of the fisheries science degree program at the University of Liberia.
“following the construction of these facilities, there will be need for additional support for students and faculty staff enhancement and also there will be need for material support such as laboratory equipment among others, as such we the government through NaFAA will count your support”
Mr. Manoballah who put the total cost of the project at 1.8 million United States dollars, reemphasized that it is funded by the World Bank under the Liberia Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project (LSMFP).
Also making remarks during the ground breaking ceremony, the acting country Manager of the World Bank Mack Cape-Hart Mulbah disclosed that the project will contribute to improving and ensuring fisheries management and enhancing livelihoods and income for both government and targeted beneficiaries.
“the benefits to be reaped from this project are immense and include the development of soft skills such as training o University students and graduates in the fisheries sector which in turn will contribute to the creation of job opportunities for Liberians. Today’s groundbreaking is the seed that promises to bear fruit from the vital collaboration between the Liberian government and the World Bank in the fisheries sector”
He said the World Bank will also be looking into supporting the construction of further infrastructures to support the sector through the establishment of fish processing facilities, cold storage facilities that are needed for effective fish preservation and the rise in revenue generation from the sales.
Lastly, he mentioned the Bank’s engagement in the sector will also fund much needed interventions across the whole value chain, such as investments in new alternative vessels and fishing gears for catching fish at sea and a modern landing fishing dock at Monrovia’s Mesurado Pier.
Speaking earlier, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Assistant Representative for programs in Liberia pledged to work with the University for the enhancement of the Fisheries Science degree program.
Mr. Octavius T. Quarbo disclosed that FAO is currently working with the management of the University in other areas and will also be willing to provide technical assistance for the furtherance of the fisheries science degree program in Liberia.
Also, the head of the Environmental Justice Foundation in Liberia, (EJF) Cephas Asare commended the government of Liberia for the establishment of the fisheries science degree program.
Mr. Asare pledged his entity support through interim- ship for the development of the students practically skills for the job market.
Meanwhile, the president of the University of Liberia Dr. Sarwolo Nelson Jr. commended the World Bank for the support toward the Fisheries Science degree program.
“today we are part of a historic ceremony that will lead to the overall enhancement and development of the Liberian Fisheries sector”
Dr. Nelson who was over joy during the ground breaking ceremony commending the Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority for been so farsighted by ensuring a close collaboration with the University of Liberia for the establishment of a fisheries science degree program.
It can be recalled, on January 25, 2023, the government of Liberia through the National fisheries and Aquaculture Authority , (NaFAA) in collaboration with the University of Liberia launched the Fisheries Science Degree program at the main campus of the University on Capitol Hill.