RMFA’s Operations, Achievements and Challenges

RMFA’s Operations, Achievements and Challenges

Thursday, August 11, 2022 9:44 am

Mohammed Kallon, CEO, RMFA

The Chief Executive Officer CEO of the Road Maintenance Fund Administration RMFA, Mohamed Kallon, spoke on the operations, implementation, success stories, challenges and recommendations of road maintenance programmes for 2021, to the Public Relations Manager of RMFA, MOHAMED BORBOR MANSARAY. The CEO explains his achievements and challenges so far

As the CEO of RMFA since 2020, give a brief background of your institution to someone who is for the first time hearing about it.

The Road Maintenance Fund Administration (RMFA) was established by the Road Maintenance Fund Administration Act No. 3 of 2010 for financing the maintenance of the core road network and provide for other related matters. The objective is to set up an independent administration to ensure the proper, efficient, economic and sustainable management of the Road Fund dedicated for maintenance of the national road network.

The functions of RMFA include:

  1. Manage and administer the Fund;
  2. Approves the amount of funding to be made available to the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) for the performance of its functions;

iii. Effectively monitor the use of monies allocated from the Fund;

  1. Approves any application from any Local Council or body for funding from the Fund, of any road-related activity; and
  2. Do all other things as will contribute to the attainment of the RMFA’s mandate.

By this Act, RMFA’s sole mandate is road maintenance. It does not concern itself with road construction and/or road rehabilitation. RMFA achieves its mandate through its implementing partners: Sierra Leone Road Authority (SLRA) and 22 Local Councils.

The main sources of revenue for RMFA are mainly from road user charges levied on fuel by the Oil Marketing Companies (Petrol and Diesel) and vehicle licenses and registration fees through the Sierra Leone Road Safety.

Since 2018 to date, RMFA finances road maintenance programmes under the auspices of SLRA and the 22 Local Councils. To ensure value for money, RMFA effectively monitor the implementation of its funded road projects and the use of monies allocated to its implementing partners.


With  this brief insight, please explain the modes of operations of RMFA with its implementing partners (SLRA and the 22 Local Councils).

RMFA’s mode of operations with its implementing partners are simple and easy to understand, but let me start with SLRA which is the principal implementer of all the funds accrued from our funding sources. The role of SLRA in the RMFA’s road maintenance programme is to ensure the maintenance of trunk road; highways, city and district headquarter roads, big bridges of certain dimension, and other related activities.

At the beginning of any Financial Year, RMFA will communicate and request for road programme proposal for funding and it is mandatory for SLRA to provide its annual road maintenance programme and budget to RMFA three months to the end of the year.SLRA develops its road maintenance programme, and submitted to RMFA’s Management whichwill review and submit it to the RMFA Board for approval. After the Board’s approval, the feedback will be communicated to SLRA for commencement of the procurement processes of the approved programme.

Copies of the approved contract documents and request for advance payment are then sent to Ministry of Works & Public Asset (MWPA) for authorization, and keeping RMFA in copy. After the Ministry’s authorization, RMFA makes 30% advance payment for the commencement of their annual procurement. Accordingly, National Public Procurement Authorization (NPPA)’s protocols are observed by all parties involved.Let me however emphasize that SLRA procures and award contracts to contractor with absolute freedom, and there will be no RMFA’s involvement in the procurement process.

SLRA’s implementation of road projects are done by contractors hired by them, not RMFA. SLRA supervises the contractual deliverables and provides technical backstopping to its hired contractors. RMFA ensures technical and financial compliance, monitor & evaluate of the roads and funds disbursement till completion. RMFA engineers will monitor and evaluate the professional and progress of the works.

In 2021, RMFA approved Ninety Billion Leones (Le 90,000,000,000/00)to SLRA for the maintenance of core road network nationwide. Amongst the key road maintenance activities within the budget were the maintenance of more than 3,000km of roads and other road maintenance works.These include activities like premix patching on major trunkand city roads; surface and drainage cleaning; assorted concrete works; brushing along major roads through performance based contracting; road inventory and data collection; continuation of king jimmy embankment project addenda; and maintenance of Bo – Mattru road.

This is just a brief on the RMFA’s mode of operation with SLRA; now let us take a ride with the 22 Local Councils. Local Council are in charge of all feeder road maintenance programmes and other related activities. At the beginning of any Financial Year, RMFA provides allocations to the Local Councils based on provision and approved funds by Ministry of Finance and approved by Parliament. RMFA communicates the ceiling to the Local Councils to select roads and submit feeder road programme proposals.

With the noninvolvement of RMFA, Local Councils select roads for maintenance in collaboration with the community members; develop proposals; cost estimate; drawings and submit to RMFA. RMFA then reviews the road projects/proposals for compliance and communicates to Local Councils to commence procurement.Like SLRA, Local Councils solely procure and award contracts and copies of contract documents and request for advance payment are sent to RMFA. RMFA reviews contracts and pay 30% and 50% for works and supervision respectively.

The contractual works are done by the Local Councils’ recruited contractors following the implementation cycle, but the Local Councils provide continuous supervision, monitoring and evaluation while RMFA ensures technical and financial compliance, monitor & evaluate for further disbursementof fund till completion.

Indeed, reporting is a must to both partners before the commencement of the other Financial Year.


Q: With this detailed explanation of the modes of operations between RMFA and its implementing partners, how did the 2021 feeder roads implementation cycle looked like.

Based on experience and desk reviews since I assumed office, I had reason, through Management, to come up with a robust feeder road project implementation plan in 2021. We divided the implementation cycle into three stages: first stage (January – May) enhances the payments (Advance Payment & Interim Payment); commencement of works on sites, supervision & submission of Interim Payment Certificate, Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) and payments. The second stage (June – August) includes M&E, trainings & discussions, and the third stage (September – December) involves planning, provision of allocation & budget, survey and procurement.

RMFA’s 2021 approved programmes for the Local Councils was about Twenty-Three Billion, Five Million, Eighty-Four Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Nine Leones, Fifty-Nine Cent (Le 23,005,084,869.59).This amountwas used for the maintenance of 139.4km of feeder roads; construction of 316 single box culverts; construction of 26 double box culverts andconstruction of 12 bridges. RMFA paid the entire requested amounts from the Local Councils, including the cost for supervision.


Q: What are the major success stories in 2021?

The major success stories in 2021 include but not limited to the following:

Completion of Payment of 108 Billion Leones Loan:  In October 2016, RMFA obtained a loan of Thirty-Five Billion Leones (Le 35 Bn ) from the Commerce and Mortgage Bank. In February 2017, a further loan of Thirty Billion Leones (Le 30 Bn) was taken from Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) and Fifteen Billion Leones (Le 15 Bn) from Rokel Commercial Bank, with a total interest of TwentyEight Billion Leones (Le 28 Bn), making a total loan profile of One Hundred and Eight Billion Leones (Le 108 Bn) obtained from the three local banks.

Since the new administration took over in 2018, the administration has been paying Le 2.45 Bn every month to settle the debts. The administration made considerable achievements in the loan repayment, albeit the huge funding gap and the increasing demand to fund road maintenance activities. However, the administration completed the loan repayment at the end of Q3 of 2021.

Disbursements to Road Agencies In 2021: RMFA was able to disburse a total of Le 215.4 Bn to the implementing agencies. Below is a breakdown of disbursement. The total amount paid to SLRA for maintenance activities including, Data Collection (Road Inventory and Condition Survey & Road Assert Management), supervision and operational cost was Le 124.31 Bn. The total amount disbursed to the 22 Local Councils was Le 79.95 Bn. The total amount paid to the banks to service loan was Le 9.76 Bn. A total of Le 0.12 Bn was also disbursed for other soft road related activities which include the following thepayment for Independent Monitoring Advocacy & Community Education on the maintenance of core road network.

Approved Programmes/Projects from the Local Councils:  The councils were given allocations in late 2020 and letters were sent to them indicating the amount available for the maintenance of feeder roads in the respective areas. In response, the councils submitted proposals which were reviewed, approved, and implemented in 2021. A summary of the allocated amount and deliverable are shown in Table A below. In addition to the allocation, additional programmes/projects were received from various councils and subsequently approved on a case-by-case basis. The approvals were done on the bases of relevant justifications for the intervention, the level of needs, scale of previous road interventions in the location, the criticality of the proposal to national road network, and the availability of funds.

Monitoring and Evaluation Activities: The administration maintained its normal operation procedure by ensuring that request verifications were done through site visit to confirm the level of completion and the quality of works, especially for final payment for the Local Councils. A total of 151 monitoring visits were conducted by the technical department of the administration. In addition to that, the Board of Directors accompanied by the office of the Chief Executive Officer, visited all the councils on oversight mission, and in a bid to identify possibilities for continuous improvement in the implementation of feeder roads maintenance activities.

For all roads and its related activities, including the loan repayments, a total of Le 215.4 Bn was disbursed in 2021 to road agencies and relevant institutions in the road sector for the maintenance and supervision of the road network in Sierra Leone. The above amounts were disbursed to implementing agencies, based on cash-flow and request for payment for approved programme.

RMFA approved huge number of road maintenance programmes in 2021, for which the administration achieved 100% in term of mobilizing the resources, and 85% in terms disbursement for completed and verified works. The administration made funds available and disbursed a total of Le 205.6 Bn to SLRA and the Local Councils for road maintenance works across the country. The funds were used to accomplish the following road maintenance activities: maintenance of 2,333.62km of roads and constructions of 755 single box culverts; 70 double box culverts; 7 pipe culverts; 61 bridges and accomplishment of 10 other road-related activities such as concrete drainage works, rehabilitation and maintenance of ferries, flash flood remedial works(drainage and surface cleaning).

Capacity Building of Implementing Partners: RMFA & SLRA conducted Technical Training for Local Council Engineers for the maintenance of feeder roads in August 2021.

Access to Institutional Information: RMFA has improved and updated its website. The website has all relevant information about the administration, including but not limited to the RMFA Act of 2010; Audited Financial Statements; M & E Reports; implementation cycle and detailed plan for feeder roads maintenance; RMFA Service charter and more.

Implementation Cycle and Detailed Plan: From the lessons learnt in previous years and the challenges faced in the implementation of feeder roads maintenance activities, RMFA will maintain the implementation cycle for the councils and detailed implementation plan for feeder roads maintenance activities in 2022. However, RMFA has developed a strategy to improve on the follow up processes in monitoring roads maintenance activities. This will ensure strict adherence to the implementation cycle/calendar and by extension improve the overall performance of the councils.


Q: Did you Encounter Challenges to Income Generation within your reign as CEO?

Indeed, there were numerous challenges but these were speedily resolved as the need arise. Few of these challenges are itemized as follows:

  • The outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic and the now Russia war in Ukraine continue to disrupt global supply chain thereby affecting production and cost of construction and transportation materials (Cement, iron rod, Fuel). These by extension have affected the cost required for the maintenance of roads and construction of culverts and bridges.
  • Delays in submission of annual programmes from both the local councils and SLRA hampered effective planning for project implementing thus endangering the adherence to implementation calendar.
  • SLRSA is not paying funds to the Administration as per the Road Traffic Act of 2007 with full details and copies of receipts where relevant. Therefore, RMFA cannot confirm or reconcile the percentage of funds received from SLRSA.
  • Although there is a relatively significant improvement in the procurement of works, there are still considerable delays in the process. The implementation plan has six weeks provision for the procurement process. However, few implementing agencies extend far beyond the stipulated duration for procurement.
  • The inclusion of major periodic and costly maintenance into SLRA annual maintenance budget account for a reasonable percentage of the budget thereby accelerating the accumulation of maintenance backlog. Inadequate financial resources has hampered effective implementation.
  • Conflicts in the Acts of the major stakeholders in the road sector has created conflicts in roles and responsibilities


Q: What are your recommendations to solve these challenges?

My recommendations include but not limited to the ones stated as follows:

  • Possible review of the amount paid by the SLRSA to the Administration (currently 10%) of income received from the Licensing and registration of vehicles.
  • In addition to seeking donor funding for road maintenance activities, the RMFA realizes that a lot of donor funding for road construction is being channeled directly to the SLRA. At the end of the construction or rehabilitation of the roads, it becomes the responsibility of RMFA to fund the maintenance of those roads. Therefore, we recommend provisions for future maintenance of the constructed roads.
  • The current rate of fuel levy in Sierra Leone is the lowest in West African sub-region, if not the world at large; costing about 4 US Cents (4 cents of the US$). The impact is low generation of revenue from Road User Charges levied on fuel. Indeed, it is a challenge in terms of raising funds to handle the numerous demands coming from implementing partners engaged in road maintenance work nationwide. Therefore, RMFA recommends an increase of RUC from 4 US-cents to 8-12 US-cents.
  • The inclusion of major periodic and costly maintenance into SLRA annual maintenance budget account for a reasonable percentage of the budget thereby accelerating the accumulation of maintenance backlog.
  • Ministry of Finance to support RMFA in financing major period maintenance activities that are costly. This will ensure reasonable number of roads are maintained each year and reduce the accumulation of maintenance backlog.


Q: Any insight on the 2022 Road Maintenance Programmes?

For 2022, same procedures and engagement as explained above and works with Local Councils are in progress with remarkable successes. 3 Local Councils have completed their feeder road maintenance works for 2022; some others are very close to completion. As a protocol, all major road works should be put on hold during the rains. SLRA’s budget was reviewed and works are progressing steadily. RMFA is making progressive input to the flooding mitigation coordinated by Freetown City Council. There are hopes that RMFA will financially intervene in the flood mitigation exercise, even though SLRA has already been funded for the activity.


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