Minister of the Year – Hon. Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan, the Road Zealot

Many public servants failed on the job or are prone to fail not because the government of the day lacked vision. It is often the lack of innovation, energy, passion and commitment to deliver. Not too many are inclined to ‘die’ a bit for their government and the people. Those who succeed and are regarded champions of a cause are people who take their assignments or vocations personal, and live it. When the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development succeeds, which is certain from the look of things, the list of heroes would be incomplete without mention of Public Works Minister Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan. The former Sinoe County Senator has chewed, swallowed and digested the PAPD, particularly its fortress—road connectivity program ingrained in his bones. His exuberance and obsession to see communities and cities connected with paved roads and by extension make the government succeed is unmatched. Thus, The Analyst has selected him for the “Minister of the Year” award. And this is why.

The Minister of the Ministry of Public Works, Hon. Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan is a 54 year old Liberian civil engineer, lawyer and also holds a master degree in international relations with many years of experience of work in both public and private sectors. Our distinguished honoree who is the ‘Minister of the Year 2018’ an honor with merit and preferment by The ANALYST Newspaper in its Personality of the Year 2018 editorial sitting, had served in the Liberian Senate as Senior Senator for Sinoe County for nine (9) consecutive years.  While at the Liberian Senate, he represented the Senate at the ECOWAS Parliament, and was for many years Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works. Our honoree has also had the opportunity to serve in other capacities such as Deputy Managing Director for Administration at LPRC and Deputy Managing Director for Technical Services at the Liberia Water and Sewer Cooperation.  Our honoree as a student of the University of Liberia once served as Chairman of the Student Integration Movement (SIM) at the UL campus and is widely considered by his peers as a pragmatic politician. Spending most of his political life as a cadre and an official of the United People’s Party, our honoree joined ranks with the Coalition for Democratic Change in 2017. During the period of the elections, he served as Chairman of the CDC Campaign Committee in Sinoe County, a county that the coalition won with the highest percentage in the country.

With the inauguration of President Weah in January of 2018, our honoree was appointed Minister of Public Works in the Weah’s administration. And it is his distinguished service at the Ministry of Public Works that has won him this special accolade of Minister of the Year by us at the Analyst Newspaper; a choice which we are confident will be well-regarded and supported by a vast majority of Liberians.   Immediately upon his appointment by the President Weah, our honoree made his first official foreign trip to Tokyo, Japan to negotiate, finalize and sign a contract agreement for the construction of phase 2 of the Somalia Drive Road Project. Thereafter, he was part of many other government delegations out of the country in search of financial resources to blow the whistle of Liberia.

Our honoree, an articulate and astute administrator has successfully negotiated for the continuation of bilateral assistance to the Government of Liberia from international partners. Our honoree has improved the moral and standing of the Ministry of Public Works amongst the various ministries within the country. We must indicate that our honoree has very well executed the mandate of the president in ensuring the implementation of the Pro-Poor Agenda through roads connectivity and he remains focus and dedicated. As the chief engineer of the republic, our honoree with support from His Excellency the President, is now pursuing the construction of major corridor of roads in various regions of the country. Some of these projects include the road from Ganta through Tappita to Zwedru which is expected to start in the first half of 2019 with funding from the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund.

The Coastal Corridor includes the Buchanan-Greenville, Sasstown-Baclayville to Pleebo. The project is also expected to commence in the first half of next year with initial funding from the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development.

Under the stewardship of our honoree Hon. Mbabutu Vlah Nyenpan, the Minister of the Year, the Gbarnga-Sarlayea to Voinjama highway has begun. The Ganta to Yekekpa is also in progress whereas the road between Sinniquelle and Logatuo kicks off early next year.

In Monrovia, the Coco Cola Factory to ELWA project is also in progress. Also of importance of several pavements reflective of monumental infrastructural development have been finalized under the auspices of the Ministry of Public Works where our Minister of the Year serves as head.

These projects include the Barley Island Project, which entails the construction of an ultra-modern Mahatma Ghandi Convention Center with funding from the Government of India.

The construction of two (2) modern overhead interchanged bridges with funding from the Government of the People’s Republic of China to be constructed at the ministerial complex in Congo Town and the S.K.D Boulevard intersection in Paynesville respectively. This includes the construction of Kesselley Boulevard which connects Sinkor by way of another modern bridge.

We are also pleased that the achievement of our Minister of the Year over the past 11 months as Minister of Public Works in the Weah’s administration had surpassed the achievement of any other minister in said capacity over the same period of time in Liberia’s recent history.

As a lawyer, our Minister of the Year has successfully navigated the Ministry of Public Works through technical and complex negotiations with bilateral partners and lending institutions. As a civil engineer, our Minister of the Year has also instituted the relevant mechanism to ensure that the implantation of projects is based on specification and design ensuring robust supervision and monitoring of contractors and at the same time ensuring that unnecessary technical bureaucracies are erased. With a master degree in International Relations our Minister of the Year has ably represented the government at many international meetings and continues his representation.

He was part of the GOL delegation to the World Bank, International Monetary Fund annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia where Liberia benefited as recipient of grants for roads work. Hon. Nyenpan our honoree was also part of a delegation to Hong Kong, Istanbul Turkey, Dakar Senegal and Accra Ghana all in pursuit of funds for roads work in Liberia. Our honoree attended the 2018 Forum on China and African Cooperation FOCAC Submit and was part of the president Dakar, Senegal.

Furthermore, our Minister of the Year had consistently demonstrated serious commitment to tasks assigned to him by the president. The Analyst recalls the mandate of President Weah to the Ministry of Public Works to pave community roads in Monrovia and its environs. Immediately upon issuance of this mandate, our honoree took the bull by the horn and identifies 85km of community roads in and around Monrovia as well as Buchanan and Gbarnga for pavement as we conferred the honor of Minister of the Year on the Minister of Public Works. We note that massive road construction works and pavement are taking place in so many communities across the country including Gbarnga, Bong County and Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

What is also worth noting is that most of these road contracts are being executed by Liberian   construction contractors, a positive departure from the past, something that alludes to President Weah’s statement during his 22nd January Inaugural Speech when he said “Liberians will not be spectators in their country”. Hence, not only are roads being built in various communities but employment opportunities are also availed to many young persons both skilled and unskilled in various communities. An inspection of the works on these roads shows that substantial progress is being made in project implementation with Asphalt pavement sand Concrete pavement already laid on some of these roads. We also note with satisfaction that our Minister of the Year is a media friendly personality who considers the press as an indispensible partner in the pursuit of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).

We also note with satisfaction that with a workforce with about 800 persons, our honoree Minister Nyenpan has successfully managed to motivate the workforce, maintain homogeneity amongst the senior management and at the same time elevated the image of the ministry. The Ministry of Public Works under Minister Nyenpan’s leadership can therefore be inarguably classified as the face of the Pro-Poor government. We also note that at a number of occasions the President of the Republic of Liberia has publicly commended Minister Nyenpan for his splendid and satisfactory performance in the enhancement of the Pro-Poor Agenda through roads connectivity.

The Analyst in this current Personality of the Year 2018 is therefore convinced that our choice Hon. Mabutu Vlah Nyenpan as Minister of the Year deserves this honor. We congratulate him and urged him to do more in the years to come. Thoroughly indeed, President Weah has made road connectivity a fulcrum of his Pro-Poor Agenda, whereas the road between Sinniquelle and Logatuo kicks off early next year. Bravo! Hon. Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan.

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