While the Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh was commemorating the Universal Health Care Day at the Miatta Conference Hall at Youyi Building Brookfields, he used the opportunity to send a strong message to Sierra Leoneans both home and abroad that Census is not politics.
“Census is not politics but simply development”, he said why* delivering his keynote statement. The VP highlighted the importance of the census both in Krio and English arguing that “census is about data collection to enable government, local institutions, NGO’s and development partners to plan their interventions and support”. He said that the distribution of development opportunities such as energy, water, health care centers and workers depends on the demography of respective localities.
“Get counted and have your share of nurses, clinics, medicines, tap water and light”. The VP later recounted how wrong data was responsible for Sierra Leone to fail the MCC score on Child Immunization. We need to correct the date to get development planning right.
At the event, the VP catalogued the gains that have been made in the health sector and the continued commitment of the government to build a viable health system governance to deliver affordable health care delivery to citizens. He said that Government is keen to address the leadership and governance challenges in the health sector including the human resource deficit. According to the VP, so far, the data points to the progressive efforts of government particularly in primary health care.
I have never been associated with corruption
In a passionate press release to all Sierra Leoneans, presidential candidate for the APC, Dr. Samura Kamara stated that he has worked diligently and honestly for Sierra Leone for over forty years and that he has never once been associated with corruption. Below is the full text of his release:
My Fellow Sierra Leoneans
I, Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara, APC Presidential candidate in 2018 and now a very prominent presidential aspirant for 2023, have lived and worked for over 40 years in Sierra Leone and other credible international organizations as a trustworthy public official.
Never has my name been associated with criminality. I have never been accused of any corrupt practice.
I have never been in court on any charges whatsoever.
This nation and many international organizations have been very proud of my track record and performances in the various capacities of Economist at BSL, Financial Secretary at the Ministry of
Finance, Governor at BSL, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations
I have diligently and honourably again served several international
institutions, in particular, the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, the World Bank, the IMF, the African Union at various times on numerous assignments.
That confidence you had in me afforded me the opportunity of being selected as the flag bearer of the APC in the 2018 Presidential election.
Now, I am charged with corruption and to appear in court on two counts on Tuesday, 14th December 2021.
I am very innocent of those charges though they may have tended to smear my name and hard-earned reputation, affecting my family, supporters, and admirers.
It will be a trial of the character of Samura Kamara, the professional whom you have all known for over 40 years in public service for my nation.
Like many people who have gone through such challenges, mine is a test of my stamina and resilience. But the resolve to help my people through quality and effective leadership shall never wane under such allegations.
I shall come out clean and smelling of roses and reinvigorated in the belief that State Institutions must serve the people according to the law and be devoid of partisan political sentiments and prejudices.
Once again, let me re-echo my belief in the fight against corruption and the strengthening of state institutions to work independently.
I ask my family, supporters, and admirers to chronicle the events, remain calm and patient as the proceedings progress, and not play into the hands of the trigger-happy security and government personnel.
Parliament ratifies mines’ agreements
The Parliament of Sierra Leone has debated and ratified two mining agreements geared towards the socio-economic development of the State.
The following agreements were ratified by Parliament:
1. Large scale mining agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and Marampa Mines limited and
2. Third amendment to that certain agreement of November 20, 2021 by and between the Government of Sierra Leone and Sierra Rutile limited
Presenting the agreements prior to ratifications, the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Timothy Kabba said both agreements are good for the development of the state; adding that it is required by law for the ratification of these agreements to be approved by Parliament.He highlighted the benefits of these agreements towards the development of the national economy.
On the Rutile agreement, he said, the company had operated in the country for far too long and had generated revenue for the state and urged Parliament to ratified the agreement to help the company structures itself base on its financial challenges and investment.
The Leader of C4C in Parliament, Hon. Emerson Saa Lamina, who doubles as Chairman of Mines and Mineral Resources Committee in Parliament said the current Minister of Mines is a blessing to the people of Sierra Leone; citing his tremendous work accomplished in the mining sector. He praised the positive restructuring process of Marampa Mining Company and highlighted the duties and responsibilities expected from the mining company. On the Rutile agreement, he said it would enable government to receive benefits.
Hon. Abdul Karim Kamara said the expansion of the Marampa Mines is a blessing and noted that the private sector should be encouraged to operate and highlighted the huge capital benefits government and the people of Sierra Leone would derive; adding that Marampa Mines is a unique company in terms of its corporate social responsibility.
Hon. Alice Jebbeh Kumabeh commended the agreements and called on the House for ratifications, whilst referring to the Sierra Rutile company as a “reliable” private company to be reckoned with.
Hon. Edward George commended the minister and the agreements, adding that, Sierra Rutile has been the oldest mining company in the country and acknowledged the contributions of the company towards the socio-economic development of the state.
Hon. Mustapha M. Sellu commended the work of Sierra Rutile towards the development of the state and appreciated the agreement for ‘saving the life of Sierra Rutile operations’ in the country and called for massive recruitments of Sierra Leoneans into top managerial positions of the company.
Hon. Chernor R.M. Bah commended both agreements and joined his colleagues MPs for the approval of the agreements and noted that, the interest of the state should be a priority.
Rounding up the debate, Acting Leader of the Opposition Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said the country needed investors to invest in the country and warned local chiefs not to infringe with the operation of these mining companies. He also said the agreements are not controversial, but urged Parliament to monitor the agreements.
Concluding the debate, Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Shar Nyuma supported both agreements and called for proper monitoring on these agreements for the interest of the state. He also said that, they were good agreements and called for continuous negotiation with these companies, whilst recognizing the important role of the Paramount Chiefs in the mining sector.
British High Commissioner & FCDO Director Visit FCC Sites Projects Funded by UKAid
Happy to have spent yesterday afternoon with HE Lisa Cheney, British High Commissioner and Madam Kobi Bentley, Director of Development, FCDO as we visited the sites of FCC projects that were funded by UKAid.
We started out at the Faecel Sludge Treatment Plant, which is located next to the Kingtom dumpsite. We were joined by representatives from our implementing partner GOAL, Cllr Abdul Karim Turay, Chairman FCC Sanitation Committee, Mustapha Kemokai, FCC ESO and Ishmaila Bah, FCC CFO and together we were shown how the treatment plant operates. Grateful for the excellent work being done by our implementing partners GOAL. The concept for this unique liquid waste solution emerged from the FCC Sanitation Technical Working Group that met in 2018 and contributes towards the achievement of our sanitation target!
The next stop was the Sanitation Transfer Station at Macauley Street, where we were joined by Councillor Rugiatu Kamara and Glynnis Cummings-John from our implementing partner, CRS. This structure is one of six Transfer Stations strategically located across the city (at Allen Town, Approved School, Shell New Road, Cline Town, Macauley Street and Lumley). Transfer Stations are to serve as local deposit points for the waste collected by the tricycle groups. The Transfer Stations will help tricycles collect more waste by reducing the travel time, fuel costs and damage to the tricycles that results from them driving in the mud at the dumpsites. Unfortunately as has been previously and extensively reported, none of the Transfer Stations have been operational since the project handover in May 2021, due to internal FCC challenges with the procurement of skip trailers” that transfer the waste collected to the dumpsites at the end of each day. The transformative potential of the Transfer Stations for sanitation in the city is huge so I look forward to these challenges being overcome soon!
The final stop was the banking hall at FCC where we could see the new property rate and business license system (MOPTAX) in operation. Later joined by FCC Budget and Finance Committee Chairman, Cllr Mohamed Darboh, Emile Manley of the Valuation Department expertly demonstrated the system to our guests, answering questions and pointing out improvements that have been made in the 2022 tax cycle! With IGC and ICTD as implementing partners, the introduction of this comprehensive digital system has enabled FCC’s property database to increase from circa 30,000 properties to almost 120,000 properties! This means that all property owners, not just a few, are able to make their contribution to our city’s running costs!
Only 24% of property rates and 17% of business licenses have been collected by FCC this year, again due to previously explained and well documented internal challenges. Without the payment of property rates and business licenses, FCC cannot provide the services we all want in our city! So play your part.