As the country prepares to roll out a Health Insurance Scheme, a government delegation led by Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh are in Senegal on a working visit to share experiences on a similar scheme that works alongside that country’s Universal Health Care program.
VP Juldeh Jalloh who chairs the inter-Ministerial committee on Sierra Leone Social Health Insurance Scheme and delegation have held fruitful engagements with various stakeholders and made field visits to assess first and how Senegal’s health insurance scheme works at various primary and tertiary health care outfits.
The team visited the region of Fatick and the holy city of Touba today Wednesday 2nd March, 2022.
As part of his manifesto commitment to deliver health insurance to both formal and informal workers, His Excellency the President, Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio has been pushing very hard to roll out the Sierra Leone Health Insurance Scheme.
Since the New Direction government assumed office in 2018, there has been tremendous investment in the health sector. This includes increasing budget allocation from 6 % to 11, 4 % that has allowed for the recruitment of over 5,000 health care workers and additional equipment including the ambulance system. Health indicators for 2021 are pointers to the outcomes of these investments. The SLESHI is designed to build on these gains and allow both formal and informal sector workers to access health care in the country.
EU Trains Grantees in Agriculture Gender Mainstreaming
Lead Consultant facilitating during the session
Boosting Agriculture and Food Security (BAFS) through the Ministry of Agriculture with funding from the European Union (EU) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) has ended a two -day regional training for grantees at regional training for its grantees. The training focused on Gender Responsive Programming in agriculture interventions nationwide as outlined in the Gender Agriculture Policy (GIAP).
Lead consultant during the session Mary Turay said GIAP was funded by BAFS Project is a guiding document with a strategic framework for action to influence and support the integration of gender issues in agricultural policies, strategies and programs.
She said the document outlines clear gender- responsive objectives and guidance on the principles of gender- responsive implementation and accountability mechanisms to support the achievement of MAF’s goals.
She added the vision of the policy is to ensure that both gender in Sierra Leone have fair opportunities to thrive through their participation in agriculture and in contributing to 2023 vision of MAF’s to increase agricultural productivity across the country.
Madam Turay furthered that through such venture they could attract and retain large investments, and support small-holders to exist in subsistence farming.
The MAFS Focal Person, Mariama Turay said the Ministry aims to design, deliver and monitor approaches that ensure women and men have equitable opportunities devoid of their sexes.
She added that through such strategies would enhance their skills in agriculture and improve on the well- being of farmers.
She emphasized that the training would increase understanding on gender challenges as well as addressed issues in agriculture value chain, adding that it would also improve on the linkage of grantees and MAF Gender Unit for sustainable business partnership.
SIERRA LEONE COMMERCIAL BANK RECOGNIZED GLOBALLY
As Global Finance presents its 28th annual listing of the best banks worldwide and names the best global, regional, and national winners from more than 160 countries and regions, Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) emerged as the Best Bank in Sierra Leone. SLCB’s strong national performance and dedication to innovation have let the Bank take home the Best Bank in Sierra Leone, as Global Finance announced the country winner’s award in the world.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bank increased its commitment to serve its clients, accelerating its digital transformation to improve its efficiency.
For its corporate clients, SLCB deployed the SLCB Mi Yone Online Banking platform that enables businesses to bank online. Among the platform’s capabilities include the creation of additional accounts; viewing of balances, transactions, loan details; funds transfer to own and third party accounts; blink payment and chatting with the Bank in real-time.
The Bank also launched its cashless payment services based on its SLCB Mobile App platform: SLCB Quick Pay enables cashless payment to be done in shops and supermarkets across the country. The introduction of its Mi Yone SLCB Visa Cards as a multipurpose vending companion gives access to users to shop online and access ATMs in Sierra Leone and worldwide
British High Commissioner Meets Tourism Minister
The British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Lisa Chesney MBE has expressed interest in Tourism Ministry’s youth development and women empowerment programmes. She made this disclosure during a meeting with Sierra Leone’s Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt at the Ministry’s Headquarters, Kingharman in Freetown.
The British High Commissioner, who have been to many parts of the country thus far stated that Sierra Leone is a beautiful country with a lot of potentials especially in its tourism dimension. She acknowledged and applauded the strides and initiatives the Ministry has embarked on for which she expressed interest in working with the sector in creating jobs for youths and women engaged in beach cleaning and waste management which will be coordinated by the wider British Chamber of Commerce.
On her part, Minister Pratt welcomed the High Commissioner to the Home of Hospitality saying that she was delighted to have her at the Ministry. She explained that since her appointment in 2018, the Ministry has been engaged in a lot of activities especially in rebranding the image of Sierra Leone to the international community. She noted that she had been to the World Travel Market in London three times, but because of the Covid, the focus had been on domestic tourism which she said has yield dividend. Minister Pratt explained the efforts the sector is placing on wildlife tourism and also expressed interest in working with international organizations in wildlife tourism.
Minister Pratt continued that the Ministry enjoys cross-ministry coordination and partnerships have been forged with line MDA’s.
In the area of youth development and women empowerment, Dr. Pratt said her desire was for those engaged in beach cleaning and waste management to be trained and work in bigger cleaning businesses. She called for increased private sector investment as it is the greatest challenge the sector is facing
Ministry Of Lands Senior HR Officer on Bench Warrant
By Feima Sesay
Magistrate Peter Gogra of Pademba Road court No6 has on Monday 28 February 2022 issued bench warrant against George Koyama Senior Human Resource Management officer of the ministry of Lands .
On Monday 28th February 2022, has been issued bench warrant to arrest the Senior Human Resource Management Officer of the Ministry of Lands and Country Planning for assaulting the first female Chief Building Inspector Mrs. Marian Tutu Vandy. The bench warrant was issued because the matter was called and the accused was absent in the circumstance the police prosecutor Inspector Musu Kpulun applied for bench warrant against the accused person. The complainant was however present in court. The accused was charged on a count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm contrary to Section 47 Against the Person Act 1816. According to the police, the accused George Koyama on Tuesday 9th November 2021 at Youyi Building Brookfields, Freetown, assaulted Marian Tutu Vandy in a manner thereby occasioning her actual bodily harm. The Matter was adjourned to the 16th March 2022.
MBSSE, UNICEF Vows to Improve Learning Outcomes by 2023
The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) in partnership with the United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) during the Annual Review and rolling work plan development has committed to have more children improve meaningfully on learning outcomes.
The event took place on Thursday 3rd March 2022 at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown.
While chairing the deliberation, the Chief Education Officer (CEO) at MBSSE Mrs. Yatta Kanu highlighted the three specific objectives of the sector review which she said is to review progress towards planned results in 2021, identify lessons learned, and challenges and way forward, and review plans for the rolling work plan 2022-2023.
According to her, UNICEF always channels their development plans based on the priority area of a member state and for Sierra Leone, education is the top priority, noting that during the deliberation they were able to review the UNICEF funded projects in education over the past one year.
She said the different people that are working on those activities were present and they reported the state of their activities.
The UNICEF Chief of Education Madam Celeste Staley while giving the situation update stated that Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) Policy for children 0-8 years old approved, National Radical Inclusion Policy 2021 adopted to ensure every child their right to education specifically for parent learners, students with special needs, students in marginalized areas, low income households and pregnant girls.
“There is increased poverty impacting in part due to COVID pandemic and increasing inflation on children’s access to and regularity in schools, COVID-19 continues to impact social services with a direct impact which slows progress on education for all,” she said.
She said in achieving their outcomes by 2023, four outputs will contribute immensely; the Government has improved evidence and strengthened capacity to ensure education policy planning, implementation and management, that government authorities and communities are better able to improve the coverage and quality of early learning and development activities, the education system has strengthened capacity to improve the quality of basic education and adolescents (particularly girls) have improved access to opportunities to develop skills for learning and active citizenship.
The Deputy Minister 1 of Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Madam Emily Kadiatu Gogra stressed the importance of the gathering, noting that MBSSE has four priorities which are universal access, comprehensive safety, radical inclusion and quality teaching and learning with one goal which is improving learning outcomes for all students.
She commended UNICEF for helping MBSSE in achieving its priorities, noting that huge progress has been made in the recent past.
“There is a big lift considering the years that we were without curriculum and policy. A lot has been done also for teachers in the country. However, more needs to be done going forward. We need better partnership and coordination of activities. Premium needs to be paid on comprehensive safety and WASH. This is still a challenge in many of our schools in the country,” she said.
To compliment government efforts…
Baraytay embarks on community development
By Alhaji Turay
The former National security officer, who also served in the Health and Education sector ,active member in the bar association lawyer Musa Baraytay, has disclosed to this medium, that he has been fully engaged on community developmental programs such as maintenance construction work within various localities within the central part of Freetown.
He disclosed that among communities that has benefited with construction project are Sackville Street, Block lane and now Trustcott Street in constituency 124 respectively.
The Legal luminary said despite the challenges, he said over the years he has been using his own physical resources to ensure that those communities he highlighted continue to benefit from his humanitarian support.
He maintained that his construction project does not only limit on road maintenance, but also providing support for other needful areas such as construction of public toilet and maintenance of damage pipes that will provide pure drinking water for various residents and public facilities within his community.
The legal guru disclosed out that his own community has suffered greatly in terms of development over the years and residents within his community are deprived form safe pure drinking water.
Lawyer Bayraytay said he started his humanitarian gesture since the invasion of the civil war in the country, when the rebels enter the capital city.
He said he was in activate service as medical practitioner, during those challenging moment together with other colleagues nurses they provide free treatment for those affected by the war.
“I love doing humanitarian gesture over the years I have been supporting youths who are engaged in car washing business for their livelihood, and currently am also providing free legal consultation for my people within my community”, he noted.
NMA Visits Bauxite, Rutile & Diamond Mining Companies
As part of ongoing visits to mining companies to monitor their operations and discuss future plans, the Chairman, Board of Directors and Senior Management of the National Minerals Agency (NMA) visited the mine sites of Sierra Mineral Holdings 1 Limited (SMHL), Sierra Rutile Limited (SRL) and Sierra Diamonds Limited (SDL) on 24 to 26 February 2022.
The purpose of the visits was for the Board and Management to get first-hand information about their operations, inspect and assess their facilities and discuss the opportunities and successes, as well as future plans, in the interest of national development.
At SMHL mine site, the General Manager, Basudeb Datta, maintained that the company was committed to improving and enhancing production levels to contribute more to national development. To this end, he went on; the company was exploring to increase the mineral resource and area size, and investing to expand loading capacity.
The company assured the delegation that they were fully compliant with all their financial and statutory obligations, and that they were making meaningful contribution to develop the communities where they operate.
At Sierra Rutile Limited mining site, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iluka Resources, the Management informed NMA that the company was on track to sustain and even increase current production levels. The Chief Executive Officer, Theuns De Bruyn informed the delegation that they are currently producing 12 tons of high grade rutile monthly, and that the company currently employs over 3,000 Sierra Leoneans. He spoke of their commitment towards transferring skills and empowering Sierra Leoneans in all areas within the operation.
Theuns De Bruyn informed the team that SRL lost USD 12. 8 million worth of properties during a recent fire accident that occurred on 19th February 2022, which affected the mining warehouse at the Plant Site in Mobimbi, Bonthe District.
The facility was storing some of the most critical components needed for the operation of the mine, including spare parts for machines and heavy vehicles. He reassured the delegation from NMA that they are moving on with their operations despite the fire incident, and that they have mounted an investigation into the cause and extent of the fire outbreak.
In his presentation, the Director of Community Affairs, Osman Lahai, stated that they have a very good relationship with the community, and that every year they pay 100 thousand United State dollars to the Community Development Committee for Community projects.
At SDL mining site, the Chief Executive Officer, Karl Nicholas Smith gave a detailed presentation on the mine design and progress with mine development. He explained that the company had invested a total of USD 79 million from exploration stage to mine development.
He took the team through the status of the underground development, and assured the team that they were committed to health and safety at every stage, pointing out that they have consistently reduced their lost time and injury frequency rate since May 2018. The delegation was taken on a conducted tour of the underground mine that was under development.
The Chairman of the NMA Board of Directors, Alhaji Hadji Dabo, expressed satisfaction with the updates from the mining companies and noted that, if the companies hit their targets, it would be good for the Sierra Leone economy and the sustainability of the projects. He assured them of the full support of the NMA and the Government.
Chairman Dabo expressed solidarity with Sierra Rutile Limited/Iluka on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone after the fire outbreak at their warehouse. Outpouring his grief and the purpose of his visit, the NMA Board Chairman, Ing Hadi Dabo and other Board Members present expressed concern and requested SRL Management to intensify their investigation and disclose the outcome.
The NMA Director General, Julius Daniel Mattai, noted that Government and the three companies (SMH1L, SRL and SDL) had come a long way, and was pleased with their operations. He expressed hopes that the companies would operate profitably and generate the expected revenue for Government.
The visiting team included the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Alhaji Hadji Dabo; Board Director Mustapha Turay; Board Director Samuel Momoh, Board Director Nyake Amara, Deputy Secretary of Ministry of Mines, Emmanuel Sandi; NMA Director General, Julius Daniel Mattai; NMA Deputy Director General, Dr Kelvin Anderson; the Director of Mines, Peter Bangura; the Large Scale Mining Compliance Manager, Yusuf Suma; the Chief Geologist, Henry Deen; and the Communication Manager, Jariatu Samura