An iffy company Arise IIP has signed a contract lease with the SLPP administration on Tuesday, January 17 to operate the Pepel Port and Pepel-Tonkolili Railway to develop, expand and manage the venture, claiming, in its web site, it is mindful of carbon reduction in West Africa.
Although such countries as Rwanda, Ivory Coast, the Ogun State in Nigeria, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo are in partnerships with Arise IIP, what is staggering is nowhere in the company’s profile is anything stated about ‘railway management and mining.’
Arise IIP has no record whatsoever in mining and railway operations, therefore, the agreement between the mines ministry and ARISE has been described as a matter of trial-and-error; waddling into muddy waters, with the fogy Frank Timis, a questionable business man in the lead and who is Jr. Navo.
ARISE could not be helping the African continent if Frank Timis is among those in the running to derail the Railway investment in Sierra Leone, which the Leone Rock Metal Group (Kingho Ltd) has managed efficiently since signing the lease. ARISE IIP would not help to improve the lots of Sierra Leoneans, already made pauperized, sinking into a wretched state of living experience since 2018, if Frank Timis of the African Minerals fame, is incorporated in the venture. ARISE has no experience in its portfolio to run a mining and Railway business – it’ll blow up like a pancake in Pepel’s face.
African governments who have partnered with ARISE could attest that they have enjoyed working with the company on their development agendas, focusing specifically on job creation, wood business, education and health. Can ARISE IIP stimulate growth in Sierra Leone, help build the wilting economy, open up passenger railway? Many experts don’t think so. The reason for doubting is because ARISE has no logistical hubs in mining and Railways; no public-private partnerships in mining ecosystems, and coupled with Frank Timis, it spells disaster.
There are doubts over whether ARISE can bridge gaps in the Pepel Railway operations and/or transform Mining given its lack of expertise in those ventures, in spite of it boasting of bringing local value addition.
Most of what ARISE is claiming appears to be hogwash. It can’t boost exports, enable the local transformation of raw materials and promote trade, more than what Leone Rock Metal Group had successfully managed in its four-year-yield.
Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Timothy Kabba said this agreement is part of the bigger reforms in the mining sector, where the government intends to open the space for more players to participate.
He said that ARISE IIP is a credible company with a reputation for developing and managing infrastructure in Africa, but Kabba fell short of saying ARISE has no expertise in Railways and Mines.
“This agreement is taking a government asset from monopoly to be more accessible,” he said.
Minister Kabba noted that the revival of the mining operation requires significant investment in infrastructure for Sierra Leone to fully benefit from the growth of its mining output. Could Frank Timis afford to do this with his Midas touch knowing he bears a grudge?
The lease agreement will give a 10% free Carry to the GoSL and provide access to rail and port facilities to other bulk mineral producers in the northern corridor of the country.
In Sierra Leone, ARISE is estimating a total investment of 476 million dollars to refurbish the Pepel Tonkolili Railway work, Pepel Port, Railway connectivity to Marampa mines, the introduction of passenger rail services and the rail connection to Guinea. The ARISE agreement does not create competition. It is a monopoly; a bad business. ARISE will strangle the entire country’s ability to export minerals, which may stifle Government’s revenues without any proper due process.
The people of Sierra Leone wait with baited breath to see this Pandora Box open that is ARISE IIP.