BAN hosts Journalists on ECR Machine Revenue Collection

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The Budget Advocacy Network (BAN) has on Thursday 24 March, 2022 hosted Media practitioners on media capacity building on public Financial Management process at the Sierra Leone Association of Journalist (SLAJ) headquarters on Campbell street Freetown.

Speaking at the one day workshop, Mr. Osman Alpha Kamara, the Assistant Director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance gave an over view on how the Finance Ministry allocated funds to Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

He said journalists have the responsibility to monitor all   government resources allocation for service delivery but in doing so, they should be having a compressive knowledge on the processes and procedures of such exercise.

The Director also stressed that journalists should also know the process of allocating budgets to Ministries,  Departments and Agencies and how these funds are requested from the Finance Ministry.

He continued that in FY 2022 government had planned to spend over 11 trillion and also had different expenditures such as capital expenditure, current expenditures etc.

“In preparation of the MDAs budget the Ministry of Finance will send a guide line budget and amount and inline the secretary will prepared his or her budget inline from the guideline budget from the Ministry”. He said.

He continued that after submission are done; then they should comply with criteria of  budget estimate then, the Ministry of Finance will now send it to parliament for approval.

Dr. Michael Phillip kargbo a senior Staff from the National Revenue Authority (NRA) also gave an over view on NRA achievements and challenges the institution had gone through.

Mr Kargbo said that last year, they were  able to collect an average range of 6.9 trillion on revenue collection ; adding that they had also set another target to increase revenue mobilization to 7.6 Trillion for 2022.

According to him, NRA has divided the Western Area in to ten blocks and each of these blocks has different targeted area of collecting revenue.

Dr. Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, another senior staff from the NRA also explained on the process and procedures which they have gone far since they started the transformation from the old books recording system to Electronic Cash Register machines {ECR}.

He said this system was implemented in other to cut down the book revenue collection system which is very easy and simple to fudge.

He explained that not all good were included to pay GST and such goods include rice, fuel and gas.

JAFAL Managing Director dupes 7000 dollars            

By Feima Sesay              

Tamie Suliaman Tommy Managing Director JAFAL Construction Company whose office is situated at Juba, Freetown, has been duped seven thousand United State Dollars for Excavator Machine.

 The accused Brima Conteh alias Sunny who is a Caterpillar Operator of the same company on Thursday 24th March 2022, appear before Magistrate Hadiru Daboh of Ross Road Court, Freetown, on two counts charges of conspiracy to defraud contrary to law and obtaining money by false pretenses Contrary to Section 32 (1) of the Larceny Act 1916.                          

According to the particulars of offence on count 1, the accused Brima Conteh alias Sunny on Wednesday 23rd February 2022, at Bailor Barrie Compound Ferry Junction, Freetown, conspired together and with other person’s unknown to defrauded Tamie Suliaman Tommy the sum of seven thousand United States Dollars, equivalent to eighty two million four hundred thousand Leones.

Whiles  Count 2 state that, the accused Brima Conteh alias Sunny on the same date and place with intent to defraud obtained the sum of seven thousand United States Dollars equivalent to eighty two million four hundred thousand Leones from Tamie Suliaman Tommy by falsely pretending that he has  two Excavator Machines in Guinea for sales knowing same to be false.

No bail was granted to the accused and he was remanded in custody until the 31st March 2022.  B ASP Jeneba Bangura is Prosecuting the matter on behalf of the Inspector General of Police.

Parliament ratifies Air service agreements

The Parliament of Sierra Leone has on Thursday, 24/03/2022 ratified agreements and memoranda between Sierra Leone and others for the economic growth and development for the people.

The following agreements and memoranda were approved by Parliament:

1. Bilateral Air Services Agreement Between Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Government of the Federal Republic of Germany

2. Bilateral Air Services Agreement Between Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe

3. Memorandum of Understanding Between the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Republic  Sierra Leone

4.  Bilateral Air Service agreement between Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Government of the Sultanate of Oman

5.  Memorandum of Understanding Agreement Between Government of Sierra Leone and Government of the Sultanate of Oman and

6. Air Services Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco.

Presenting the ratifications, the Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation, Rex Bhonapha recalled the formation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and a treaty as well as freedom surrounding air services. He informed that the national government should continue to support bilateral agreements and spoke about the importance of the agreements. According to the Deputy the Minister, the  agreements have no financial implications on the government, but rather enhance air services.

He said the  following provisions that are contained in the agreements includes; traffic rights, capacity, designation, ownership and control, operational flexibility, cooperative arrangement, and competition rules.

Contributing to the debate, the Parliamentary Chairman of Transport and Aviation Committee in Parliament, Hon. Maada Lebby said the agreements are among other series of agreements that have had passages in the House. He informed that the agreements would not cost the state and informed that, it would help the country to comply with international aviation and organization practices. He said approving these agreements, it would benefit Sierra Leone immensely, relative to job creation, tourism, and another private sector. “We are encouraging the private sector to come and invest” he stated and encouraged his colleague MPs to speedily ratify the agreements.

Hon Catherine Zainab Tarawallie said Sierra Leone is a serious nation in light of ratifying these agreements and went on to say, other countries had long ago ratified them and are now enjoying the implementation. She emphasized job creation for the citizens “We are ratifying these agreements that would bring jobs for our students from universities” she stated and informed that, “let us try to hastily ratify thing that would bring development to Sierra Leone”.

Hon.Sahr Charles raised a few concerns about the agreements related to the improvement of aviation and consultation as well as review between parties. He also spoke about capacity building in that regard and called for immediate ratification.

Hon. Joseph William-Lamin said in light of the agreements, he would like young Sierra Leoneans to fly aircraft. He went on to say, he wanted to see a situation where compatriots working in the aviation sector may represent the state honestly and sincerely. He spoke about the protection of air services space, integrity, and  Infrastructure safety.

Hon. Dr. Mark-Mahmoud Kalokoh thanked the Deputy Minister for his services to the nation. He informed that the air services connote liberalization and made some comparative analysis relating to benefits of air services already enjoyed by other countries.

In rounding up the debate, Acting Leader of Opposition, Hon. Hassan Sesay said the agreements is a welcome situation and admonished the ministry not to delay such an  agreements in the future relative to the importance of it  nature.

The Acting Leader spoke about job creation from the agreements for the people of Sierra Leone, adding that government alone cannot provide jobs for the people, but with support from the private sector it is possible. He emphasized the training of host communities and further impact on the economy through livelihood support to their extended family. He cautioned the minister to ensure that the air services comply with quality assurance. “The flight that does come here should be of higher quality” he stated and went on to say, let that be part of the agreements as well as affordability. “Let us try to make the ticket affordable” he informed.

 He noted that the agreements were not controversial.

Concluding the debate, the Acting Leader of Government Business, Hon. Dickson Rogers said the agreements were not controversial. He emphasized on safety and made a comparative analysis of flights in Europe and Africa. He said if the literature in the agreements are followed or properly implemented Sierra Leone would be the best place for air services.  He raised concerns over the provisions of air hostess not in the agreements and said that it was time to start training young women for such careers. He spoke about other related opportunities relating to air services, especially for free visa countries.

Stevens Caulker now Leone stars Captain…

SLFA Appoints Ajet Shehu as Technical Officer

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The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) has appointed Steven Caulker a Sierra Leonean player base in Britain as Leone Star team captain.

In another development SLFA has also appointed Ajet Shehu as Leone Stars Technical Officer. Shehu is a British born former professional player and a qualified trainer with a wealth of experience in coaching, talent identification and personal training, having worked with renown clubs such as Tottenham FC, Liverpool FC and Gaziantep.

His main responsibility will be to provide technical support to the Head Coach with specific reference to offering personal training to players.

Ajet is expected to officially resume duty with immediate effect as he has already joined the team for camping in Antalya, Turkey.

In another development, SLFA would like to confirm that the Technical Team of Leone Stars headed by Coach John Kiester has, in consultation with the SLFA Technical Committee, appointed Steven Roy Caulker as the new captain of the Sierra Leone National Senior Team (Leone Stars).

Consequently, the SLFA President and his Executive Committee would like to thank former captain Umaru ‘Zaingalay’ Bangura for his service to Sierra Leone as a player and for his astute leadership throughout his tenure as a team captain. Signed by: Ibrahim Kamara

Education minister frowns at  poor attendance of Teachers, Students in schools

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The Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, the Deputy Minister 1, Chief Education Officer, Deputy Chief Education Officer and several senior directors of the Ministry of Basic Education on Wednesday 23rd March had a townhall meeting with Principals and school heads from public and private schools in the Western Area to discuss the poor attendance of students and teachers in Schools.

“In the last couple of weeks I made an unannounced visit to schools in the Western Area and I noticed that most of the classes are half empty with students and with the teacher that is supposed to teach them absent. Most of the students voluntarily don’t go to school because they are not sure of being taught and some of the teachers are using the poor attendance of pupils as a defense for not teaching. As a teacher, even if you meet a single student in class, your role is to teach, so let us remove the burden from the children,” Dr. Sengeh said.

The meeting is to discuss challenges and issues raised by the public and those observed by MBSSE staff, and also an opportunity for these Principals and school leaders to share ideas of what’s working in their schools, think about solutions together to their shared problems, and build new and trusted relationships.

School principals highlighted several challenges they are faced with like, some of their teachers not committed to teach with little they can do about it, few of their teachers not on payroll and only receiving stipend from the school, public schools principals complaining of sharing their teachers with private schools, some teachers are students in institutions of higher learning among others.

The MBSSE Leadership during the townhall meeting voiced the opinions of school leaders on what can be done to improve attendance and learning outcomes in schools and many suggestions were made for future consideration.

“We’d made joint commitments and resolved to improve the quality of education across the board. School leadership is our sure way of turning around our schools, and we, as government, are committed to helping make this reality.

The Teaching Service Commission Chair and Chief Executive Officer will lead a road trip to have similar engagements in other districts,” he said. “Quality isn’t a switch you simply turn on… it’s a system you build, and we are well underway. We need everyone on board this train,” the Minister concluded.

70 Paralegals undertake paralegal training

The Judiciary of Sierra Leone through the Judicial and Legal Training Institute (JLTI), with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) has commenced an eight-day professional training for Paralegals on Paralegal Studies.

Officially declaring the training open, the Chief Justice His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards said Paralegals are professionals trained to assist lawyers, litigants, witnesses and other legal bodies in various legal capacities. He said Paralegals are not lawyers.

He said as paralegals, they’re required to exhibit qualities such as “high personal standards and positive work ethics, intellectual curiosity, dedication to continuing professional and skills development, ability to identify problems and develop strategies in addressing them.”

The Chief Justice encouraged them to be oriented with profound organizational skills and to have passion for accuracy as well as to be good communicators.

He used the occasion to thank and appreciate the OSIWA for providing financial and technical support in ensuring that the training holds.

Welcoming the delegates and the facilitators, the Chairman of the JLTI, Hon. Justice Emmanuel Ekundayo Roberts (JSC), said today marks an important step in the strive to increasing access to justice.

He referred to Paralegals as important components and key players in the provision of some access at all levels to the justice delivery system.

“We believe that continuous trainings for all of you would form a very good basis for the enhancement of the kind of work you do” Justice Roberts stated.

He encouraged the participants to take active part in the training, ask many questions and make a lot of contributions for which they’ll be evaluated at the end of the training.

In his Statement, Court of Appeal Judge and Chairman of the Legal Aid Board, Hon. Justice Ansumana Ivan Sesay said the training will prepare the Paralegals to effectively and efficiently discharge their duties.

Representing the sponsor-OSIWA, Idriss Bindi, said building the capacity of Paralegals as well as supporting the work of the Judiciary is at the heart of their operations.

He said “our core values emphasize  constructive organization engage in the promotion and protection of human rights especially those of women. We’re also inclined that we have to strengthen national human rights and legal accountability mechanism for greater protection of human rights and access to justice.”

He thanked the leadership provided by the Chief Justice and his team for the initiative to organize a Judicial Week across the country.

The training has brought together 70 paralegals across the country to foster efficient service delivery in the justice sector.

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