The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Mrs. Emma Kowa Jalloh has officially unveiled the Ministry of Fisheries’ Out Station Office, a public Toilet and presented one patrol boat with 115 horsepower engine to the people of
Sulima in the Sorogbeima Chiefdom in Pujehun District on 28th September 2021.
Unveiling and presenting the goodies to the people, the Minister of Fisheries reaffirmed His Excellency the President Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio’s commitment in ensuring that the promises he made to the people of Sulima during his 2018 campaign are actualized.
She maintained that the unveiling of their new out station office, the construction of the public toilets and the presentation of the out board engine machine were some of the promises the president made to the people of Sulima, and as the minister in charge of fisheries she is ensuring that the promises are actualized.
She explained that officials of the Ministry of Fisheries will be attached to Sulima to ensure that they monitor and regulate the manner in which fish products are packaged and exported and also ensure that proper fishing procedures are followed.
She commended the Town Chief and his people for providing the ministry with a piece of land for the construction of an ultramodern Smoke Oven for the fishmongers, especially Women in Fisheries.
Madam Kowa Jalloh revealed that her ministry has purchased fishing nets that will be sold to licensed boat owners at a cost recovery price so as to ensure that the fishermen in the chiefdom practice proper fishing methods using the right fishing nets.
She used the forum as an opportunity to introduce the new Quality Assurance Officer who will be attached to Sulima and Jendema respectively.
She appealed to the stakeholders especially the local authorities in the Chiefdom, to continue to work in partnership with officials of the ministry to ensure that due processes are followed.
The Resident Minister Southern Region Mr. Mohamed Alie expressed thanks and appreciation to the Minister and her team for visiting his region and for providing all those goodies for the people of Sulima.
He assured the delegation of their continued effort to ensure that the will and wishes of the president are actualized.
The Resident Minister urged the people to be committed in their work as the ministry will always be available to support them when needed.
Expressing appreciation to the delegation, the Town Chief of Sulima Chief Shiaka Luseni Massaquoi heaped praises on the Minister of Fisheries and her team for their continued support to his chiefdom and also appreciated the goodies.
He noted that the New Direction government has done a lot for the people of Sulima that they will not forget in a hurry.
“We can now boast of having 24 hours solar electricity light in our town, a brand new two storey fisheries out station building, one brand new patrol boat with 115 horsepower outboard engine, and a public toilet that will prevent the people from defecating in the beach. All these goodies we have received under this regime,” he said.
The Director of Fisheries
Madam Kadijatu Jalloh appealed to the Navy personnel in the town to use the boat for its intended purpose. She called on the Women in Fisheries organisation to continue to be hardworking and work in line with the new fisheries officials that will be attached to the chiefdom.
The meeting was chaired by the erudite hardworking Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Madam Elizabeth Ellie.
Attorney – General Engages Global Nuclear Weapons Partner
The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone in Geneva hosted the Executive Director, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Beatrice Fihn, paying a courtesy call on the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, the Honourable Mr. Anthony Yeihwoe Brewah, to discuss the 2017 United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the status of the Treaty in West Africa and Sierra Leone’s accession to the TPNW. The event happened in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday 29th September 2021-
The Executive Director disclosed that his organisation will provide support to the Attorney General’s office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs toward the signing and ratification of the TPNW.
Ms. Beatrice Fihn disclosed that 86 States have signed the treaty, out of these numbers, 56 States have ratified including 29 African States, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Togo, Niger, and Guinea-Bissau among others.
‘’I encourage Sierra Leone to participate in the first conference of States Parties to the TPNW in March 2022 in Vienna, where decisions will be taken by states parties who have signed and ratified the treaty. I want Sierra Leone to sign and ratify the treaty, we want to the numerous experiences from the Arms Trade Treatyanother international treatyreaty Sierra Leone has chaired and participated.
The Executive Director assured TPNW’s commitment to providing technical supports to the Government to enable the country to complete the process within the shortest possible time.
Ms. Fihn applauded His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio’s speech delivered at last week’s United Nations General Assembly, during which the President called on nations of the world to provide remedies for survivor s of sexual offence.
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, the Honourable Mr. Anthony Yeihwoe Brewah, thanked the Executive Director, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, for the assurances of deepening greater support for Sierra Leone to sign and ratify the 2017 United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, while noting the TPNW will complement existing instruments and efforts on nuclear disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear science in Sierra Leone.
‘’Sierra Leone has active engagement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and has benefited from its expertise in the peaceful use of nuclear technology in improving agriculture, food security and food safety, developing groundwater resources, strengthening human health, and Improving radiation protection. In 2012, Sierra Leone enacted the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act. This Act established the Sierra Leone Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Authority. Sierra Leone therefore has some instruments and infrastructure that are compatible and compliant with the TPNW. Sierra Leone has started the process of adhering to the TPNW.’’, the Honourable Minister noted.
The Attorney-General assured of government commitment to supporting the campaign to abolish nuclear weapons. ‘’We need partners, like ICAN, to work with and directly support our government’s efforts to complete the accession process. My office stands ready and willing to collaborate with other government bodies to achieve this objective’’, Honourable Anthony Brewah concluded.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is the first globally applicable multilateral agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons comprehensively. It was adopted at the United Nations in New York on 7 July 2017 with the support of 122 states, including Sierra Leone, and opened for signature on 20 September 2017.
The meeting was facilitated by Ambassador Dr. Lansana Gberie, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone in Geneva
Information and Trade Ministers Dialogue With Citizens
By: Zacharia Jalloh,MIC.
The Minister of Information and Communications Honourable Mohamed Rahman Swaray and the Minister of Trade and lndustry Honourable Dr. Edward Hinga Sandy have embarked on a media blitz in Bombali District on Wednesday September 29, 2021. The discourse was to engage citizens on government’s policies and programs, discuss President Dr. Julius Maada Bio’s recent trip to the United Nations General Assembly and shed light on the price hike.
They both started off by holding radio and television programs on Amzas Radio and SLBC TV respectively in Makeni city. Issues ranging from reforms in the media, the Judiciary, the economy and women’s empowerment dominated the discussions during the engagements.
Minister Swaray spoke broadly about government’s commitment in making Sierra Leone a better place. He informed the public about the bold steps the government has taken to open the media landscape by repealing the criminal libel law, strengthening of the IMC Act, enactment of Cyber Security and Crime act and also Sierra Leone joining the Media Freedom Coalition. According to the Minister, these reforms are to create the enabling environment for journalists to practice their profession unhindered and give citizens access to information, protect privacy and enhance free speech.
“The government of President Dr. Julius Maada Bio wants to make the media attractive and fashionable. He wants a Sierra Leone that is digitally safe. This is the vision of President Bio irrespective of the fact that he had being subjected to negative press in the past” explained the Information Minister.
The Minister further informed the people about Covid-19 and its impacts on the economy. He highlighted government’s Quick Action Economic Response Program which was implemented to mitigate the effect of Covid-19. “Government provided credit facility to big businesses, dished out stimulus packages to affected sectors like tourism and the vulnerable people including the disabled,” he noted.
Issues on women’s empowerment especially the Gender Empowerment Bill that seeks to give women 30% quota of representation and appointments were expanded on. The Minister spoke about the death penalty that was recently abolished by the House of Parliament which was in fulfilment of a manifesto promise of H.E President Julius Maada Bio.
On the part of the Trade and Industry Minister, Dr. Sandy shed light on the increase in prices of commodities and other essential goods. He dilated on the factors leading to the increase in prices of commodities.
Dr. Sandy was quick to mention lots of interventions the government has undertaken to ease the burden on citizens like tax breaks. The Ministsr said the rapid increase in prices at the global stage is dampening government’s strides. “These external factors like increase in prices, increase in freight charges that is to say cost of shipping, have compounded the problem,” Dr. Sandy narrated.
He said one of things his Ministry is doing is to shift from too much focus on trade to industrialization. According to him industrialization is the only way Sierra Leone will not be turned into a “dumping ground”. He mentioned few companies that are already in country for the production of steel and also recycling of metals. The Minister believes with more industries there will be an increase in revenue, jobs and foreign exchange. He said before now, the manufacturing industry was contributing barely 2% to the GDP but latest World Bank report shows it has increased to 10%, ascribing it to the Ministry’s renewed focus on industrialization. With the local production of vegetable oil from Kissy oil and Jolaks Sierra Leone is currently importing zero net on vegetable oil.
On MUNAFA Funds, the Trade Minister said the initiative by the Bio led government is to give microcredit to businesses and that the first tranche of payments has already been done and government is planning to disburse the second tranche of Le 70 billion soon. He said these loans are just 9% interest rate, which is the lowest ever to enable traders to pay back.
To deepen the discourse and capture more people, the Ministers engaged on a town hall meeting at the Makeni City Council where stakeholders in the Bombali District and traders converged to listen to both Ministers. It was a very interactive session where all the above mentioned issues were discussed and citizens were given the opportunity to freely ask questions which both Ministers responded to. Talking to one of the traders, she expressed happiness and delight at the discussion and demanded for more of such engagements. “This is what we want as citizens to be closer to our government. We hope to continue having these kinds of engagements so we can get the right Information from government,” the trader said.
IMC, SLAJ, BBC MEDIA ACTION START REGIONAL VALIDATION OF REVISED MEDIA CODE
The Independent Media Commission (IMC) and Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) in collaboration with BBC Media Action, have today, 27th September 2021, started the regional validation process on the review of the 2007 Media Code of Practice in Kenema, Eastern Region. The activity will cover all six regions of the country, including the Western Area.
The activity, which will be concluded with a national validation exercise, is being implemented under the
BBC Media Action’s Promoting Independent Media for Effective Development (PRIMED) Project, supported by UKAid.
The district level consultations were concluded in July 2021 across the 16 administrative districts in the country, where media practitioners, civil society representatives, the security sector, traditional authorities, persons with disability, SLAJ and other key media stakeholders actively participated in the process, by making their input into the document.
The review of the 2007 Media Code of Practice was necessitated by the legislation in 2020 of the new IMC Act.
Finance Ministry to Strengthen Financial Reforms
Considering the role the emerging Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can play in fighting corruption in public finance systems, the Ministry of Finance will in the Fiscal Year 2022 roll out the Integrated Financial Management Systems (IFMIS) to all Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs).
This disclosure was made by the Financial Secretary Mr. Shar Lahai Jusu during the ongoing FY2022 budget discussion taking place at the Ministry of Financial Treasury Building in Freetown.
He said the Ministry of Finance is desiring One hundred and fifteen billion, six hundred million Leones (Le 115,600Bn) as a project plan for FY2022 and 40% of the proposed budget will be going towards IFMIS to promoting greater comprehensiveness and
transparency of information across government institutions.
He said the introduction of Integrated Financial Management Systems (IFMIS) will serve as a driver of public financial reforms in MDAs.
The Financial Secretary said that the Finance Ministry is a fiduciary agent of the government to other MDA’s and that MoF pays all international subscriptions for projects as an agreed commitment by the government which has also been captured into the proposed budget.
He reiterated that MoF is committed to holding the budget process with self-esteem to ensure transparency, accountability, and education of the public on the activities programs of all MDA’s, with the inclusion of the Zoom method of communication to increased nationwide participation in the process.
The Finance Ministry Head of Research and Delivery Division (RDD), Dr. Yakama Jones highlighted some of the Ministry’s key deliverables for FY2022 which are; to monitor the implementation of the Finance Act 2022 and develop the Finance Act 2023, lead and facilitates the process to enact the duty and tax exemptions policy into Law, Develop a medium Term Revenue Mobilization strategy, lead and facilitate the revision of the excise Tax 1982, continue to review investment agreements for the establishment of industries and conduct monitoring visits, continue with the conduct of Follow-up actions to track the implementation of Audit recommendations and escalate the issue of non-compliance, reconstitute four additional Audit Committees in MDA’s and 3 in Local Councils and to commence professional training in the charter institute of purchasing and supply.
She said that that the ministry hopes to increase domestic revenue from 12.3% of GDP in 2017 to 20% by 2023, improved expenditure management and control, strengthen fiscal risk management and oversight of state-owned enterprises, strengthen research capacity to support policy formulation, improve public debt, improve budget preparation and execution, improve the ministry administrative capacity, strengthen fiscal decentralization and to improve the implementation and coordination of donor-funded projects.
She said some of the Ministry’s challenges for 2021 were funding issues, procurement delays, external dependencies, and internal processes, but stated the strategy to deliver in 2022 which is to facilitate resource mobilization to ensure disbursements, prudent debt management capacity building, automation of processes and leverages on technology and research and evidence-based policymaking.