IGP must go! -Citizen’s Forum Democratic Accountability

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The Citizen’s Forum Democratic Accountability (C4D) has called on Mr. Ambrose Michael Sovula the Sierra Leone Inspector General of Police for immediate resignation or dismissal for alleged human right violations by the Sierra Leone Police under his watch.

This statement was made by C4D in a press release dated 21 June, 2022.

The press release continued that it is also worried by the spate of human right abuses in the country by the SLP and at the same time, followed the recent incident of incarceration, inhuman and degrading treatment by LAJ and others.

See press release below

CALL FOR THE IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION OR DISMISSAL OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE FOR ALLEGED HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY THE SIERRA POLICE UNDER HIS WATCH    

In the service of democracy and good governance, Citizens Forum for Democratic Accountability (hereinafter referred to as C4D) an independent institution with a niche in democratic accountability, service delivery, human rights and national cohesion condemns through advocacy, public education monitoring and reporting, and as a way to aspire and inspire citizens to hold government, elected and public officials to account, combat corruption and abuse of power. In lieu of the above, C4D is worried about the spate of human rights abuses in the country by the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and at the same time, following the recent incident of incarceration, inhuman and degrading treatment inflicted on Salone Rap Star, Alhaji Amadu Bah, aka BOSS L. A, and others, since Sunday 12th June, 2022.

 It is alleged that he (Alpha Amadu Bah) was taken to the OSD headquarters (Benghazi) and placed in solitary confinement, where he was said to have been injected with red substance and his stunned dreadlocks cut to ground level by the Sierra Leone Police without any specter of respect for his dignity as a Sierra Leonean and a human being who is entitle to his fundamental human rights. This inhuman and degrading treatment meted out to Alhaji Amadu Bah and other Sierra Leoneans compounded with other human rights abuses by the police under his supervision is a cause for concern and its worrying for the country. From the foregoing and moving forward, C4D unreservedly and unequivocally condemn the preposterous act of the police as unacceptable and at the same time, frowned at the disorderly behavior of Alpha Amadu Bah and his crew and above all, avidly and fervidly call for the resignation or dismissal of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ambrose Michael Sovula for the incessant human rights abuses by the Sierra Leone police under his watch and supervision, coupled with the question of incompetence, fake degree saga, where he has outlived his usefulness and exceeded the age bracket required by law and above all, lacks leadership, competitive balance and emotions in a very polarized society, especially when the 2023 general elections are forthcoming. If Mr. Ambrose Michael Sovula continue holding the enviable office, there is the likelihood that his uncontrolled disposition will impugn the progress made over the years in the democratization process and maintenance of peace and security, which is germane to the people of the country, since the scars and agonies of the civil war are still in reminiscence. CITIZEN’S FORUM DEMOCRATIC ACCOUNTABILITY We Aspire To Inspire And Empower Add: 48 Siaka Stevens Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone MOB: +(232) 76 891538/31 891538/33 914853 MOB: +(232) 76 891538/31 891538/33 914853 | Email: [email protected]|[email protected] With voice and accountability, C4D envisaged an accountable and transparent country with effective service delivery and national cohesion In retrospect, the IGP, Michael Sovula proved unable to deal with occurrences between the police and the people they vowed to protect given rise to police violence and human rights abuses against unarmed civilians. The most striking incidences of police /civilian skirmishes under the command of Inspector General, includes, the incessant clamp down on the opposition; the use of force against peaceful protesters, leading to police brutality, arrests, detentions and eventual deaths were visible at the Padema Road Correctional center, the Tombo, Lunsar and Makeni riots, student protesters at Institute of public Administration and Management (IPAM), Limkokwing and the Fourah Bay College (FBC) election stalemates; as well as Constituency 110 election impasse that placed democracy under siege as election materials were destroyed with impunity in the presence of the police who did nothing to salvage the situation , the recent bye elections campaigns at Sama Bendugu and other bye elections in Koinadugu and in Kailahun and Port Loko. The aforementioned brutality against unarmed civilians and the recent allegations of inhuman and degrading treatment against Alhaji Amadu Bah and his colleagues, combined with the red substance injected in him and the dreadful cutting of his dreadlocks to ground level has left Sierra Leoneans and the world aghast with many tongues-wagging, minds boggling, hearts beating and guts wrenching over the preposterous and unprofessionalism displayed by the police without regard for constitutional provisions and international instruments and protocols dealing with the prohibition of torture, inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment as provided in Section 20 (1) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone Act NO 6, which stipulate that “No person shall be subject to any form of torture or any punishment or other treatment which is inhuman and degrading’’ This provision is in tandem with international instruments to which Sierra Leone is a signatory , such as the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights as provided in Article 5; the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as provided in Chapter 5 ; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as provided in Article 5 ; the International Covenant on Civil and political rights as provided in Article 7 and above all, the Nelson Mandela Rules which protects the rights of persons deprived of liberty, the obligation to treat all prisoners with respect for their inherent dignity and value as human beings and to prohibit torture and other forms of ill treatment. On this basis, C4D IS calling on the government to put a ban on the inhuman and degrading treatment meted out to suspects at the police headquarter In as much as C4D condemns the action of the police as above and calls for the resignation of the Inspector General of Police, C4D simultaneously frowned at the level of lawlessness and disorderly behaviour exhibited by Alhaji Amadu Bah and his crew at the gas station which eventually led to their arrest, detention and subsequent charges of assault and robbery under investigation. C4D is mindful of the fact that the case in court and therefore preclude itself from discussion the merits of the case. However, C4D calls on the authorities concerned to expedite the process and do the needful to ascertain the veracity of the allegations and avert mounting tensions. C4D is also calling on the government to change the trajectory a stop using the Operations Security Division (OSD) headquarters (BENGHAZI) as a place of terror with a different Standard Operating procedure (SOP) where detainees’ must be hairless at all cost. With voice and accountability, C4D envisaged an accountable and transparent country with effective service delivery and national cohesion In conclusion, C4D is strongly calling on the President and Commander -In- Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone Police to exercise his constitutional powers to sanitize the police by asking the Inspector General of Police, MR. AMBROSE MICHAEL SOVULA for his immediate resignation or dismissal as Inspector General of Police. The country needs an able and competent Inspector General of Police to uplift the police force, exhibit competitive balance of leadership and discipline, exercise tolerance, soothe emotions and not politically charged for the peace and security of the country. /Ends

Sierra Leone: Leveraging SME Financing as Engine of Economic Growth and Job Creation

Moses A. Kargbo

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

The new economic update for Sierra Leone says the economy grew by 3.1 percent in 2021, after shrinking by 2.0 percent in 2020. Agriculture contributed nearly half of the total growth during 2021

The analysis offers several recommendations including the need to develop a coordinated national approach to expanding access to finance for SMEs_

The report also provides several reform priorities for government consideration, including prudent fiscal management to strike a balance between the emerging expenditure needs and limited fiscal space

FREETOWN, June 21, 2022 Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are critical to achieving goals of economic diversification, including expanding of Sierra Leone’s agriculture-based economy into sectors such as tourism and fisheries, according to a new World Bank economic analysis for Sierra Leone.

The 2022 Sierra Leone Economic Update, Leveraging SME Financing and Digitization for Inclusive Growth, notes that government’s reform agenda for the sector should focus on measures to urgently develop adequate financial services that address the specific needs and financing requirements of SMEs to achieve economic growth and improved livelihoods. It further notes the need for critical structural reforms in the financial sector that go beyond the scope of reforms specific to SME and digital finance.

The report found that low business skills among entrepreneurs is making it challenging for SMEs to grow into creditworthy or investment-eligible enterprises as providers of both risk capital and bank financing said it remains very difficult to find ‘investible’ companies in the country. This is mainly because entrepreneurs and SMEs in general lack basic business skills to build resilient ventures that can respond to market challenges.

Sierra Leone’s economy grew by 3.1 percent in 2021, after shrinking by 2.0 percent in 2020. Agriculture contributed over half of total growth followed by services and industry. Manufacturing was the fastest growing sub-sector, expanding by 12.3 percent in 2021 after contracting by 6.7 percent in the previous year, benefiting from government’s support to SMEs through the MUNAFA Fund and Bank of Sierra Leone’s Le500 billion special credit facility, as well as from increased agribusiness investments.

However, public finances have deteriorated since the onset of COVID-19 while inflationary pressures have accelerated since mid-2021, driven first by the post-pandemic rebound in consumption, and subsequently by global supply chain disruptions since the onset of the Ukraine war, and depreciation pressures on the Leone.

_While SME finance has been recognized as a priority for the government through demonstrated efforts such as the creation of SMEDA, the SME Policy, and the more recent deployment of the MUNAFA fund, the effectiveness of these efforts has been challenged by the lack of targeting and splintering of efforts. There is need for these interventions to be closely reviewed for effectiveness to ensure that the current loan sizes and cap on on-lending pricing are having the intended reach and market impact on SMEs,”_ said Kemoh Mansaray, World Bank Senior Country Economist and lead author of the report.

The report indicates that economic growth is projected to reach 4.4 percent during 2022-2024 with contributions from investments (especially in mining and agriculture) on the demand side, and from agriculture, tourism, construction, and mining and manufacturing on the supply side. However, the growth outlook faces significant downside risks and uncertainties due to the war in Ukraine, global inflationary pressures, and the continued threat of COVID outbreaks. Headline inflation is expected to remain elevated in 2022 due to ongoing global supply-chain disruptions.

While prudent policy measures are being undertaken to address the needs and financing requirements of SMEs as well as to ensure a sustainable turnaround of the economy, the report also recognizes the major role the government has in developing the sector and country’s overall economy, and provides recommendations in several areas.

Key reform priorities include:

-Robust performance reviews: ongoing monitoring and evaluation for government MSME programs should ensure public spending is having the intended impact for growth priorities

-National definition of MSMEs: develop a coordinated national approach to expanding access to finance for SMEs, develop and implement a uniform national definition of MSMEs and systematically expand data collection on SMEs and SME finance from government agencies and financial institutions.

-Remove structural barriers: existing structural barriers must be addressed for digital financial services to be delivered to entrepreneurs, including to rural farmers and agri-businesses.

-COVID crisis support: expanding social safety nets and increasing cash transfers to cover more households and firms affected by higher food and fuel prices.

-Prudent fiscal management: this is crucial to strike a balance between the emerging expenditure needs and limited fiscal space.

-Monetary policy: maintain balance between lowering inflationary pressure and strengthening the recovery. With inflation driven mainly by supply side shocks, tightening the policy stance too quickly could halt the recovery.

In addition to investing in SMEs development, the report identifies the need to prioritize structural reforms for diversifying the economy. The reforms should focus on creating an enabling environment for the private sector to support long-term economic growth, which will in turn support determined domestic revenue mobilization.

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