MCC Delegation Speaks on Energy-based Compact Development to Energy Minister

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By:Austine Luseni

A high-powered delegation from the United States Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation, MCC, has called on Sierra Leone’s Energy Minister, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, where the leader of the delegation, Kyeh Kim, assured the Minister of the Corporation’s determination to help advance the development of the country’s first energy-based Compact Program.

It could be recalled that in December 2020, the MCC’s Board of Directors selected Sierra Leone as eligible to develop a Compact. The Government of Sierra Leone had therefore requested the MCC and the Sierra Leone Compact Development Unit, SLCDU,to develop a Compact that directly addresses the lack of affordable and reliable electricity in the country.

MCC’s Principal Deputy Vice President of Compact Operations, who was also head of the delegation, Kyeh Kim, said she was visiting Sierra Leone for the first time and was delighted to have led such a high-level team to the country.

She spoke about the interest of the Corporation in pursuing the right conditions for the necessary reforms in the energy sector and commended the Government of Sierra Leone on the quality of the project proposals and its sheer determination in alleviating the energy constraints in the country.

The Principal Deputy Vice President observed that there was a critical need for reliable energy in Sierra Leone,assuring that the MCC would bring its years of experience in energy in the subregion to bear positively on Sierra Leone’s energy aspirations through effective and efficient collaboration.

She concluded by reiterating the commitment of the MCC to partnering with Sierra Leone given the country’s continued progress on the scorecard, especially in the area of democratic good governance, saying that it was her hope that the gains made would be consolidated.

While thanking the team for the visit, Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, underscored the crucial importance of energy, stating that reliable and affordable energy was the bedrock of the New Direction administration’s energy aspirations. He said he was quite pleased with the fact that the priorities identified by the Government were in tune with the MCC’s initial assessment of the sector.

He said his Ministry was sparing no efforts in its quest to markedly improve the areas of generation,transmission and distribution and commended the MCC for not only working towards addressing these areas that the Ministry was keenly focused on,but for providing assistance to the reform endeavors in the constituent utilities of the Ministry of Energy.

Mr. Sesay said that the private sector participation in the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority, EDSA, was a key government reform that was being facilitated by the Government of Sierra Leone with support from the World Bank with a view to helping the utility become much more efficient and sustainable.

The team from the MCC, including the Principal Deputy Vice President, Madam Kyeh Kim,MCC’s Energy Director,Kate Lovanna, was accompanied by senior staff of the United States Embassy in Sierra Leone.

Also present at the meeting were members of the Sierra Leone Compact Development Unit.

Sierra Leone New Currency takes Effect on 1st July

The Bank of Sierra Leone is set to introduce the new redenomination currency on the first of July 2022.

The move will witness the extinction of the old currency, and the new currency will hence forth serve as the legal tender for business transactions and for the settling of debts.

Below is the press release issued by the Bank of Sierra Leone for public consumption.

The Bank of Sierra Leone (hereinafter referred to as the Bank) hereby states as follows: Pursuant to section 1(3) of the Redenomination of the Leone (Characteristics) Regulations 2021, the redenominated currency shall become legal tender effective 1Juy, 2022.

2. The existing currency shall continue to be legal tender (concurrently with the redenominated currency) 10r a transition period of 1 July, 2022 to 30 September, 2022.

3. The existing currency shall cease to be legal tender effective 1 October, 2022.

4. Notwithstanding (3) above, from 1 October to 15th November, 2022, the public may exchange the existing currency tor the redenominated currency free of charge at the Bank or such other places designated by the Bank.

5. The Bank shall cease to exchange the existing currency for the redenominated currency after 15th November 2022, subject to the provisions of section 30 (3) of the Bank of Sierra Leone Act 2019.

6. This Pubic Notice shall become effective on the date of its publication in the Gazette.

7. All provisions herein shall remain in force unless otherwise stated in a subsequent Public Notice issued by the Bank and published in the Gazette.

Tourism Ministry Briefs Press on the first National Tourism Parliamentary Governance Conference

The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the National Tourist Board with support from the World Bank have briefed the media ahead of the first National Tourism Parliamentary Governance conference to be held at Galliness Paradise, Bo from the 17-18 June, 2022 on the theme: the role of parliament in the development of tourism and culture in Sierra Leone.

The two-day conference which will move all the parliamentarians including the speaker of the house to Bo is aimed at deepening the knowledge and understanding of the role of parliamentarians towards helping the tourism sector overcome its prevailing challenges, enact favourable legislations, seek requisite support and collaboration of MDAs and entice key players at all levels of society to support the sector. The conference will attract speakers and presenters from different MDAs in the area of investment opportunities and asset, hospitality and law, development of SME’s, cultural heritage, marketing and promotion among others.

Mohamed Jalloh, the Director of Tourism mentioned that the tourism sector was a multi-faceted, multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional industry that requires the collaboration and contributions of plethora of sectors and players in ensuring a holistic and comprehensive development of a destination. He said they intend to familiarize parliamentarians on the framework for tourism development and their respected roles to contribute towards the empowerment of the sector.

The chairman of the parliamentary oversight committee on Tourism and Culture, Hon. Tom Tucker thanked the Minister for her strides in uplifting the sector. He applauded the Ministry for considering the role of parliamentarians in the development of tourism saying that what will be discussed in Bo will be beneficial to them and their constituents. He said they are all eager to attend this remarkable conference as it complements their roles as members of parliament.

Giving her remarks, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt said it was not the first time the Ministry is holding conference on this nature as they have held the tourism governance framework which articulates the responsibilities and functions of all arms of government in ensuring that tourism thrives, a reason they are embedding tourism in all levels of governance.

She told the press that the essence of bringing parliament together is for them to share the common platform and think critically on the improvement of the sector. She added that the conference will alleviate the long standing challenges of the sector especially as it concerns the enactment of laws that deals with tourism. She informed the press that she has got the most standing reception from parliament while disclosing that the Speaker of Parliament will be the keynote speaker of the conference and that they will use the conference to relaunch and exhibit the explore freedom logo with the parliamentarians.

FCC, UNCDF, launch women for water & peace project

By Roseline Bangura

The project which was funded by the united nations secretary general, peace building fund had commenced in January 2022 and will be implemented over 18 months in (5) five wards, ward 408,401_mayinkely ward,408 Rokupa and others ,the project will see the construction of 25 water kiosks across Freetown.

The project seeks to empower young women from the communities to become agents of change by supporting the construction and management of twenty five (25) water kiosks with solar powered systems

The Director General of International Labour Organisation (ILO) officer for Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and others said that if women are adequately capacitated, they could play major role in conflict resolution in the communities, given that they are key users of water resources and also contributes to household decision making.

The mayor of Freetown Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr said access to water resources remains one of the most pervasive challenges affecting women and girls in the informal communities, adding that they have reports of children leaving home before day break to cover long distance for families in fetch of water.

She said through our this project women and girls would learn to take leadership role in preventing and managing conflicts associated with water scarcity in their communities, noting  that the project would simultaneously  contribute to reducing conflict drivers  and would play a role in enhancing social cohesion and empowering women and girls.

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