Mid term census set backs continue… World Bank Pulls out

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The World Bank earmarked financial support to help prepare and implement a mid-term population census in Sierra Leone-under the Harmonizing and Improving Statistics in West Africa (HISWA) Project (P169265) IDA Grant No. D584-SL-because these data are critical to inform economic development policy, planning and programs, and the 2015 population census exercise resulted in data of insufficient quality to do so.

Since September 2020 our task team has been providing technical support to help prepare Statistics Sierra Leone to implement a mid-term population census that would result in good quality data. Much progress was made by Statistics SL in recent months and preparatory efforts further intensified recently. To that end a roadmap laying out the final remaining steps, actions and technical verifications required was prepared and multilaterally agreed (between Statistics SL, UNFPA and the World Bank task team) during the first week of November 2021. To date, while work on most actions points is underway with some completed, several critical action points require further technical work to be satisfactorily addressed including evaluation of the pilot census, the field operation plan for the enumeration, and ensuring enumerators are adequately trained.

All these outstanding actions are necessary and must be addressed prior to commencing data collection to minimize the risk of inadequate and poor data quality. There is insufficient time between now and December 10, 2021 to satisfactorily address all pending actions. Therefore, while our technical team remains available to provide continued preparatory support, regretfully we will be unable to provide further technical assistance nor disburse any further funds

Hon. Denis K. Vandi                            

under IDA Grant No. D584-SL to support the mid-term population census following the announced inception of data collection on December 10, 2021

The undisbursed balance of funds earmarked to support the mid-term population census could be reallocated to other activities supported under the HISWA project following consultations with the task team. Yours sincerely.

Orange SL Holds Digital Media  Briefs for journalists 

Ms. Feima Sesay                  

Orange SL, the leading Telecommunications network in the country has on Thursday, 9 December, 2021 held a digital media engagement with journalists on  their final  activities for 2021.    The event which took place  the Country Lodge Hotel at Hill Station shows that digitalization is at its peak at Orange SL . 

Madam Mabel Mason of the Public Relations Department Orange SL In her opening remarks applauded the media on their tremendous support to the growth of their company, adding that the meeting was for the media to rate their performance for the past three years. 

The Head of Public Relations Orange SL, Madam  Annie Wonie Katta, in her statement, said they started the journey on media engagement in 2019 because their company has  a good history with Journalists. She further explained that when  Orange took over in 2016, there is what they called  cooperate continuity  and that the company inherited some perception issues, noting that customers were not happy because the network was bad  and customers service was poor. She added that people had no knowledge of their cooperate social responsibility to the nation, and that even the media were grumbling that the company is not working with them.

” It was against this backdrop that we said we have heard as we are a company that listens and that when we listen, we will respond. So in 2019, we formed a Media Press Briefing and started updating the media quarterly on our activities so that you will give legs to our stories”, she stated.

She underscored that they want their stories told to those  who  only think  that the reason why Orange SL is in the country is to just  provide quality telecommunications services for the people of Sierra but said the company have move beyond that.  She further stated that another reason why the company is in Sierra Leone is to support the government in social economic development, adding that though they have been doing all of these, but could  not get the stories to the people and that why they have engaged the media. She expressed appreciation to the media for their support to the growth of the company. She pointed out that the media retreat is to change the narrative a bit, noting that the stories are there already  and that they want to understand the perception of the people now that they have done all the hard work. 

” I am happy to say now that we are really close to the Press as they are complaining that the proximity between us was very wide. Today we have managed to close the gap reap the dividends of our hard work’’ she observed.

She concluded that the meeting was  for the media to speak to them and rate their work and not the other way round.

While describing the media as being very close to the people of Sierra Leone, she assured them of their continuous support to them.

Timber Exportation

Bio Govt. fails to set up Statutory Timber Agency

Description: C:\Users\PUBLIC REVIEW\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Babadi-Kamara-1200x675.jpg
Description: C:\Users\User 2020\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\T1.jpg
Description: C:\Users\User 2020\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Timber-logs-at-Hastings-Airfield.jpg

A press release issued by the Government of Sierra Leone on 9th April, 2018 through the government executive order on revenue mobilisation, stated that the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry and Trade and Industry have been directed to work out the details to set up the Statutory Agency for Cabinet consideration on the exportation of timber in Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, the Committee recommended an interim agent be appointed to carry out the following while a Statutory Agency will be set up in the medium to long term to manage the industry:

The press release said that the government has appointed Leadway Trading Company headed by Mr. Babadi Kamara to supervise the exports of the 699 containers in port and 194 containers outside the port that have already been paid for

The press release further directed that the agency will also have to verify the payments of in and out of port containers to the National Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and to submit a verification of payment reports of the 699 containers in port and 194 containers outside the port.

Essentially, Leadway was only given the mandate to export an estimated amount of 13,000 containers of timber already awaiting shipment before the imposition of the timber ban.

What continues to baffle us as a news medium is why the said Leadway is still exporting timber logs outside of Sierra Leone when government has only given them the mandate to export only 13,000 containers of timber.

We are also asking for Mr. Babadi Kamara to tell Sierra Leoneans how much money was realised from the exports of those 13,000 containers of timber.

We are also asking the appropriate government authorities to explain to Sierra Leoneans why they have failed to set up the timber agency three years after they promised to do so.

We will also want to know whether the Leadway compound has the legality to continue exporting timber without the appropriate mandate to do so.

We have reproduced the referenced press release for your perusal.

The World Bank earmarked financial support to help prepare and implement a mid-term population census in Sierra Leone-under the Harmonizing and Improving Statistics in West Africa (HISWA) Project (P169265) IDA Grant No. D584-SL-because these data are critical to inform economic development policy, planning and programs, and the 2015 population census exercise resulted in data of insufficient quality to do so.

Since September 2020 our task team has been providing technical support to help prepare Statistics Sierra Leone to implement a mid-term population census that would result in good quality data. Much progress was made by Statistics SL in recent months and preparatory efforts further intensified recently. To that end a roadmap laying out the final remaining steps, actions and technical verifications required was prepared and multilaterally agreed (between Statistics SL, UNFPA and the World Bank task team) during the first week of November 2021. To date, while work on most actions points is underway with some completed, several critical action points require further technical work to be satisfactorily addressed including evaluation of the pilot census, the field operation plan for the enumeration, and ensuring enumerators are adequately trained.

All these outstanding actions are necessary and must be addressed prior to commencing data collection to minimize the risk of inadequate and poor data quality. There is insufficient time between now and December 10, 2021 to satisfactorily address all pending actions. Therefore, while our technical team remains available to provide continued preparatory support, regretfully we will be unable to provide further technical assistance nor disburse any further funds

Hon. Denis K. Vandi                            

under IDA Grant No. D584-SL to support the mid-term population census following the announced inception of data collection on December 10, 2021

The undisbursed balance of funds earmarked to support the mid-term population census could be reallocated to other activities supported under the HISWA project following consultations with the task team. Yours sincerely.

Orange SL Holds Digital Media  Briefs for journalists 

Ms. Feima Sesay                  

Orange SL, the leading Telecommunications network in the country has on Thursday, 9 December, 2021 held a digital media engagement with journalists on  their final  activities for 2021.    The event which took place  the Country Lodge Hotel at Hill Station shows that digitalization is at its peak at Orange SL . 

Madam Mabel Mason of the Public Relations Department Orange SL In her opening remarks applauded the media on their tremendous support to the growth of their company, adding that the meeting was for the media to rate their performance for the past three years. 

The Head of Public Relations Orange SL, Madam  Annie Wonie Katta, in her statement, said they started the journey on media engagement in 2019 because their company has  a good history with Journalists. She further explained that when  Orange took over in 2016, there is what they called  cooperate continuity  and that the company inherited some perception issues, noting that customers were not happy because the network was bad  and customers service was poor. She added that people had no knowledge of their cooperate social responsibility to the nation, and that even the media were grumbling that the company is not working with them.

” It was against this backdrop that we said we have heard as we are a company that listens and that when we listen, we will respond. So in 2019, we formed a Media Press Briefing and started updating the media quarterly on our activities so that you will give legs to our stories”, she stated.

She underscored that they want their stories told to those  who  only think  that the reason why Orange SL is in the country is to just  provide quality telecommunications services for the people of Sierra but said the company have move beyond that.  She further stated that another reason why the company is in Sierra Leone is to support the government in social economic development, adding that though they have been doing all of these, but could  not get the stories to the people and that why they have engaged the media. She expressed appreciation to the media for their support to the growth of the company. She pointed out that the media retreat is to change the narrative a bit, noting that the stories are there already  and that they want to understand the perception of the people now that they have done all the hard work. 

” I am happy to say now that we are really close to the Press as they are complaining that the proximity between us was very wide. Today we have managed to close the gap reap the dividends of our hard work’’ she observed.

She concluded that the meeting was  for the media to speak to them and rate their work and not the other way round.

While describing the media as being very close to the people of Sierra Leone, she assured them of their continuous support to them.

Timber Exportation

Bio Govt. fails to set up Statutory Timber Agency

Description: C:\Users\PUBLIC REVIEW\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Babadi-Kamara-1200x675.jpg
Description: C:\Users\User 2020\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\T1.jpg
Description: C:\Users\User 2020\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Timber-logs-at-Hastings-Airfield.jpg

A press release issued by the Government of Sierra Leone on 9th April, 2018 through the government executive order on revenue mobilisation, stated that the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry and Trade and Industry have been directed to work out the details to set up the Statutory Agency for Cabinet consideration on the exportation of timber in Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, the Committee recommended an interim agent be appointed to carry out the following while a Statutory Agency will be set up in the medium to long term to manage the industry:

The press release said that the government has appointed Leadway Trading Company headed by Mr. Babadi Kamara to supervise the exports of the 699 containers in port and 194 containers outside the port that have already been paid for

The press release further directed that the agency will also have to verify the payments of in and out of port containers to the National Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and to submit a verification of payment reports of the 699 containers in port and 194 containers outside the port.

Essentially, Leadway was only given the mandate to export an estimated amount of 13,000 containers of timber already awaiting shipment before the imposition of the timber ban.

What continues to baffle us as a news medium is why the said Leadway is still exporting timber logs outside of Sierra Leone when government has only given them the mandate to export only 13,000 containers of timber.

We are also asking for Mr. Babadi Kamara to tell Sierra Leoneans how much money was realised from the exports of those 13,000 containers of timber.

We are also asking the appropriate government authorities to explain to Sierra Leoneans why they have failed to set up the timber agency three years after they promised to do so.

We will also want to know whether the Leadway compound has the legality to continue exporting timber without the appropriate mandate to do so.

We have reproduced the referenced press release for your perusal.

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