SIERRA LEONE “HARDSHIP INDEX”

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—–Dr Dennis Bright

The ever fearless and eloquently outspoken Chairman of the National Grand Coalition (NGC), Dr. Dennis Bright,  has hit very hard on the prices of basic commodities in the country as comprehensively espoused below and he explained thus;

 Most Sierra Leoneans who have been following the steady rise of NGC in the political theatre of Sierra Leone will recall that since March 2018 we have been monitoring the prices of basic food items in local markets, items such as rice, pepper, oil, onions, maggi that the poorest of the poor need to prepare a simple meal for the family.

Although Sierra Leoneans complain everywhere that living conditions are worsening every day, it is not easy for them to measure to what extent their condition is deteriorating. These market surveys give an idea of how bad things are for the common man or woman.

Furthermore, we try to estimate the cooking ingredients that will be needed to prepare a meal for a family of four (father, mother and two children) a family size that is admittedly extremely small for typical poor families which tend to be big and extended. When the cost of a basic daily meal is compared to the minimum wage of a sole breadwinner, we discover that since this Government has been running our lives, a minimum wage earner’s income, if spent on food alone, does not last for long; in fact, in this month of January 2022 when a basic meal for four costs Le 68,000 per day the entire wage of Le 600,000 will last for only 9 days; so since the family has other compulsory items to pay for such as rent, transport fares, clothing and medical bills, one can assume that parents and children will have to go without food some days, without bus fare, without light etc. This is the misery to which our people have been reduced while people in power are spending fiti fata on themselves, callously blind to the sufferings of the poor and stone deaf to their cries. And yet they keep congratulating themselves, for some job well done that only they can see.

As the day of reckoning draws closer we present to you, once again, our market survey for January 2022. The prices of the food items are compared to the price levels in March 2018. Between 2018 and 2022, the prices have been dancing up and down year in and year out but they have always been higher after 2018.

This January, the lowest increase has been the price of a bag of rice which is nearly 50% higher than in March 2018. As everybody knows, some 40,000 metric tonnes of rice have magically appeared at Water Quay just in time for the election campaigns. Maybe, the expectation is that Sierra Leoneans are fools and will fall for the trick; that they will eat rice until they forget how much they have suffered and repeat their 2018 mistake of voting in the vampires.  Time will tell.

But isn’t it crazy that these people who boasted so much for the past three years of their great Tok and Do, soon-to-flood-the-nation Toma Bom rice harvests should be frantically importing rice to feed us fourteen months to the next elections?

Meanwhile, those things that we produce locally appear to be the most expensive: the price of one of the main sources of protein available to the common man, dry bonga fish, has increased by 1100% while peppeh per cup increased by 900% and vegetable plassas per tie costs 300% more than in 2018.

Sadly, some people are more interested in flying up in the air, cooking elections and sacking upright women who are doing their job than rescuing the poor people of this country that are gradually sinking into disgraceful poverty and marrasmus.

New SLRSA Boss Promises to Increase Quality of Road Safety

By: Lamin Sheriff

The new Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority – SLRSA- , Rev. Smart K. Senesie, has taken up office today Monday 31 January 2022, since his appointment by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, and has assured that he would work with all relevant stakeholders to increase the quality of road safety in the country.

Before he was appointed on the 11 January 2022, Rev. Smart K. Senesie was serving as the Chairman Board of Directors of the Sierra Leone Road Maintenance Fund Administration -SLRMFA, Director of Mission and Development at the United Methodist Church, Sierra Leone Annual Conference, the Department for International Development – DFID, and the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), to name but a few.

The Deputy Executive Director of SLRSA, James Baggie Bio, in a welcome statement congratulated his new boss on his appointment as the new Executive Director of the institution, adding that he looked forward to working and enjoying a very friendly working relationship with him.

Mr. James Bio further stated that the SLRSA was a family of professional personalities, who he said have worked tirelessly to make the institution reached its peak of admiration, he therefore admonished all Departments, Units and the entire staff to be supportive and cooperative with the new Executive Director, to attain institutional goal.

“On behalf of the SLRSA, I want to heartily congratulate you and welcome you onboard” James Bio concluded.

In a brief statement, the new Executive Director of SLRSA, Rev. Smart K. Senesie thanked the Deputy Executive Director and the general staff of the institution for holding on to the forth, adding that he was grateful to have been appointed by His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone to serve in the capacity as Executive Director of what he called an important institution. He assured that he would work with everyone in the institution, the Sierra Leone Police, and all relevant stakeholders to advance the safety of road users and the entire population of the country.

“I am happy to be here, and thank you all very much”, he noted.

 SAUDI FUND FOR DEVELOPMENT TO SUPPORT KEY PROJECTS IN SIERRA LEONE

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sierra Leone, has concluded highly successful meetings with the Saudi Fund for Development and the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid and Relief in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

Professor David J. Francis held a fruitful meeting with Dr. Sultan Al-Marshad, Chief Executive Director of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). In the meeting, Dr. Al-Marshad reaffirmed SFD’s commitment to expedite the following projects:

(a)- The twenty-five Million United States Dollars ($25,000,000) Education Sector Support Project for the construction of four (4) Regional Model Schools, two (2) vocational institutes and an administrative building at the Ministry of Education in Freetown

(b)- The five million United States Dollars ($5,000,000) for the construction of 100 solar-powered bore holes for rural communities in 77 villages across Sierra Leone

(C)- The construction of the 150 beds King Salman Regional Referral Hospital project 

In his statement, Professor David Francis commended SFD for funding the implementation of the Western Area Power Generation Project, the Kenema-Pendembu Road Reconstruction Project and the rehabilitation and expansion of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. 

In another related development, the leadership of King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid and Relief, has expressed consideration to support Sierra Leone’s School Feeding Programme (SFP) next academic year. Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister, Professor David Francis, made a case that the SFP is key to the success of the Government’s Free Quality Education programme, especially in the rural areas. The Advisor at the Royal Court and Supervisor General of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah advised that, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), through the Sierra Leone Embassy in Saudi Arabia, present an indicative budget for the SFP for consideration at the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid and Relief.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David J. Francis, was accompanied by the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prince E.O Cole, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Kingdom Dr. Ibrahim Jalloh, the Director of Middle East & Asia of the Ministry Abdul Aziz Turay, the Director of Ministerial Follow-Up of the Ministry Abraham John, the First Secretary at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Saudi Arabia Mohamed Sulaiman Sankoh, and the Information Attaché at the Embassy Abubakarr Bah. 

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