ACC Engages Staff of Sefadu Correctional Center

As part of its institutional approach to preventing incidences of corruption in public sector institutions, the Kono Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has engaged the management and staff of the Sefadu Correctional Center (SCC) in Kono, on various issues of corruption. 

Speaking at the meeting held at the Office of the Officer in Charge on Tuesday 2nd August 2022, the Regional Manager, ACC Kono Office, Hawanatu Omotayo Kamara said the meeting was intended to inform and engage staff of the SCC on various corruption issues in order for them to inculcate ethical values in the discharge of their duties. 

In her presentation to the SCC staff on key corruption related offences, the ACC Regional Manager made a simplified explanation of offences in the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 (as amended in 2019) such as; offering, soliciting and accepting advantage contrary to Section 28, soliciting an advantage for a public officer contrary to Section 35, misappropriation of public funds and property contrary to Section 36, abuse of office contrary to Section 42, abuse of position contrary to Section 43, influencing a public officer contrary to Section 30, protection of public property and revenue contrary to Section 48 and receiving gift for a corrupt purpose contrary to Section 47.

She also pointed out that ACC operations are informed by the type of reports and intelligence received from all walks of life. The ACC Regional boss used the occasion to encourage staff to be mindful of the anti-corruption laws and their interaction with the public when performing their official duties. 

Manager Kamara informed them that the 2019 Amendment Act of the ACC has empowered ACC to cancel all contracts deemed not to be in the interest of the public or a section thereof, strengthened the asset declaration regime, introduced trial in absentia, legalized the out-of-court settlement, criminalized examination malpractices and increased the punishment for offences from Thirty Thousand New Leones (Thirty Million Leones in the old currency) or three years imprisonment to Fifty Thousand New Leones (Fifty Million Leones in the old currency) or five years imprisonment. On this note, she encouraged them to maintain best practices and inculcate ethics and anti-corruption measures in the discharge of their duties. 

She commended the SCC for their continued support in the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy adding that SCC is the only Government institution that sent a report of its IMC meeting to the Commission in the region.

In his welcome remarks, the Officer in Charge of the Correctional Centre, Abu Bakarr Kabba thanked the ACC Team for their patience to engage and sensitize staff on various matters of corruption which he said, will guide their operations and enhance collaboration. He expressed commitment to providing an enabling environment and a conducive atmosphere for staff and inmates. 

Public Education Officer, Hawa Deen Conteh who spoke on ethics in the workplace stated that ethics as a key component of integrity controls the conduct, attitude and behavior of public officers to be professional in the line of duty. In terms of internalizing the fight, she said Integrity Management Committees (IMC) provide a road map to the fight against corruption in Government institutions especially service delivery institutions adding that, a functional and operational IMC will ensure strong internal controls to address corruption vulnerabilities in MDAs.

She also highlighted various methods of reporting corruption to ACC and mentioned that whistle blowers are the most important assets in the fight against corruption. She encouraged them to maintain high ethical standards in their daily operations. 

Questions and answers session together with presentation of ACC’s information, education and communication materials climaxed the occasion.

© Public Relations Unit, ACC

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Land Minister Assures John Obey State Land Purchasers

The Minister of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, Dr. Turad Senesie has assured all fully paid-up buyers for the plots of State Land for Sale at the John Obey Community that the Government of Sierra Leone will ensure their safety and peace of mind.

He made this statement while taking the purchasers and/or their representatives on an official tour of the various plots of land for identification and allocation on Tuesday August 2 2022 at the John Obey Community. 

At the site, the State Land customers were excited over the outlook of the landscape and the smooth acquisition process thus far.

Dr. Turad Senesie defined the scenery as a representation of the National Flag – Green, White and Blue.

“The forested mountains in the community represent the green; the natural waterfall represents the white, while the beaches represent the blue,” he affirmed.       

According to the Minister, the government is creating the enabling environment for its citizens to access land and establish a micro-city in that part of the country.

“Revenue generated from the sale of land would be used to provide social services including the construction of roads, schools and hospitals for its citizens,” Dr. Senesie disclosed.

He used the forum as an opportunity to announce the provision of an additional 150 Plots (One Hundred and Fifty Plots) of State Land in John Obey for Sale again to the general public.

The Cost Price for Two Town Lots of Residential Plots remains Le150, 000,000 (One Hundred and Fifty Million Old Leones), which is the equivalent of Le150, 000 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand New Leones). And the Four Town Lots of Commercial Plots is Le 600, 000,000 (Six Hundred Million Old Leones), which is the equivalent of Le600, 000 (Six Hundred Thousand New Leones).

The Application Form Portal has been reopened and can be accessed on the website of the Ministry – http://www.molhcp.gov.sl.

Following the submission of the online application, customers can proceed to make payment at the State Land Sales Treasury Account at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank with the following account details.

ACCOUNT NUMBER:  0110117911

BBAN NUMBER: 003001101179112119

SWIFT CODE: SLCBSLFR

Minister Senesie said the new land sale model is part of the government’s agenda to equitably distribute land to its citizens, while also citing the land raffle model as another.

The Minister announced to the public that the government is engaging the private sector to undertake various development projects in the community including the construction of hospital, ultra-modern shopping mall, school and several other basic amenities.  

Dr. Senesie assured the customers that their documents for the land would be handed over to them within the next two weeks, while authorizing the paid up customers to commence work on their plots within the ambit of the law.

©️ Media and Public Relations Office, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning

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SLAJ Holds 2nd Stakeholders Consultation Workshop on Cyber Law

Stakeholders call for public awareness and evidenced based advocacy around the Sierra Leone’s cyber law

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) on Thursday 4th August 2022 held a 2nd Stakeholders Consultation Workshop on the Cyber Security and Crime Act 2021 to continue the discussion around the law under a project titled ‘Cyber Safe Sierra Leone. The first workshop was held on 8th February 2022.

The essence of the engagements, which brought stakeholders from various sectors, including Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and MDAs at the Harry Yansaneh Memorial Hall, SLAJ Headquarters, 56 Campbell Street, was to look at the Cyber security law again and identify gaps and sections that could be open to abuse of the right to freedom of expression and to develop strategies for awareness raising targeting constituent members. Thursday’s meeting was to follow up on the recommendations made at the first workshop and develop advocacy strategies around them.

In his opening remarks and update on the project, SLAJ President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla recalled the first stakeholders’ engagement workshop and the training of journalists across the country on cyber law. He read out the many recommendations made at the first workshop and urged stakeholders to come up with ideas and suggestions for implementation.

“There are two aspects to what we trying to do with this project. First, the law is the law and so we want to promote public awareness about the law so that people understand key provisions to help them avoid coming in conflict with the law. The second, is to build advocacy around certain provisions in the law that have the potential to undermine fundamental human rights such as free expression, online freedoms, and data privacy rights,” said Nasralla.

He called on all professionals engaged in the art of expression- from journalists, bloggers, musicians, actors, artists, writers, poets, etc. to be aware of the law and abide by it.

The facilitator of the workshop, Dr. Francis Sowa, gave a brief recap of issues discussed and recommendations made during the first stakeholders consultative meeting and noted that SLAJ was not in any way saying that cyberspace should not be regulated since the same crimes that exist in the physical space also exist in the cyberspace. 

“SLAJ and the Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) were actively involved in consultations following the enactment of the Cyber Security and Crime Act 2021. Parliament accepted some of our recommendations and some were not accepted. Now, we want to raise awareness about the law and remind the government about setting up the necessary structures provided for in the Act. And that we should do through advocacy,” said Dr. Sowa, and caution that if you create the law and don’t put the necessary structures in place, it will be left with the police and the judiciary to interpret and implement the law as they see fit.

Dr. Sowa cited the Copyrights Act 2011 as an example of a law that has been passed but has no established body to implement it. 

He went further to draw the attention of all stakeholders present to key areas in the Cyber Security and Crime Act 2018, which include: Part 1 which focuses on structure and infrastructure, Section 44- which is concerned with cyberbullying and stalking, section 33-38 unauthorized use of a device and the Data Protection law and 44(3) which concerns Public Interest, even when no law defines what public interest is, not even the Interpretation Act.

Dr. Sowa mentioned the National Cyber Security Advisory Council which has the Vice President and other government officials on the board noting that SLAJ had recommended for representatives from the media and civil society to be included.

Meanwhile, he cautioned participants to be mindful of the fact that the law still exists, and until it is amended it remains the law. “This is why a forum for educating people about the law is necessary so that they do not fall short,” he said.

Sahr Kendema from Campaign for Good Governance called on stakeholders to ensure the advocacy of the law is evidence-based. He recommended mapping out a clear direction of what the advocacy is calling for and why, whilst ensuring it targets certain groups and has specific messages.

“Our key messages must target specific groups, we must ensure we embark on evidence-based advocacy, whilst targeting specific groups with specific messages. We must also ensure we simplify the law so everyone understands it,” Kendema said.

The representative from the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), Lamin Lahai, encouraged SLAJ and its partners to bring all parties together to ensure the advocacy is inclusive. On the part of NATCOM, he revealed that the establishment of structures in line with the Cyberlawis ongoing.

The Deputy Director General of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), Alimamy Lahai Kamara, spoke about his institution’s concern about one of the country’s critical national information infrastructures at Leicester Peak. He said that the advocacy must call for that place (Leicester Peak), and other areas where critical information infrastructure, is to be protected.

“It is a security risk allowing people to freely hang out at Leister Peak. It can affect all of us if anything happens to that critical national information infrastructure. We must engage the government, consult with them and urge them to establish the necessary bodies to implement the cyber law,” Kamara said.

The Cyber Safe Sierra Leone Project, which is implemented by SLAJ with support from Internews SL, aims at supporting and defending rights online and free expression in Sierra Leone, while simultaneously bolstering digital literacy and improving the adoption of safe cyber security practices among Internet users in the country.

The next activity under the project, according to the SLAJ President, is engagement with bloggers to help them also understand the law and contribute to advocacy.

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ECSL Engages Stakeholders on Electoral Activities

The Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) has commenced a 2-day Regional Stakeholders’ engagement for Political Parties, Religious and Traditional Leaders, CSOs, Human Rights and other Interest groups in Port Loko City.

The Port Loko engagement is chaired by the Electoral Commissioner for the Northern Region, Mr Abubakrr M. Koroma.

The objective of the engagements is to update the abovestakeholders on the following:

1. Update on the ECSL Strategic Plan 2020-2024

2. Elections Observation Mission (EOM) Recommendations and the Electoral Legal Reforms leading to the enactment of the Public Elections Act 2022

3. Electoral Timeline and Preparedness for the conduct of the 2023 presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government elections 

4. Delimitation of Constituency and Ward Boundaries  

5.  Voters Registration and Education Strategies 

6. Stakeholders Engagement and Accreditation

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Rush Hour- Phase 1

By Moses Kay Fembeh

With technology taking over the world already, most of our young people, if not all, are in haste to make life easier and comfortable at all cost, which in itself not a bad lifestyle. But the manner in which a person fashions him or her life determineswhether such a person is in a rush hour or not. And most of our young people who have this philosophy of the easiness of life are not even aware of the consequences of ‘the rush hour’. Just as the saying goes, “you can’t eat your cake and have it back”.

Our young people of these days are over ambitious; want to finish university before 18, want to have a family together before 25, and want a doctorate degree before 35years, and even want to be the richest man or woman in Africa before 28. All of these desires are not a bad thing. Like I said earlier, the formula used can be destructive and problematic if not handle well. Nobody wants to be a loser not even Satan; he wants to conquer the world at all cost and that is his mission. Just like you and I, our mission is to serve others generously with love and compassion, but the battle between young people and the world which has been controlled by Satan and his agents is the idea of ‘rulership’, not even with the intent of compassion and love. 

Furthermore, majority of our young people these days want fat salaries, if possible to live on Banana Island and drive expensive cars. Unfortunately, the fantasy life has led man to willful thinking of this so called ‘rush hour’ which has led many to their early grave, and some are in prison, whilst others are engaged inarmed robbery and prostitution, some are used as political tools by politicians. 

One thing I want my readers to understand is this: ‘problem is man-made’. Rush hour is with the intention of using the shortcut and this sometimes cause problem for us. We invite problem in two ways; knowingly and unknowingly. The problems we invite knowingly could be an escape route to keep us safer if we are truly pragmatic about our future as we parade it on our faces.

A danger! Imagine a university student planning to write her semester exams decides to engage herself on full time series and other movies as well as TikTok, Facebook and WhatsApp,posting every now and then to attract more likes, instead of studying full time to attract better grades. But do not forget thatthese are the same people whose wishes do not resemble their true self. They slay all day with big phones like iPhone 11 & 13 pro max in their hands to attract more men in the streets and on social media. Social media was originally invented for easy communication amongst families, workers and other diplomatic issues but this New Media has become a dating site for many young people. I don’t want to say this, but I will; the future has been transmitted into a fashionable stock. No vision and no clear goal. 

Most of our parents especially the mothers could be well blamed for the rush hour of their children; as some parents forcibly give their female children to men who have money not even with the intention of marrying their children but the money that comes in on a daily basis. Could this be a course of poverty or lack of contentment? I don’t want to believe either. If some of our African mothers could have a strong faith in God, they would not do such an evil act before God. I’m not judging or attacking anyone but just saying a simple truth of what our Africa continent has turned into. I know that parents want the best for their children, so does God want the best for his creation. But the issue here is, it is in accordance with God’s provisions for healthy up bring or is it in accordance with world standard of living?

In addition, since colonial masters succeeded in dividing our world by class or segregation, the young people in Universities have also affirmed that sad reality by creating class for themselves. Those with iPhone are the valuable ones on campus and those with less valuable phones are the least important ones on campus. But to tell you the truth, from personal studies or research I have done, the latter are the ones who do well in semester exams but they are despised by their own course mates. But funnily enough, these serious students do sometimes assist the iPhone classical students in writing their exams. 

When there are no examinations, they hang out with their fellow iPhone friends and they Snapchat and snap everywhere on campus. Sadly, when grades are out these iPhone family on campus can be easily identified because of their sad faces of failure and by the amount of frustration on their faces.

The story for lecturers sleeping with some of them for grades will be talked about in phase 2, so I am not going to talk about sex for grades right now. I want to remain faithful to my chosensubject which is “rush hour.” 

Another issue for the cause of rush hour is the essence of competition today. Everyone is or wants to compete with someone else, probably a friend, a coworker or a family member. And competing with others breeds jealousy and unfortunately we jealous others because we think we are in competition with them. 

In addition, the class saga will continue here again, I’m sorry for the repetition but allow me to do so; our young people and some parents have created a class already for people they would mingle with in society. This has extended in marriage relationships. Some ladies date men because of money, and what they can give to them. This has been a reason for fornication and “tap to me” which is on the rampage. This too will be discussed in Phase 2. 

Research shows that 75 percent of ladies using iPhone did not buy them with their own money which is fine but most of these ladies have completed university and some are not yet working. So my premise is, of those ladies with iPhones and yet jobless, why can’t they sold those phones to empower themselves. There is nothing wrong with using a smart phone that is not an iPhone. Oh! Because of camera or for its name? Oh okay! Well I’m not rejecting the gift of receiving an iPhone but empowerment counts. 

Heard many people murmuring about our current educational system which is no longer standard. But some of these people crying down education are parents. They are the cause of the declining state of education today.

Imagine a parent has a class one pupil and that child fails to go to class 2. That mother sends 130 Leones for her six year daughter to be promoted to the next class. In that case her daughter will be in a near class but don’t you think she is a murderer of education? Of course she is! My readers will want to know the role played by the media and the teachers. The reality is that the head teacher and the class teacher tried to discourage her but the mother insisted that she would like to see her daughter promoted to the next class, probably competing with her neighbors’ kids not knowing that she has started murdering her daughter’s future. 

Fatmata Sesay, not her real name, had never worked hard to get her grades. She has always been helped by the bribed her mother used to give to teachers of the schools she attended. Sesay has a dream of becoming a medical doctor but because of bribery she was also pushed by her mother who is a housewife. 

Finally, Fatmata sat to her government and private West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) after several examination malpractices. She was successful in her WASSCE and she got admitted to the College of Medicine and AlliedHealth Sciences (COMAHS) in Freetown. 

Fatmata’s mother thought that the method she had been using to promote her daughter will continue in university but this time round, it didn’t work. Fatmata failed at COMAHS and was driven out of the college. She was later admitted at the University of Management and Technology (UNIMTECH) to read Diploma in Procurement and Logistics. Fatmata’s dream of becoming a doctor was murdered by her mother because they both lacked discipline and focus to study harder for better grades. 

Stay blessed we shall continue with Phase 2.

Copyright © Heroes Media Network

“Courage is what keeps me going”- Cyclist Mansaray

By Abdul Alex Conteh

Despite the ongoing impasse in the Sierra Leone Cycling Association regarding Elective Congress and other contentious issues, cyclists are going against the odds to keepfit and make themselves focused for any given opportunity. 

Joseph Kalleh Mansaray, a national cyclist tells the writer about the predicament in the sport and the series of attempts to get things on track. 

He explains how frustrated they were over the postponement of the Cycling Elective congress due to verification of delegates. 

Joseph, who was speaking to Heroes Media Sports during one of their training sessions at Aberdeen beach says over the past years and to date cycling is still grappling to reach new heights in terms of development.  

The cyclist adds that he will not relent in his pursuit to fulfilhis dream of becoming a better cyclist, urging his fellow cyclists to train hard and ignore the loggerheads the sport is currently faced with.

Lovers of cycling would subscribe to the notion that sport unifies people in different parts of the world. Sierra Leone is no exception, and the utmost desire is to see a semblance of normalcy in a sporting discipline that is loved by many.

The prevailing situation now requires a lasting solution. According to the cyclists, peace is needed not just to see Sierra Leone in Tour de France but also the deliverables everyone is expecting.

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NDMA Responds to Wellington Fire Victims

With support from the Government of Sierra Leone, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) through its Directorate of Relief and Response together with various Ministries (MDAs), Departments and Agencies and Partners has provided cash transfer, food and non-food items, and medical support assurance to the Wellington Fire Victims.

It could be recalled that on the 5th of November 2021, at Old Wharf Junction – Wellington, East End Freetown, a loaded fuel tanker collided with a truck carrying granite stones. The collision led to fuel spillage which eventually attracted residents to visit the scene to scoop fuel and stored it in nearby makeshift structures. It was during the process of scooping the fuel that a fire broke out killing 154 people, leaving hundreds with serious life threatening injuries.

Since the incident happened, the NDMA provided leadership and coordinated MDAs, NGOs and partners to ensure a swift response, rehabilitation and recovery.

Speaking at the event, the Director General of NDMA, Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Brima Sesay explained about the establishment, mandate of NDMA and the entire response process. 

“The NDMA was established in 2020 as a result of a promise made by His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio to the people of this country during the 2018 campaigns. The mandate of the agency is to manage disasters and similar emergencies throughout Sierra Leone and to also develop the capacity of communities to respond effectively to disastersand emergencies” he explained.

The DG further disclosed that NDMA through it Directorate of Relief and Response has supported of a population of 25,374 nationwide. Out of this number, the NDMA supported 5,174 households with food and non-food items, 1,507 houses and 67 public structures assorted building materials and 226 businesses with direct cash transfers who suffered from various disasters since the agency was established.

He also thanked the Ministry of Social Welfare for providing psychosocial support to the victims and those who lost loved ones. He also appreciated the remarkable role played by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) taking the various degree of burns they were confronted with to treat.

“President Bio had to cancel his overseas working trip short and returned home to sympathize with the victims and assured the affected population of Free Medical treatment. He also promised to institute an investigation into the circumstances leading to the fire incident. The investigation committee laterpresented a comprehensive report to HE Julius Maada Bio within the prescribed timeframe”, the DG added.

Dilating on the contributions of partners and well-wishers, the DG said NDMA has identified, verified and registered 310 affected persons/next of Kin, 2 households, 2 houses, 5 shops (makeshifts and containers), 48 motorbikes and 3 tricycles.  

He said that NDMA was able to receive cash and kind donation for the affected persons from the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA), Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS), Partners in Health, Concern Sierra Leone, Handicap International, SLPP North America Region, Caritas Freetown, CRS, Choithram-SL, World Vision, All For One, Kri Progressive Association, Kono District Diaspora, Street Child and others.

He pointed out that donated cash support were made by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, the Indian Mercantile Association, Nutrifood (S.L) Limited, Staff of NASSIT, NASSIT Trust Fund, Eminent Women of Peace, Summa Airport Sierra Leone, New Apostolic Church, Premium Divine Trading, Thailand Republic, LEONE NET WhatsApp Group, Mandingo Muslim Jamat and a young Sierra Leonean student, Janice William.

“I am convinced that most of you have in one way or the other received donated items (cash & kind). The Government of Sierra Leone is here today to present the affected persons and beneficiaries of those who lost their lives, relief package in addition to the items that were donated by our partners. I am sure there will be peace of mind, restoration of hope and appreciation following the distribution of items that would officially mark the completion of this response today”, he expressed.

Representing the President of Sierra Leone, the Senior Adviser to the President, Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin thanked the President for setting up of the NDMA as per his 2018 manifesto. 

“I thank the President for establishing the NDMA. Before NDMA, emergency structures were established when incidents occur. When there is Cholera, Malaria or Ebola Outbreak, there is a temporary arrangement which will always fade away. But the president thought it necessary to establish and equip the NDMA in order to empower communities and effectively manage disasters”.

“We are establishing a Burns Unit at Connaught to train our doctors and that will enable them to help other countries when the need arise. Before anyone could come during the Wellington incident, NDMA, MoHS and the community were the first to intervene and before any other Partner could support our victims, institutions such as NASSIT which was created by SLPP is among the first to support. SLPP has empowered people and created institutions that will provide meaningful support whenever necessary”, he concluded. 

Alhaji Komeh, a victim, and the Country Director of All For One Foundation, Madam Katie Milazzo both expressed their gratitude for government’s timely intervention and conveyed their utmost appreciation. 

“It is God’s plan that we are victims, and we are thankful to God, the Government of Sierra Leone and more especially the NDMA for their relentless support. We are grateful”, saidAlhaji Komeh.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Parliament Enacts National Land Commission Act 2022

Lands Minister, Dr. Turad Senesie

Parliament of Sierra Leone on Monday debated and passed into law with some amendments, the bill entitled, “National Land Commission Act, 2022”, for the development of Sierra Leone. 

The National Land Commission Act 2022, seeks to provide for the establishment of the National Land Commission, and other land administrative bodies to secure effective and holistic land administration and to provide for other related matters.

The Parliament of Sierra Leone also debated and passed into law with some amendments the bill, entitled “The Customary Land Right Act 2022”, for the development of the country. 

The Customary Land Right Act 2022 seeks to provide for the protection of customary land rights, the elimination of discrimination under customary law, and the management and administration of land subject to customary law, and other related matters. 

Earlier, the dual bills were debated by Members of Parliament bringing out their importance towards the development of the lands tenure system and administration for the country. 

The Minister of Land, Housing, and Country Planning, Dr. Turad Senesie piloted the enactment of the dual Bills.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Negligence in Big Offices

By Arthur Caulker

When His Excellency Julius Maada Bio took over governancein April 2018, he told Sierra Leoneans to go to work at 8 o’clock am and leave office at 5pm every weekday. That did not come by word of mouth but he followed it with action. It brought back discipline to government offices; lackadaisical and lacklustre attitude vanished.  

But we have returned to factory setting. Now incomplete works are left for other days or you pay in the form of Bible to get your work done on time. If the president would have continued with that same unannounced visits to government offices, Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Directors, etc.,would be vigilant and work would go on smoothly. 

However, responsible Ministries like Energy, Internal Affairs and few others are punctual whilst others like the Sierra Leone Road Authority, the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation, senior management of Lungi International Airport, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry ofFisheries and Marine Resources are adhering

The Ministry of Finance and many others allow pressure to mount on jobs that should be done; they become incomplete and pressure shifts on the junior staff.

Some do not even go to work especially on Fridays becausethey know that Friday is half working day, so they make it a holiday. Step up Mr. President!

The time for election is getting closer and professionalism and punctuality must start now! Even junior staff will abide because their superiors are law abiding and have the willingness to work for the good of this country. Our people are almost getting tired and some are even thinking of how to get out of this.

Imagine you write certain ministries for documents, they will put you on hold and you will have to wait until you get fed up. 

No respect for clients and the public. We want ministries, departments and agencies to ease the burden on you as the Grand Commander and Fountain of Honour of this country. 

Notwithstanding, Ministries like Energy, Internal Affairs, Basic and Senior School Education among others need to do more for effective service delivery.

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Ambassador Gberie Engages Sierra Leone Community in Zurich

By Mohamed Sheriff, Information Attaché, Geneva, Switzerland

Zurich, Switzerland, Sunday 31 July 2022 – The Ambassdorand Permanent Representaive of Sierra Leone in Switzerland, His Excellency Dr Lansana Gberie, and his proactive team have engaged the Sierra Leone community through anoutreach meeting organized by the mission as a means to bring Sierra Leoneans together in Zurich, Switzerland.

Explaining the rationale behind the outreach meeting, Ambassador Gberie informed Sierra Leoneans about the essence of coming together, pointing out the strides the Government has made so far in the past four years. 

He went further to say that the Diaspora engagement would give insight to the Sierra Leone Community to know about the Government achievement and challenges, and also to have first-hand information on the current situation and needs of Sierra Leoneans in Zurich.

Ambassador Gberie said when he assumed office in 2018, he first engaged Sierra Leoneans in Zurich but stalled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. “That is the reason why I want to commend Mohamed Sheriff, the Information Attaché’ for the Outreach initiative to foster enhance engagement and communication between the Mission and the Sierra Leonean Community”, he said.

He called on Sierra Leoneans to make collective effort to make the country attractive to potential investors in the world. Also, he engaged them to participate in registration process between September 3 and October 4 2022 as part of their democratic rights.

“We have had a very difficult period over the years but thanked God for the proactive intervention of the Government to reduce such suffering on the people. it is our collective effort to make the country more impressive to the world,” He explains. 

He told Sierra Leoneans that the Mission stands ready to address their challenges at all times.

Giving an overview about the gains made so far, under leadership of President Bio, the death penalty abolished, 1965 Libel Law that criminalizes free speech repeal, Women empowerment, the free quality education, Sustainable infrastructural development, Improved health care service delivery, fighting against corruption, the Hands off our Girls’ campaign among others.

He encouraged Sierra Leoneans to continue to comport themselves, he warned them against acts that will divide them and the country as a whole.

Ambassador Gberie urged them to live as a family in unity and to capacitate themselves as well.

Speaking earlier, the Head of Chancery and Minister Counsellor, Edward Kawa, presented the Embassy staff to the Sierra Leonean Community and explained some of the activities undertaken since the Ambassador assumed duty four years ago. Worth mentioning was the issue of the Sierra Leone’s Presidency of the Arms Trade Treaty, the Vice Chairperson of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Chairman of the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Council among other things. 

Mr Alhaji Hamidu Mansaray, who spoke on behalf of the Sierra Leoneans, thanked Ambassador Gberie for projecting the government’s  strides to ensure that  the country become more attractive and for citizens to bring potential investors from Zurich to the country.

Mr Mansaray noted that there was a cordial working relationship between the Sierra Leonean Community and the Embassy on several other matters but called for more community engagement with the people in Switzerland. 

He praised the President for his numerous promises fulfilled and impact of the Free Quality School Education. He promised the Ambassador of tranquillity among Sierra Leoneans living in Zurich and its immediate environs. 

The Mission will continue with the Diaspora engagement drive in the coming months in different cantons in Switzerland.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Government, UN Launch Partnership to Advance Disability Inclusion in Sierra Leone

On Tuesday, 2 August, UN Resident Coordinator (RC) Babatunde Ahonsi emphasized that disability rights and inclusion are a critical element of the United Nations Country Team’s (UNCT) multi-year Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) with the Government of Sierra Leone.

Speaking at the launch of the “Advancing Disability Inclusion in Sierra Leone” programme, done in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare at the New Brookfields Hotel earlier in the day, the RC said the programme was made possible by the UNCT’s earnest pursuit of a funding opportunity provided through the global UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD).

Mr. Ahonsi emphasised that partnerships will continue to be critical throughout the programme and, therefore, called for continued support in the areas of technical inputs to the design of new systems, compiling and sharing good practices, tracking progress on identified objectives, and raising awareness of disability rights.

He commended the Ministry of Social Welfare, Organisations of and for Persons with Disabilities, the NGOs, and UN colleagues, who contributed to the initial Expression of Interest and other elements of the inspection phase in 2021, which included Research and Report and development of the full proposal. Also, the RC stressed that the UN is committed to the success of the programme, especially the three implementing agencies – UNFPA, UNDP and UNICEF. The Country Representatives of UNFPA and UNICEF joined the RC with other UN personnel at the event.

In his statement, Mr. Vandy Konneh, Executive Director of Disability Rights Movement, commended the increased efforts from all stakeholders towards addressing disability-related issues. “Today, we can talk about cash transfer, the review of policies and most importantly, the implementation of the livelihood project”, Konneh said whilst referring to the UNPRPD as the “leading edge of the removal of barriers to people with disabilities.”

Officially launching the UNPRPD Programme, Minister of Social Welfare, Madam Baindu Dassama-Kamara, said the event was an outcome of the first ever expression of interest jointly developed by her ministry, the UN and other stakeholders. “This is an initiative to shift from reactive to more proactive, result-oriented programming to drive implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and disability-inclusive SDGs with meaningful participation of persons with disabilities themselves”, she informed her audience.

The Minister also expressed the government’s appreciation to development partners, including the UN, for their remarkable contribution to processes that would advance disability inclusion across all levels of national development. “The launch of this partnership is a significant event as we gradually realise the prominence of disability in the UN agenda for sustainable development,” she stressed. 

Sierra Leone was among the 26 countries in 2021 to receive funding from the UNPRPD on its fourth call to advance the Convention on the Rights of People with Disability and increase the implementation of disability-inclusive SDGs.  In 2021, the UN worked closely with the Ministry of Social Welfare and Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) to implement an inception phase of the programme, constituting an induction workshop on CRPD and SDGs, a country situation analysis, and the development of a full proposal for additional funding. 

The Advancing Disability Inclusion in Sierra Leone Programme is a partnership of stakeholders, including the UN, Government, civil society and organisations for persons with disabilities, seeking to actualize provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Energy Minister Signs MOU with British National

By Austin Luseni

On Tuesday the 2 August 2022 Sierra Leone’s Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay,has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Kingdom based company-Delagua Sierra Leone Implementation Ltd, for the provision of some huge quantity of cook stoves to rural communities in the country in line with his Ministry’s quest to enhance female access to modern energy by investing in clean cooking fuel and household energy needs.

Regional Director of Delagua Group, Euan McDougall said his company was set up in the 1980s to provide water testing kits to be sold around the world, adding that after a pilot project in Rwanda in 2010, the company went into the business of distributing cook stoves. 

He said over seven hundred thousand stoves had been provided for people in rural communities in Rwanda since 2014,noting that his company had identified Sierra Leone as a country with a government that had demonstrated the genuine commitment to improving access to clean energy for citizens in rural communities.

Mr McDougall went on to say that a huge quantity of  stoves would be provided to people in rural communities on a free-of-charge basis, stressing further that his company was envisaging the possibility of employing over one thousand Sierra Leoneans to help with the distribution of the stoves and in educating the beneficiaries on how to use the facility.

He said once the stoves, which had a ten-year lifespan were distributed, follow-up visits to the over one million beneficiary households would be made to help the end users understand how to use the products.

He said the stoves had innumerable benefits with specific reference to improving access to energy, gender empowerment and a plethora of health-related positives. 

He thanked the Minister for the warm reception accorded his team and assured that his company would collaborate with the Ministry of Energy in achieving government’s overall policy objective in the renewable energy space.

The energy sector reforms continue.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

UBA Group Appoints New Group Managing Director

Oliver Alawuba has over twenty years of work experience in the banking sector and the academia. 

Prior to his current role, he was UBA’s Group Deputy Managing Director and CEO, UBA Africa, managing the country subsidiaries across 20 countries in Africa. 

Alawuba was at various times the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UBA Ghana Ltd, MD/CEO of UBA West Africa, Directorate Head, Public Sector and Personal Banking Regional CEO, UBA Africa Anglophone. 

Alawuba has Bachelor of Science and Master of Science (B.Sc & M. Sc) degrees in Food Science and Technology and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Banking and Finance. 

He is an alumnus of the AMP and SEP programmes of the prestigious INSEAD Business School, France, and London Business School respectively. He is also a Fellow of Nigerian Institute of Management and Honorary Senior Member of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

SLMeT, SLMA Train staff on Coastal Guard Communication

SLMeT’s DDG, Gabriel Kpaka             SLMA’s Director of Marine Safety, Ibrahim Wurie

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

The Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency (SLMeT) in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA) on Thursday 4th August, 2022 commenced a three-day training on Strengthening Sierra Leone’s Coastal Guard Communication for Early Warning Services dissemination through VHF Radios.

The training which is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is ongoing at SLMA’sConference Room, Government Wharf in Freetown, and will be completed on Saturday 6th August, 2022, followed by presentation of marine VHF Radios by UNDP to SLMeT and SLMA.

Participants include the media, Maritime and SLMET officials, etc. As part of their core mandate which is to safeguard lives through sea worthiness efforts, the training is expected to help officials of both institutions to build resilience in Early Warning information dissemination especially across the marine sector within Sierra Leone.

SLMET’s Deputy Director-General, Gabriel Kpaka said the training is funded by the UNDP under the Coastal project. “The training which is conducted in various form is conducted by SLMET and SLMA”, he said.

He continued: “Climate change and seas level rise affect the coast. One of the components of the project is to install a marine weather station. The training is to strengthen search and rescue communications.”

“When I joined SLMET some 12 years ago, we only had two weather stations, but with UNDP’s support, we can now boast of over 60 weather stations. I want to thank the UNDP for their support.”

DDG Kpaka described the training as very important. “People are going to get the needed skills and information in search and rescue. I want all the participants to take the exercise seriously”, he ended.

Addressing the gathering, SLMA’s Director of Maritime Safety and Security, Ibrahim Wurie said the core competence of SLMA is to protect life and property as well as the marine environment. 

“SLMA needs the intervention of other partners for effective service delivery. The training is very important and cannot be achieved without the support of SLMET. The search and rescue we are conducting all over the country is part of our humanitarian effort”, he noted. 

He said the training is going to have a positive impact on their work, pointing out that it’s their duty to continue to save life and property. He appreciated SLMET and UNDP. “Our aim is to rescue people within 30 minutes”. 

Day one’s topics include SLMet at a Glance and status with respect to Marine Meteorology, SLMA at a Glance and status with respect to the marine environment, marine meteorology, and search and rescue communication.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

ECSL Conducts Boundary Delimitation Exercise

ECSL Boss Mohamed K. Konneh

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

The Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) is conducting Boundary Delimitation exercises for the demarcation of Constituency and Ward Boundaries in Sierra Leone, pursuant to Section 38 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991 (Act No. 6 of 1991) and other provisions such as: The Constitutional Instrument (Amendment) No. 2 of 2008; The Wards (Boundary Delimitation) Regulations 2008; The Public Elections Act, 2012; The Local Government Act 2004; The Provinces (Amendment) Act 2017 and The Eight Establishment Orders 2017.

The Commission has set up a Boundary Delimitation Technical Committee with a clearly defined Terms of Reference. The ECSL says it will collaborate with Statistics Sierra Leone (Stats SL) for technical and operational assistance in providing Population Statistics Data and expertise to draw electoral constituencies and ward boundaries using Geographic Information Systems technology.

The Commission further notes that it will conduct series of nationwide consultations and engagements during the Constituency and Ward Boundary delimitation activities and thereafter submit the Constituency and Ward Boundary Delimitation report to Parliament for approval as enshrined in the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 (Act No. 6 of 1991).

“After Parliamentary approval, the Electoral Commission will conduct nationwide awareness raising campaigns on allocation of seats and the Metes and Bounds descriptions of the Constituencies and Wards in the sixteen (16) electoral districts”, a press release from the commission states.

It says timelines on the Boundary Delimitation activities will be communicated to stakeholders in due course.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Ernest Bai Koroma Leads AU Elections Mission in Kenya

Former President Koroma 

Former President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma on Wednesday 3rd August, 2022 departed Freetown for Nairobi, Kenya, where he will lead the African Union Elections Observation Mission (AUEOM).

This follows an invitation by the Chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission HE Moussa Faki Mahamat to Sierra Leone’s former President to lead the AUEOM in the East African nation. 

Kenya will be holding its general elections on the 9th August, which are being stiffly by four Presidential Candidates. The aspirants are vying to succeed President Uhuru Kenya whose second term ends in August. 

The AU is therefore keen on ensuring that the polls are peaceful, credible and the outcome widely accepted. As such, the continental body is once again drawing on President Koroma’s vast experience in handling such high contested elections.

“Giving your vast experience and commitment to promoting democracy and peace on the African continent, I wish to invite you to lead the AUEOM to the Republic of Kenya…,”,stated HE Mahamat in his invitation letter. 

It could be noted that this Sierra Leonean statesman has led the AU exemplarily through elections observations missions in Namibia and Zambia. He has also successfully led ECOWAS Elections Observation Missions to Togo, Benin and the Gambia.

“The whole of Africa is wishing Kenya well in its critical democratic journey. I am optimistic that the leaders and all Kenyans, will emerge from this elections stronger, more democratic and more united,”, said former President Koroma. 

In Kenya, former President Koroma and his team will engage various stakeholders in government, the Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Political Parties, civil societies, the media, Diplomatic community, and others involve in the electoral process. The AUEOM will include election experts and diplomats drawn from the AU member states.

The former President is expected to return home on August 12th, 2022.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Freedom

Author Rahima

Too many rules for a rebel soul.
A delinquent since conception.
Even abortion cannot faze me.
Erred contraceptions of the heart.
No matter how dark and narrow the path is, nothing will hold in capture my free spirit.
I am not a slave to unforgiveness a burden I laid down forgotten, too absent-minded to carry.

Yes! I shift my consciousness and awaken every web of bondage. For a
kindred spirits not familiar to endure.
Open wings stretched to it limits.
Flapping inside out as I take flight to explore taboos, higher and beyond.
My only hope is to fly like an eagle.
Swimming perfectly in shallow mists
I dare the devil for his truth. Never got it but will keep searching for the holy grail.

My speech can never be bolted nor locked
Neither can my actions in orange overall like a jailbird.
I break prison through tunnels like Pablo, see I break my phobia for clusters.
I keep searching for a beautiful ending to mark a new beginning.
My fears can never hold me hostage.
I cannot be outside my head and rule my mind inwardly.
My thoughts raced as my worries chased. The truth they say will set me free, but they wilfully omit the part that it will crush my spirit.

I won the race, independence is here.
Throwing the keys of these lockdowns and bringing light to the right a power I desire.
I can never be caged again, liberty is emphasized in my psyche.
The openness of my heart for tomorrow brightens my face.
Desired handshakes and hugs, alterations of civilizations.
If feels good to be under the sun again, slowly life is creeping back on me.
Today, I will barely take a gulp from the cup of my forebearers; bloody, bitter, sweet, their fights echoe in victory.

Today, I will just take a sip with no mask on, no need to isolate my impressions.
Cheers🥂 to those before us who were in the frontlines. Selfless in their service, the oath they kept, and for their sacrifice
We are finally free from freedom.

Copyright © by Rahima Vandy Kargbo otherwise known as dasalone_titi Rahima

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

PSA! Change of Names

THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE

IN THE MATTER OF DEED POLL AFFECTING CHANGE OF NAME 

OF JOEL ABDULAI KALLON FORMALLY ABDULAI KALLON

We Kanu & Associates, solicitors representing the above-named person, hereby give notice to the public that:

1. Joel Abdulai Kallon by Deed Poll Affecting Change of Name dated 1st day of August 2022 and registered at the office of the Administrator and Registrar-General, has renounced, relinquished and abandoned the use of his former names Abdulai Kallon .

2. From the  29th day of July 2022 has assumed the names Joel Abdulai Kallon.

3. He authorizes and requests that all persons at all times designate and address him by such assumed names of Joel Abdulai Kallon.

4. Documents bearing his former names are however authentic and correct.

SOLICITORS REPRESENTING JOEL ABDULAI KALLON

​DATED 29TH JULY 2022.

 

THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE

IN THE MATTER OF DEED POLL AFFECTING CHANGE OF NAME 

OF JAYNE JANET JOY PATRICIA ABAYOMI FLYNN-SANKOH FORMALLY JAYNE SANKOH

We Kanu & Associates, solicitors representing the above-named person, hereby give notice to the public that:

1. Jayne Janet Joy Patricia Abayomi Flynn-Sankoh by Deed Poll Affecting Change of Name dated 1st day of August 2022 and registered at the office of the Administrator and Registrar-General, has renounced, relinquished and abandoned the use of her former names Jayne Sankoh. 

2. From the 29th day of July 2022 has assumed the names Jayne Janet Joy Patricia Abayomi Flynn-Sankoh

3. She authorizes and requests that all persons at all times designate and address her by such assumed names of Jayne Janet Joy Patricia Abayomi Flynn-Sankoh.

4. Documents bearing her former names are however authentic and correct.

SOLICITORS REPRESENTING JAYNE JANET JOY PATRICIA ABAYOMI

FLYNN-SANKOH

DATED 29TH JULY 2022.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Chinese Embassy Donates Office Equipement to ECSL

By Alhaji Musa Barrie (AMB)

The People’s Republic of China through the Chinese Embassy on Thursday donated office equipment to the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone.

The Chinese Deputy Ambassador to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Li Xiaoyong handed over the equipment to the commission during his handing over ceremony to the Commission at their Tower Hill conference room in Freetown.

The Deputy Ambassador generously handed over five (5) Huawei Pads, one (1) conference table, twelve (12) conference chairs, one (1) office table and chair and two (2) printers (P1106) with the aim of helping the commission carry on with its good work and commitment to free and fair elections in the country.

The donation came as a result of the promised made by the Chinese Ambassador to the Commission on the 14th of June 2022 after the ECSL made a formal request for assistance to the Embassy during a courtesy meeting between the commissioner and the ambassador. “On Tuesday 14th June 2022, we made a request to the Chinese Ambassador to help us with office furniture and other needful materials”, said Chief Electoral Commissioner, Mohamed Konneh.

Speaking at the event, the Deputy Chinese Ambassador Li Xiaoyong commended the Commissioner and the commission for building and upholding the democratic process in Sierra Leone. The Ambassador also expressed his profound gratitude to the Commission for the excellent job they have been doing over the years, noting the 24th June 2023 general elections.

The Diplomat also assured the Commission of their continuedpartnership and bilateral relations.

The Chief Electoral Commissioner thanked the Chinese Embassy and by extension the people of China, saying this is not the first time the Chinese Embassy has donated materials to the Commission. “This is not the first time we have received support from China. I received some donations on behalf of the commission during my early appointment as commissioner. During that time we received eleven (11) generators in our warehouse which we are going to distribute to our various offices across the country”, he said.

The CEC continued: “The People’s Republic of China has been instrumental; the country has also invested in human capital development which is a growth for any country that wants to develop. A typical example is one of our newly doctoral graduates from China. We remain grateful to China”.

He thanked the Ambassador, adding that the ECSL is looking forward to more support in education and technical training.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Solade Adams Public Lecture Series discusses the District Block Representation/Proportional Representation Systems

The Milton Margai Technical University (MMTU) on Tuesday 26th July 2022 continued with its Solade Adams Public Lecture Series on the topic: Understanding the District Block Representation (DBR) System/Proportional Representation (PR) at the Great Hall of the Goderich campus in Freetown.

Dr. Julius Spenser, former Minister of Information, poet and play writer,  revealed that the PR system means changing from the DBR winner takes all system, that the current political system is divisive, that the country is almost in the middle of moving towards ethnicity, that politicians fan the flames of ethnicity, that politics has now become a do or die battle and the surest way to get wealth while the majority of the people are not served and that people think they have no stake in governance lamenting that everything in the country is now politicized.

He continued that the country is not focused on development, that the first past the post political system is not good for the country as worldwide it protects only two parties and that the PR system facilitates the election of legislators, enhances fair representation of all, is the must-widely used system in the world with 94 out of 195 countries in the world practicing it.

According to Dr. Spenser, politicians are selfish and want to monopolize power, that the PR system breeds violence including inter and intra-party violence, that the country used the PR system in the 2007 and 2012 elections, that the threshold to win a seat in the PR is based on the percentage of votes, that the PR system has benefits for the people and mentioned the two different types of PRs- the party list, the close and open party list respectively.

In his presentation, the former Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Mr. Mohamed Nfai Alie Contehcommended the government of President Julius Maada Bio for transforming the institution to a Technical University, clarified that he is not a politician, that an electoral system is the arrangement by which votes are cast, that Sierra Leone’s electoral system stems from its colonial past, that politicians choose the electoral system that works for them considering social factors like the civil war.

He went on to reveal that there are inherent advantages of the PR system, recalled that in 2002 the entire country was one constituency, that the District Block System is very unique to the country, that the number of votes are divided by the number of seats in Parliament, that with the PR system people vote for the party list and not individuals and that the District Block system was used in the 2002 elections.

According to Mr. Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh, there are no bye-elections in the PR system that was used in the 1996 and 2002 elections because the entire country was not accessible due to the rebel war as well as access to reliable data.

He further highlighted the merits of the PR system as fair relationship between votes cast and seats in parliament, fair representation of minorities, cost-effective, no bye-elections, improves women’s representation in parliament citing Rwanda with the highest number of women in parliament worldwide, inclusiveness, protects minority interests, secures representation of all parties and groups, less lobbying and other forms of pressure, gives ample choice of candidates to voters, avoids wastage of votes informing that the District Block is a form of PR.

Cataloging the demerits of the PR, Mr. Mohamed N’fa AlieConteh said it encourages splinter parties that leads to coalitions, has technical difficulties, that voters do not have the opportunity to influence their choice of candidates, no link between Members of Parliament and the people concluding that the PR system has more advantages for the country than the District Block. 

The chairman of the Independent Media Commission and chairman of the event, Dr. Victor Massaquoi recalled three years ago when the first  Solade Adams Public Lectures were held during which the family of the honoree was invited, that the two speakers who are heavyweights would discuss the merits and demerits of the PR and District Block systems to increase the knowledge and understanding of both lecturers and students as well as create a communication link to disseminate the outcome.    

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Vice Chancellor and principal of MMTU, Dr. Philip John Kanu enlightened that the Solade Adams Public Lectures is in honor of the first African principal of the institution and that it is prudent for the university to discuss critical national issues and proffer solutions to be cascaded to the people.

The Acting Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, MMTU, Mr. Ishmael Kebby, introduced the two speakers.

Highlights of the event were the question and answer session and the vote of thanks by a student.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

British National Found Dead at Barmoi Hotel

heroesmedia publication

On Sunday 24th July, 2022 at about 10am, a British national by the name of Alexander Wing, 42, was found dead in his room No. 1 at the Barmoi Hotel in Freetown.

Extension and electric cable were found beside the deceasedwith his face covered in a pool of blood. Photos show that he might have been punched on his right face and his right hand might be faulty too. His wrist watch was still fixed to his hand with his short trousers covered in blood. 

Mr. Sheku Tejan Kamara, alias Ku-ku is the Managing Director of Barmoi Hotel in Aberdeen Freetown. He said the matter is under investigation at the Criminal Investigations Unit (CID) in Freetown.  

Ibrahim Ali, not his real name, said Wing’s colleagues testified that the deceased was unwell and they even showed him the remaining drugs of the deceased which this medium was not able to lay hands on. 

According to anonymous person, on Sunday they did not bother their customers; they allow them to rest. 

“Even though it was a weekend, I was concerned and I had to knock at his room door but to no avail. So I had to immediately inform his colleagues from their own rooms. Several attempts were made by them; calling his phone and even the land phone but without success. So someone had to use the back to get through the window and he was found lying on the floor dead”,said the anonymous person.

Alexander Wing worked for ALATAS UK Service Department in Sierra Leone. According to a staff at Barmoi Hotel, Wing came to their Hotel on 20th June, 2022 and met his unfortunate death four days later. 

The matter was firstly investigated by the Aberdeen Police Division.

The Hotel staff were arrested and are helping the police with the investigations.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

SLAJ Holds Orientation Ceremony for Incoming Executives

Participants pose for a group photo after the program

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has over the weekend ended its orientation program and inauguration ceremony for incoming executives of the association. 

The event, which took place at J & E Hotel, Koribundu Road, Bo City, Southern Sierra Leone, was for newly-elected and outgoing SLAJ executive members across the regions. Heads of affiliate bodies of SLAJ and Secretariat staff were also invited to be part of the program so they will understand the operations of the parent body and how to relate to and support the Association.

Making a presentation on the association’s Financial Management Policy, Isha Kamara- a representative from Freetown Nominees Limited (the institution that manages SLAJ’s finances)- notes that the draft Finance Manual which the new SLAJ Executive will review and adopt will not only assist the finance team in the day-to-day execution of accounting operating procedures but also help them understand their relationship to audit materials.

She notes that cash management is a key component since cash is the key to every institution’s daily operations. She emphasisesthat all audit trails must be properly filled to ensure transparency and accountability. (Audit trails include documentation, media, and financial transactions).

The financial manual, she continues, will provide management with pathways to attain the goals and objectives of the Association. Its main function is to measure organisationalefficiency through proper allocation, acquisition, and management. It also provides a guide in financial planning and assists in acquiring funds from different sources.

Key components of the manual point out that, in line with best practices the President must be in the know and a key signatory for the release of cash, cheque, or transfer transactions. 

Each document, Isha stresses, must meet certain requirements including the fact that all documents must be financially correct with all supporting documentation attached. Every transaction, it states, must be within the regulations of the donors, SLAJ’s financial procedures, and General Accounting Principles. 

In his presentation on Project Implementation, Dr. Francis Sowa- National Coordinator of the Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG), guides the SLAJ project team on important components they must take note of in project management. The session is to equip the team to better execute, monitor, and handle the various projects SLAJ is currently implementing. The term Project, he says, refers to any temporary endeavour with a definite beginning and an end. 

“Project implementation or project execution is the phase where visions and plans become reality. That means we are all in this big SLAJ project and we must know about project implementation to succeed,” says Dr. Sowa.

He warns that projects must be taken seriously because all the institution’s hard-earned reputation can be lost if just one project is not properly managed and implemented.

The implementation phase, he says, is the phase where the team carries out activities described in a laid down work plan. He mentions that the two main components that must be accurately done in the implementation of a project are the narrative report and the financial report.

Joseph Egbenda Kapuwa Esq (COOR), Director General of the SLBC, admonishes the new executives on their constitutional roles and responsibilities as enshrined in the SLAJ revised constitution. He maintains that all regional and national executive members must work in line with the vision of the President of the Association to achieve the institution’s aims and objectives. He advises all executive members that even though they are all elected officials they are firstly directly answerable to the President, and secondly to the membership. 

He picks the brain of members on several constitutional provisions which he says will be looked into when the association reviews its constitution, an action which he says is ‘urgently needed’.

Dr. Julius Spencer shares his wealth of experience when he talks about Governance, Management, and Fundraising. He references several sections of the Companies Act of 2009 as amended in 2014, pointing to leadership, delegated responsibilities from the Board of Directors (the National Executives), separation of functions, checks, and balances, and management of essential staff.

He reiterates the points made by lawyer Kapuwa, making special emphasis on the management structure and how SLAJ should be run as a company limited by Guarantee in line with the Companies Act and the institution’s constitution.

In the area of fundraising, Dr. Spencer encourages SLAJ to seek funds from projects using its credibility and track record in managing its existing projects. He says projects can even be sought from non-SLAJ members, and this he says will add up to the membership dues which can be collected using new and improved methods with the aid of technology. He says the national and regional executives must be creative, and innovative and should think outside the box in raising funds to sustain the Association’s operations.

Making his presentation on Vision, Approach, and Visibility, SLAJ President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla informs the membership that his SALT manifesto which stood for Stimulate/Strengthen, Appreciate, Listen/Learn, and Transfer, basically targeted the mindsets of journalists and reinforced their roles and responsibilities with regard to responsible practice and the overall growth of the media in Sierra Leone officially ends on Saturday 23rd July 2022 and a new Manifesto titled MEAL is immediately born. 

The new manifesto MEAL, the acronym for Mobilize, Evaluate, Allocate and Liberate, he says, seeks to consolidate the gains made in the SALT manifesto by continuing with the SLAJ project of defending, promoting, and protecting free speech and free media whilst strengthening professionalism, financial sustainability, and accountability at national and regional levels.

President Nasralla notes that when running for office three years ago he promised to look into the welfare of journalists, address the gender imbalance in SLAJ and the media, provide mentorship and training for members, and advocate for the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law. He says to a large extent his executive succeeded in achieving the SALT manifesto promises. 

Key among the successes include the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law and the passing of the IMC Act 2020, the annual Government of Sierra Leone subvention to SLAJ (which has been increased by H.E. President Bio), launching of a Journalism Welfare Fund to promote public interest journalism and to support journalists in times of emergencies, establishing a Gender Advisory Panel to help SLAJ address gender imbalance in the media, increasing the membership intake (with the highest number of female members) whilst attracting a lot of qualified people with various academic credentials among several other achievements. 

President Nasralla also mentions the national media viability and investment conference and its prospect of establishing a national basket fund to support public interest journalism in Sierra Leone; the biggest gains ever made in the World Press Freedom rankings since the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, and successful celebration of the Association’s 50th Independence Anniversary.

He uses the opportunity to appreciate the entire membership of SLAJ for the overwhelming confidence reposed in him to continue as President of SLAJ for the second and final term UNOPPOSED.

He recognises the national and regional executives, Affiliate bodies, and partners including MRCG, Guild, IRN, Mass CommUSL, Bournemouth University UK, BBC Media, IMDEV, IMC, RAIC, HRSCL, and NPDC.

He further acknowledges donors and sponsors including Mercury International, Orange, Africell, UBA, RCB, SLCB, GTBank, and the Diplomatic Community for their continued support of media development in Sierra Leone.

President Nasralla also recognises the Government of Sierra Leone for its continued support of media development initiatives and for ensuring Sierra Leone joins the Global Media Coalition.

Conclusively, President Nasralla notes that in implementing the MEAL manifesto he shall use his usual approach of teamwork, inclusivity (leaving no one behind), dialogue, engagement, consultations, and receptive to constructive criticism.

Former SLAJ President Kelvin Lewis shares his experience with the incoming executive and urges them to change the face of SLAJ. He notes that although President Nasralla has made quite a success a lot more needs to be done to improve the association. 

Lewis encourages the regions to work in tandem with the National executive whilst calling for improved transparency and accountability. He encourages Nasralla to continue to improve the structures (including the annual audit report and the new draft finance manual) which he says will make SLAJ an accountable and respectable institution. 

The program ends with an experience-sharing session by the outgoing executive members across the regions, an official handing over to the newly elected executive members, and an inauguration.

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MYSTERIOUS! Contraband Goods Turn Gizzards

By Arthur Caulker 

Intelligence from Europe reached the security sector in Sierra Leone that a certain ship was traveling with contraband goods; cocaine, arms and ammunition and the container was arrested on the 22nd July 2022 after it traveled from different countries which made the then Inspector General of Police, Ambrose M. Sovula together with other police officers had 72 hours of sleepless night. At the end of inspection the press was informed that the container only contained Gizzards.

June 5th 1975 was a historic day diamond turned to stone under President Dr. Siaka Problyn Stevens. 

On the 15th July, 2008 Marine Foreign Nationals and some policemen/civilians working in and around the airport at Lungi were also arrested for the offense of trafficking cocaine. That was certified by the Pharmacy Board. Some people were convicted for the cocaine but when the substance was burnt, it was a white powdery substance.

According to reliable source, the container reached our SierraLeone Ports – the Queen Elizabeth 11 Quay on Friday 22 July, 2022 and went through scanning as a preliminary check out but the police alleged that they were not satisfied. So they asked that the container be taken to Kingtom Police Mess for thoroughly scrutiny instead of taking it to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) or the Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TOCU) at Hastings.

On that same day, almost all the top security officers including the military faded off, leaving the white 40ft container in the hands of the police with the Kingtom police mess gate closed.

The Police said that journalists should have press view of the content in the container on Monday. 

At about 8:45 am on Monday, we went to Kingtom but the door was tight fit; no civilian was given access.

We waited till 10am as proposed by Head of Police Media, Assistant Commissioner, Brima Kamara (Media One) but still nobody could talk to the press until the Minister of Information,Mohamed Rahman Swaray joined the press. He knocked at the door and one of the police officers opened the gate before all of use (press) rushed into the building. 

Within 30 minutes, the former IG Sovula came with a convoy, alighted and walked to the container. He called for the Fire Force, Ambulance and waited for National Revenue Autority(NRA), Office of National Security (ONS), CID officials and other military officers. 

There was just a small silver padlock on the container which was opened. 

Surprisingly, the container was not in fact having any seal for identification nor was the container full with gizzards but rather it was empty at the top. 

Police officers were called to help do the labor work; transfer of gizzards to another frozen container.

The container was offloaded for two days and nothing of police interest was found, so the police Media Director addressed the press and we departed.

I have never seen any half loaded container from other countriesto Africa including Sierra Leone. Why was this container not handed over to TOCU? Why was the then IG so instrumental in this container issue rather than his subordinate?

The I. G threatened us that we should all wait for experts to open the container but till the whole exercise was concluded I did not see any experts. 

To conclude, why until now the importer of the container is not known as the former IG said ‘we should not be interested in the importer as that is not important’.

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Njala Rusticates over 50 Students for Exam Malpractice

By Jonathan Hindolo Kurabu, D Catalyst

The Bo Campus administration of Njala University has rusticated over 50 students for engaging in various forms of examination malpractices during the First Semester Examinations.

Those rusticated and who are due to exit the shores of NjalaUniversity for one academic year, were studying different disciplines in the Schools of Education, Community Health Sciences and School of Social Sciences and Law.

Also, two female students formally (FK Kamara-Final Year, B Sc. Nursing and FJ Mallah-Second Year-SRN Upgrading) were expelled from the University for taking part in illegal admission syndicate.

The Campus Administration headed by Professor Mohamed Syed Fofanah has uncompromisingly waged war on all forms of examination malpractices.

The affected students were duly investigated consistent with principles of natural justices.

It could be recalled that in an effort to curb the menace of exam malpractices in both Kowama and Towama locations of Bo Campus, last year, 84 students were rusticated for a period of one year for their involvement in various forms of exam malpractices.

Meanwhile, members of the Public including a retired medical practitioner, John Kortu have lauded the Njala University Administration for this bold move describing it as an effort towards complementing the strides of the President Bio led Government in promoting the ideals of Quality Education.

“Examination malpractices appear to be a celebrated norm in most educational institutions, the Universities need to set firm precedents to jettison these awful celebrated occurrences” heopined.

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56 Children Admitted for Suspected Food Poisoning

Thursday’s situation report from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) states that 56 children are admitted at the Kenema District Hospital for suspected food poisoning.

It was reported on Wednesday that the victims (patients) attended a graduation ceremony party later on Tuesday where it was alleged that some ate cake, others ginger beer, and some just water. They started experiencing weakness few minutes later.

The SITREP from MOHS adds that 25 adults (male 4, female 21) are also admitted.

Most common presentations on admission: generalized weakness, unconsciousness, and convulsion. 

One reported death case from the community – Female, age 1 year 2 months. 22% of the cases are now fully conscious. 80 % of admitted cases have recovered from presenting conditions. 

Action taken and response 

• Activation of the RRT at district level

• Establishment of Treatment centre in the Government Hospital 

• Investigated reported cases and ongoing surveillance system to identify contact, identifying of more cases 

• Food samples collected from the community in party house 

• Blood and urine samples collected from the admitted patients and prepared to be transported to the reference laboratory in Freetown 

• Debriefing of Pillar and Press conference with DCMO Clinical and Hon. Deputy Minister of Health by 5 pm 27/07/2022 

• Further meeting with health partners to galvanize more support at district level 

• Radio program with media at 8 PM(Nyapui Radio with simulcast to Starline Radio Kamboi Radio and Radio Islam) Deputy Minister MOHS, DCMO Clinical, DMO, MS Kenema 

Future plan 

• Continuous investigation

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President Bio Chairs Special APR Forum

His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has presided over a special virtual summit, the second APR Forum of Heads of State and Government, that also discussed peer review efforts and unconstitutional changes in Africa.

“At a time when our continent is being buffeted by new winds of political instability, our commitment to the APRM is more than just a critical affirmation of our own agency and an endorsement of institutional building. It also demonstrates our resolve to address questions of unconstitutional changes of government, peaceful dissent, and free and fair elections.

“We are meeting today, virtually, to peer review the reports of the Republic of Kenya. I commend my brother President UhuruKenyatta for opening up his country to the review team from the APRM Continental Secretariat.

President Bio, who expressed his delight to participate, in his new capacity as Chairperson of the APR Forum of Heads of State and Government, noted that the continent was disproportionately affected by a conflict to which Africa was not a party, adding that the African Union’s position had been clear from the beginning that it would refuse to take sides but would encourage belligerents to negotiate with a view to ending a war that could have devastating ramifications way beyond the theatre of war.

“I am encouraged by the calls for peace made by my peers across the continent. I particularly want to commend the robust diplomatic initiative, spearheaded by the Chairperson of our African Union, His Excellency Macky Sall, to seek an amicable settlement and, therefore, attenuate the severe effects of the conflict on our continent.

“The APRM team analysed progress on the Big Four Agenda and other salient issues in Kenya. Additionally, it is also noteworthy that Kenya has conducted the most targeted reviews at once.

“From the growing number of targeted and country reviews undertaken by the APRM, I am heartened that there is an inflexible focus by African countries on accelerating progress towards the achievement of the goals and priority areas of our AU’s Agenda 2063. Indeed, there is a growing recognition that we can realise our continent’s big dreams and untapped potentials,” he noted.

In his statement, the Chief Executive Officer of the African Peer Review Mechanism, APRM Secretariat, Professor Edy Maloka, said he was happy to address the forum of African leaders and thanked President Bio, as Chairperson of the APR Forum, and the people of Sierra Leone for the warm welcome since they arrived Freetown for the hybrid summit.

He further went on to thank all Heads of State and Government of the Forum for the guidance and support provided to the APRM and for allowing the Special Summit to hold, including the discussions around the peer review of the Targeted Review Report of the Republic of Kenya on the Presidential Big 4 Agenda.

CEO Maloka recalled that the 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the AU raised concerns over the upsurge of unconstitutional changes of government on the continent, citing President Bio’s submission to his peers for the AGR-2023 to focus on those challenges.

He concluded by highlighting a few achievements of the APRM since its last summit, which among other things, were the preparation for the second review of Sierra Leone, training and capacity building for stakeholders in Sierra Leone, Namibia, Niger and Nigeria on developing implementable national progress of actions.

© State House Media and Communications Unit

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Afrimoney Partners with PowerGen

By Moses Kay Fembeh

Afrimoney last Friday signed a partnership agreement with PowerGen in relation to customers’ welfare and safety especially those who use Afrimoney to continue sending the digital money to their relatives and loved ones in the provinces and for those using PowerGen solar lights to subscribe for their relatives through payment with Afrimoney. 

Country Manager for PowerGen Sierra Leone, Hassan Suma thanked the Director of Afrimoney & team as well as the media for their continued efforts and for believing in partnership.

“PowerGen is a rural renewable energy. It’s based in the United States of America and also has headquarters in Kenya. We started our operation in Sierra Leone in 2018 and PowerGen has been a service provider to almost 3000 customers whom have benefitted from our services across the country”, he said.

CM Suma added: “Today is a historical day for PowerGenand Afrimoney which I believe would be recorded in history. We have signed twenty years contract agreement with the government of Sierra Leone, that means PowerGen and Afrimoney will enjoy a twenty-year partnership and it will even continue after our contract with the government of Sierra Leone ends. I can assure you that we will renew our partnership”.

He said PowerGen is publicly financed by DIVD. According to Barrie, they started their project under the rural renewable energy in the Southeast of Sierra Leone, adding that they have got 12000 households that are currently enjoying PowerGen. He mentioned towns like Tihun, Bo, Bonthe and other places in the Southeast. Suma promised that they are working to expand their operation to the Northern part of Sierra Leone.

He informed that they have the solar and the hybrid that charge light instantly. He ended by saying ‘wherever you see PowerGen say darkness bye bye’. 

Director of Afrimoney Sierra Leone, Martison Obeng-Agyeiacknowledged members of the fourth estate by saying they are very reliable partners, noting that whenever there is a partnership their desire is to work for the people of Sierra Leone. He said he believes in partnership and therefore, for them to serve the people of Sierra Leone they need willing partners as well so that they can collaborate well. He even quoted the book of Genesis chapter one where God said ‘let there be light and there was light’. “It means God himself hates darkness. So I am pleading to the people of Sierra Leone to help make this partnership a reality”, he said. 

“My brother here said PowerGen can now boast of having 12000 households. On that note, I believe that if six persons are living in a house, 3 to 4 people would use phone in that particular household and  by 2020 there were 3.3 mobile phones in Sierra Leone”, he lamented.

He assured the people of Sierra Leone that the partnership is not only for Afrimoney and PowerGen but for the people of Sierra Leone. 

He concluded by thanking the Country Manager of PowerGenand team and promised that Afrimoney will continue to be with them throughout their partnership.

Some people were curious to know if PowerGen facilities are available in Freetown but Mr Suma said they only operate in the provinces; the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) is in Freetown. He said their tariff system is cheaper for their customers in the interiors.

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Parliament Recorded an Increase in Absenteeism- IGR Report

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

A parliamentary scorecard released by Institute for Governance Reform (IGR) last week indicates that Sierra Leone Parliament recorded an increase in absenteeism of its members. The report reveals that nearly a quarter (24%) of Sierra Leone MPs (35) did not attend half of the 14 sittings between January and March 2022. This represents a 4% drop in attendance when compared to the last quarter of 2021 where 20% of MPs did not half of the sittings, according to the official attendance records published on the parliamentary website.

As stated in its maiden tracker, the purpose of monitoring MP performance is to increase legislators’ commitment to their representative duties and to strengthen the legislative process. According the scorecard, sitting should start at 10 a.m. and is mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, just as in the last quarter, Parliament rarely met on time, and we recorded an average late start of about 30 minutes for the quarter as the leadership waited to meet the 25%-member presence required to form a quorum. 

The report also points out that for January 2022 all the three sittings started on time (10am prompt). For February, all the sittings started at 10.40am on average. Average start time in March was 10.28am. 

THREE SITTINGS WITH THE HIGHEST ABSENTEEISM

• February 17th, 2022 – 88 MPs attended (58 MPs were absent) – 39.7%,

• March 15th, 2022 – 88 MPs attended (58 MPs were absent) – 39.7% 

• March 24th, 2022 – 88 MPs attended (58 MPs were absent) – 39.7%.

MONITORING PERFORMANCE OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES 

IGR also monitors the performance of the Parliamentary Committee and earlier this year, released a report on the enforcement of recommendations of the annual audit report of GoSL. In total, 2,655 audit recommendations were produced by the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and local councils for the period covering – 2015-2020. Only 38% of audit recommendations were enforced by MPs in the six years. The Committees on Transport and Aviation (60%); Foreign Affairs (46%); Public Works and Assets (45%); and Sports (45%) were high on enforcement of audit recommendations

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MRCG Welcomes Actions of the Security Sector to Ensure Safety of Journalists

MRCG Boss, Dr. Francis Sowa

By MRCG Secretariat

The Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) welcomes the Ministry of Defence (MOD) investigation into the allegations concerning the attack of journalist Maada Jessie Jengo of the Voice of Peace and Development (VOPAD) radio by soldiers of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF). 

In a press release issued on 8 July 2022, the Office of the Directorate of Defence, Public Relations and Information states that “the MOD regrets the unfortunate occurrence which does not represent the RSLAF core values of good discipline and selfless service.” The MOD notes that its attention was drawn to the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) press release of 4 July 2022 reporting the alleged assault of the journalist.  The MOD release notes that “the soldiers have been identified and an investigation into the allegations is ongoing in accordance with military procedures.” The MOD assured SLAJ of RSLAF’s commitment for mutual cooperation and cordial relationship in the discharge of their duties.

Meanwhile, the MRCG also welcomes the move by the Clerk of Sierra Leone’s Parliament to constitute a committee to investigate an alleged ‘physical assault’ on journalist AbdulaiGbla and make recommendations. The MRCG is also delighted that even before the committee commences investigation, the Clerk of Parliament according to a press release issued by SLAJ had apologized to Mr. Gbla. The MRCG in its monthly Media Freedom Review has been following the matter. Abdulai Gbla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gbla TV Online on 28 June 2022 wrote a letter of complaint to the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) regarding an alleged ‘physical assault’ on him by a Member of Parliament (MP), Hon. Abdul Muniru Lansana of Constituency 121. Hon. Abdul Muniru Lansana in response told the MRCG that he ‘did not assault’ the journalist as he had alleged, but rather ‘hit his phone to stop filming the incident’ after he had previously asked the journalists not to film since the parliamentary sitting had been adjourned. 

The MRCG commends the actions of the MOD and the Sierra Leone Parliament to investigate the matters, and looks forward to speedy investigations. It particularly notes the interventions of SLAJ into the matters and views the steps taken by the institutions as indicative of the fact that the culture of impunity is no longer tolerated in a democratic society like Sierra Leone where the rule of must prevail.

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Press Attachés Donate TV to SLAJ

Members of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) currently serving as Press Attachés at the various Sierra Leone diplomatic missions on Wednesday 13th July 2022 donated a 55 inches Smart Plasma Television to the Association.

The TV was handed over to the President of SLAJ and a cross section of the Executive by Festus J. Lahai and Ishmael Bayoh on behalf of the team.

“When we learnt about the burglary at the SLAJ Headquarters in May this year we felt compelled to pool resources to replace some of the items stolen. This 55 inches Plasma TV is the result of our coming together to give back to SLAJ. We hope it would be useful for the smooth running of the Secretariat,” said Ishmael Bayoh on behalf of his colleagues.

Receiving the donation with apparent delight, SLAJ President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, thanked the Press attaches for what he described as a ‘kind and thoughtful gesture’, and said the donation was timely.

“Just moments ago before you came we had summoned our colleague Mohamed Murtala Kamara to discuss how we could upgrade the Harry Yansaneh Memorial Hall with appliances that will enhance virtual and conference meetings to ensure increase participation of our membership on the one hand, and to increase the value of the hall on the other hand. We asked Murtala to include a bigger TV as part of the items required, and now we have this. Thank you so much colleagues and may God bless you all for coming together to do this for SLAJ,” said Nasralla.

He continued: “This is exactly the ideology of SALT, every member must contribute to the development of SLAJ. Give back whatever you can afford: your time, your talent, your knowledge, your skills, your resources…and make SLAJ great. When SLAJ is great and powerful, we are all covered in that glory.”

Below are the names of the contributors:

1. Rachael Monjama Horner- USA;

2. Sheku Tanga- Nigeria; 

3. Abu Bakarr Bah- Saudi Arabia;  

4. Ishmael Bayoh- Senegal;

5. Mohamed Sheriff- Switzerland;

6. Princetta Christiana Williams- Ghana;

7. Hawa Tucker- Turkey; 

8. Elizabeth Blango- Iran;

9. Betty Milton- Belgium;

10. Mohamed Massquoi- UAE; and

11. Amb. Festus J Lahai- Russia.

-SLAJ Secretariat

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IGR Launches Quarterly Economic Update

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

The Institute for Governance Reform (IGR) last week launched its Quarterly Economic Update Report at its Spur Road office in Freetown.  

The Update highlights quarterly trends of the Sierra Leone economy. It brings out recent financial and economic indicators to inform policymakers and citizens. This current Update focuses on the last quarter of 2021.

Speaking on inflation and monetary policy, IGR’s Senior Economist, Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganawah said the national year-on-year inflation for October 2021 stood at 14.55 percent, indicating an upward swing compared to 11.63 percent in September. He said by November, inflation jumped to 15.77 percent demonstrating a continued increase in the price of basic goods and services. “The last quarter of 2021 saw inflation continue to surge by an additional 2.15 percent, reaching its highest level across 2021 at 17.94% in December”, he added. 

Money supply 

The report states that the trend in money supply throughout the last quarter was expansive. Broad money (M2) increased through the period expanding by about 9.56% between November and December. This was mainly a result of an increase in the net foreign assets during the period being reviewed. Narrow Money (M1) increased during the same period at an increasing rate. In November, M1 grew by about 7.37% whilst the growth was about 10.32% at the end of the quarter. This expansion was attributed to the rise in demand deposits and currency in circulation. 

According to Mr. Ganawah, they noticed a shortage of Leones in circulation throughout the last quarter which was also confirmed by an announcement made by the Bank Governor of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone. “But in December sufficient supply of currency was circulated after the central bank printed money to mitigate monetary pressures”.

Interest rate 

The Senior Economist said in Sierra Leone, interest rate decisions are taken by the Bank of Sierra Leone’s Monetary Policy Committee, noting that the BSL’s official interest rate is the monetary policy rate. He pointed out that the policy rates for October, November, and December ranged from 14 to 14.25 percent, adding that the interbank rates for October, November, and December were 14.41 percent, 14.77 percent, and 15.01 percent respectively. “The average 1 interest rate on saving deposits dropped from 2.27% recorded at the beginning of the fourth quarter to 2.15% where it remained until the close of the quarter. The prime lending rate of 19.03 percent remained fixed throughout the fourth quarter”, he said. 

Exchange Rates 

On the Exchange Rates, IGR’s Senior Economist, Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganawah mentioned that the Leone depreciated against the US Dollar (USD) and British Pound (GBP) throughout the period under review. He said at the end of the quarter, the parallel exchange rate of the Leone against the USD showed the highest depreciation (2.72% and 3.54%) for both buying and selling rates. The official exchange rate of the Leone against the USD showed depreciation of the Leone from October through to December in terms of both buying and selling rates

Redenomination 

According to the Central Bank Governor Professor Kelfala M. Kallon, “our current currency is too big to fit into a wallet and we spend too much money printing oversized banknotes.”According to Senior Economist Ganawah: “The implication is that transaction costs are too high, and there is a need to redenominate the Leone. The removal of the three zeros from the currency will not affect its real value. A redenomination is an auxiliary tool for improving the economy, providing the Central Bank with monetary tools to smooth out the effects of the crisis and chronic hyperinflation. Its task is to restore confidence in the national currency, simplify settlements and take control of shadow money. 

Central Bank Governor Kallon stated that the new currency notes will reduce transaction costs as well as provide a “psychological boost to the citizens”. The effect of the currency redenomination will be felt by everyone irrespective of their financial status or earning power.

IGR’s Analysis 

Below, IGR provides brief analyses of various sectors of the economy, vis à vis government policy and programmes that seek to promote economic growth and raise the social standards across the country. 

Road Infrastructure 

Investing in road infrastructure projects is a significant part of the government’s development agenda. The government allocated Le 85 Billion or 4% of non-salary, non-interest expenditure (NSNIE) to the Works and Infrastructure sector of the economy. As one of the primary means of financing these projects, government borrowing has increased and thus continued to put upward pressure on interest rates. The fourth quarter saw a jump in the annual yield of various securities. Financing long-term infrastructure continues to be a challenge for the government. The capital market is gradually developing but yet to reach a stage where it could provide other types of borrowing instruments to facilitate alternative means of project financing. Also, the Ministry of Works and Public Assets has been allocated Le12.3 billion to repair and provide general maintenance of existing government buildings.

Agriculture 

The government continues to promote the agriculture sector and allocated Le103 billion, about 7% of non-salary, non-interest expenditure (NSNIE) was allocated to this sector. 

Sierra Leone’s excessive dependence on imported food items makes it vulnerable to external shocks. The price of the nation’s staple food, rice, continues to increase, a reflection of world market prices. Measures were put in place earlier in the year to increase domestic rice production. Whether this will yield tangible results is not certain. However, to prevent consumers from having to bear the burden of expensive imported goods, the government should encourage citizens to consume what is produced locally. To ensure that this is effective, measures should be taken so that domestically-produced food items are of high quality so that they become substitutes for imported products. 

It was agreed in the Maputo declaration that for African economies to meet the target of halving poverty and food insecurity by 2015, all African countries should ensure that their national fiscal allocation to the agriculture sector is not less than 10%. Sierra Leone is making strides towards this goal. 

With all these allocations over the years Sierra Leone remains far behind in meeting national food self-sufficiency targets. Government is spending over $200 million alone on just rice importation according to the Bank of Sierra Leone. This exerts significant pressure on the US dollar and hence leads to the depreciation of the Leone as against the US dollar as well as rising inflation.

Government 2022 Fiscal Budget 

The government’s allocation for the 2022 financial year was read during the course of the last quarter of 2021. The key highlights of the FY2022 fiscal allocation are focused on human capital development, economic diversification, infrastructure and economic competitiveness, governance, empowering women, children and persons living with disability, youth employment and sports as well as vulnerabilities to climate change and building resilience. We note that for government to meet all or the greater part of its stated priorities in the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP), revenue mobilization (improving domestic revenue collection), addressing strategic vulnerabilities and building resilience in concert with stringent public financial management practices will have to become a top priority. Hence, the composition and allocation of government’s expenditure for the 2022 financial year reflects these identified priority areas.

Conclusion 

The report concludes by stating that the overall assessment of the last quarter for 2021 demonstrates incremental improvements, but there are a number of political and social challenges that impede growth. It says financing long-term investments remains a national challenge as spending on infrastructure projects continues to exert pressures on interest rates as government borrowing increases. It further notes that Covid-19 remains a significant threat to the economic growth of the country. Another major threat to economic growth and development, the report highlights, is the incremental increases in the global prices of oil and other basic goods and services. It ends by mentioning that the reduction in the price of key exportable minerals on the international market could also significantly impact revenue mobilization to the point of impeding capital investments.

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Information Minister Hosts Smart Africa Director General

By Zachariah Jalloh – Strat Comm – MIC

Director General and Chief Executive Officer of Smart Africa, Mr. Lacina Kone has paid the Minister of Information and Communications Mr Mohamed Rahman Swaray an official visit, to discuss areas for investment in Sierra Leone’s digitalization drive.

The meeting, which was hosted in the Minister’s Youyibuilding office on Wednesday 13th July 2022, was also witnessed by the Deputy Minister of information and Communications, Solomon Jamiru Esq. and other senior IT staff of the Ministry.

Addressing the Minister, Mr. Lacina Kone thanked the Minister for the warm welcome and discussed the continued partnership between Smart Africa and the Ministry. He spoke about digital identity, digital academy and the interconnectivity between Sierra Leone and Guinea which is coming back through Smart Africa. In addition, he expressed his fears about the phenomenon of individuals with phone numbers but can’t be identified and urged the need for thorough digital identification. 

“Digital skills will reduce unemployment and ICT has the potential to employ a huge amount of unemployed youths if they are trained and capacitated digitally” he said.

Mr. Kone revealed that as the Director General of smart Africa, he oversees the process of defining and advancing Africa’s digital agenda and has overseen the development of continental blueprints for Africa on Digital identity, ICT start- ups and innovation Ecosystems, Smart villages, and the definition of Africa’s Smart Broadband 2025 Strategy.

In response, Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, expressed his delight in having him in the country to discuss how they can create a synergy with Smart Africa to build resilient digital systems that will improve governance and other social service delivery, while emphasizing Government’s profound commitment to making the country part of the digital world.

Mr. Swaray also spoke about the $50million World Bank Project, which will be rolled out in the coming months and noted that there are components in the Project that the Ministry will work with Smart Africa to achieve.

The Minister was happy to hear about the Digital Academy through Smart Africa which empowers youths to learn digital skills and prepare them for the global digital Transformation.

“This is one of the areas I see the marriage with your efforts and that of World Bank because with the digital academy, I don’t see how we can implement the digital skills training in silos” he said.

In wrapping up the engagement, Minister Rahman Swaray assured the Director General of their continued partnership in developing and advancing the digital aspiration of Sierra Leone.

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Day Break Column

Youths as agency in politics: can we blame the youths of Sierra Leone?

Saidu Bangura, PhD.  

A discussion of youths and/in politics is as controversial a topic as the allusion I have made in the title that youths are agency in politics. Agency as used in this context should be understood to mean “instrumental” given the role youths play or the roles they are made to play in politics. However, when we consider the question “can we blame the youths of Sierra Leone?”, two old but pertinent songs come to mind: Peter Tosh’s “Can’t Blame the Youths” and Musical Youth’s “The Youth of Today”. While both songs may not have been writtento have any political undertones as we may want to imagine or interpret them, some aspects of the lyrics can be juxtaposed to give us an interesting reading in this article, especially as they pertain to how we should perceive youths in society or how they should perceive themselves.  

Peter Tosh’s “Can’t Blame the Youths” opens with a strong but contentious caution “you can’t blame the youths; you can’t fool the youths” whereas Musical Youth’s “The Youth of Today” opens with a straightforward and categorical message: “don’t blame the youth … don’t take us for fools”. When we put both choruses into perspective, the songs seem to tell us the prevailing conditions of the youths in society have nothing to do with them, but what their polities want them to be or how their societies condition them to be. While I do not intend to critique both songs, I equally will not make any critical interpretations here. Rather, some aspects of the lyrics of the songs will be used to make my case in this article. To do so, I may have to pick a few things from the songs and see how they rhyme with the political reality of Sierra Leone and how the youths of our country are consequently impacted by the politics of the day. 

For 61 years now, successive political parties and individual politicians in Sierra Leone have used the youths as agency to launch, promote and champion their political careers, and maintain their grip on political power and the consequent assault on our resources given the politicians’ easy access to the youths and the latter’s prompt willingness to propel the former to Parliament and State House. While the youths may not (have) be(en) aware of how politicians have been “robbing”, “raping”, “kidnapping” and “killing” their future (echoing Peter Tosh) even before the politicians assume their respective offices, and considering the continued and constant “brainwashing” of the youths in Sierra Leone by politicians, my goal in this article is to reflect on how the Sierra Leonean youths have been used, abused, misused, refused, un(der)represented, misrepresented and abandoned by the political parties and politicians in Sierra Leone for the latter’s selfish political gains and that of their associates.    

Considering the sociopolitical and economic milieu in which the African youths were (are) born into, and raised, and consequently survive through, the Sierra Leonean youths inclusive, we learn in Jon Abbink’s article “Being Young in Africa: the politics of despair and renewal” that the African young (wo)man faces a lot of odds and challenges and has no control over her/his future. While some African countries may have made progress in areas such as education that leads to a gainful technical career pathway immediately after secondary school, youth entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for university graduates, access to improved health care facilities, access to a sustainable livelihood and housing for young families, and the creation and promotion of an enabling environment for private businesses to thrive, and, hence, the creation of jobs for the youths, can we say the same for Sierra Leone? 

The continued economic challenges faced by the parents and older relatives of these young (wo)men who could have guided them into a profitable professional path, the unavailability of technical training facilities and institutions for these young people to learn trades that will lead them to becoming self-employed and self-sufficient, their permanently being relegated to unemployment and poverty taking into account the lack of production industries except the few extractive ones, their subsequent exclusion and marginalization from mainstream society unless when needed by rogue politicians, has made many youths to see prostitution as a way to survive, drug addiction as an escape route, the 24/7 laid-back spending time attitude mostly at Ataya Bases, and their relentless following of politicians and other “Big Men” for pittances to execute their political and other errands while they continue poor and destitute. Can this be a result of their hopelessness in laying their hands on something tangibly profitable or is it due to bad politics practiced by our politicians and the culture of dependency installed and maintained for decades?    

Do we blame the youths, or do we blame the politicians for the predicament of the youths? 

The answer to the above question takes us back to the words of the choruses of Peter Tosh’s song: “you can’t blame the youths; you can’t fool the youths” and that of Musical Youth’s “don’t blame the youth … don’t take us for fools”. Or can we (not)? The binary opposition in the words of the chorus of Peter Tosh’s song, “you can’t blame the youths” on the one hand, and “you can’t fool the youths” on the other, introduces us to the linguistic and political dialectics of where and on whom to cast the blame for the predicament of the youths: the fault is not theirs and you can’t make it theirs. Musical Youth’s no-nonsense direct message “don’t blame the youth … don’t take us for fools” is as clear as crystal: we are not responsible for our dilemma; we know where our problems emanate, and we know who to blame. Is it their fault or are they victims of the societies and political dispensations they were born, raised, and live in? Is it the politicians’ fault in not implementing programmes or creating opportunities that benefit the youths or are the youths not ambitious enough to task the politicians to deliver services that benefit the people, particularly the youths, the future of the nation, they govern? 

While we may want to say politicians have been arrogating for themselves and their families and immediate allies all the resources of the state at the detriment of the entire nation, especially these vulnerable young (wo)men who are mostly used for electioneering purposes and abandoned immediately after that process, are the youths themselves not responsible for their conditions? The culture of dependency on the affluent cultivated and cared for by the politicians and other prominent citizens has made many people, especially the young (wo)men who are in the majority, not to be too concerned that time wasted is never regained or to aspire for a better future for themselves. 

The instrumentalization of the youths by politicians due to the former’s socioeconomic vulnerability and their lack of a sustainable means of sustenance, livelihood, and economic engagement and independence, makes one wonder: why do people go into politics? Do they go into politics to serve the people and their communities and consequently the country as a whole or do they go into politics to serve themselves? The answer to these questions depends on where you find yourself, and probably how you perceive politics and political participation. 

If the youths constitute agency in politics or are instrumental in the election of who govern them, then those who govern owe the youths a huge responsibility. On this note, Musical Youth’s resounding statement that “The youth of today has got lots to say/It’s our life, it’s our future/Because we’re living today/So don’t blame the youth” becomes so relevant for the youths of Sierra Leone as for the UK youths then that the song may have been made for. 

Inasmuch as we may want to apportion blames on the youths for their plight in Sierra Leone, and much as we must encourage them to own their responsibilities, we must consider the following: (a) what existing national, regional, district, town, and community level programmes are there to remove our young (wo)men from their current socioeconomic predicament? (b) what is the income level of the older family members of these young (wo)men? (c) what is the educational level or what do the parents/guardians of these young (wo)men do? (d) where do these young (wo)men come from, where do they currently live and how do they earn their living? (e) are they in conflict with the law and if so which area(s)? (f) what do they aspire or want to do in life? and (g) how and where do they spend the day? These questions and many more like them should be on the minds of current and aspiring politicians if we are to build a nation that cares for its future. Today’s youths are tomorrow’s politicians, law enforcement officers, teachers, nurses, and other state functionaries. 

As I have written in some other articles, our politicians are selfish. The politics of Sierra Leone is about them and their cronies and immediate family members. Our Parliament is a theatre of dramatic monologues and political party soliloquies. The problems of the country are not part of the order of their discussions. Our MPs are actors whose scripts contain bills that benefit only them and their political parties. There was no controversy over the Welfare Bill for Parliamentarians (Parliamentary Act 2022), which was for the benefit of the entire membership of Parliament, but for others that present political disadvantage or advantage to one side of the aisle or the other, the petulant bickering is unending (the case of the Proposed Public Elections Act 2022). The basic needs of the people are never discussed in parliament because they are very much unconcern about the future of the people they claim to represent, especially these young (wo)men that they instrumentalise before and during political campaigns, and consequently abandon them after elections, and whose aspirations and future are never discussed in parliament. 

Until our politicians understand that one goes into politics to serve the country and its people and not to get rich, and to prepare the present generation to take after them irrespective of their socioeconomic background and political affiliations, the responsibility of our young (wo)men is on them. Until our politicians understand that they need to have tangible programmes that are executable so that today’s youths can be well prepared for tomorrow’s challenges, the future of our country is bleak. Until our politicians understand that siphoning off our resources for their personal benefits and that of their immediate families and cronies is a disservice and a threat to the sustainability and peace of Sierra Leone, these young (wo)men that are neglected today and whose future is not a concern, will be tomorrow’s aching challenges.

For the 2023 municipal and town council, parliamentary and presidential elections, I would love to see a serene but politically challenging and active youth; a youth that will tell the politicians to bring their children and other family members in their campaign trail; a youth that will ask politicians what programmes they have for their communities and the future of the nation, especially the future of their group – the youths; a youth that will refuse to accept drugs and alcoholic drinks, T-shirts and peanuts to campaign for people that will abandon them immediately after the results are announced; a vigilant youth that will discourage politicians from buying their way to political offices; a youth that will ask critical questions about how and why the country has been mis-governed for 61 years by two political parties, and how it will be governed for the next five years; a youth that will be more concerned about the future of the country, and less so about the religion and sex of the candidates, or the ethnolinguistic group and region a candidate hails from; a youth that will put the future of the country first, second, third, fourth and fifth and hence tell the politicians that the future of the country is at stake and it is their biggest concern; a youth that will not fight other youths for politicians or for political parties, but will engage themselves in civility and camaraderie as they challenge politicians for the future of Sierra Leone.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Citizens Manifesto Report Launched

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

The Institute for Governance Reform (IGR) together with the Review Committee of the Citizens’ Manifesto (CM) Steering Committee on Thursday 7th July, 2022 launched the Assessment Report on the Citizens’ Manifesto in order to develop citizens’ capacities as decision-makers in selecting the type of leader they wish to elect and to make political leadership more responsible through persistent dialogues between citizens and political leaders.

The ceremony which took place at the New Brookfield’s Hotel in Freetown brought together Steering Committee members including Civil Society groups and the media to discuss the report. 

According to the Executive Director of IGR, Andrew Lavali,the idea of a Citizens’ Manifesto (CM) is to place citizens at the forefront of shaping a democratic and accountable political system in Sierra Leone. “The initiative is a collaborative action of several established civil society agencies, media outlets, and formal and informal institutions that are dedicated to improving good governance in Sierra Leone”, he added.

Mr. Lavali continued: “In November 2017 when the country was preparing to hold its presidential and parliamentary elections in March 2018, there was a tense political atmosphere between the two major political parties, the APC and the SLPP, and a vibrant presidential flagbearer from the NGC party. The Citizens’ Manifesto initiative intended to shift the growing tension in politics to policy-driven discussions by helping voters better understand the value of their votes rather than simply relying upon self-serving politicians, hence, the “My Vote, My Life” catchphrase. 

“As the nation is now preparing for its upcoming June 2023 elections, the general political discourse is bordering largely on “ethno-regional politics, hate messages spread via social media, especially from those who reside abroad and send abusive and incendiary messages into the country, and intimidation of dissenting voices by “security personnel”. These unpleasant developments have potentially devastating consequences on the country’s democratic consolidation process.

Making her presentation, IGR’s Governance Expert Emmanuella E. Sandy mentioned that the review process looks at the commitment made by political parties/candidates during the Launch of the CM. “It assesses the extent to which issues raised by citizens were adopted into party manifestos and/or policies leading up to and after the March 2018 general election. It also provides an assessment of the incumbent’s uptake of citizens’ demands in the first year of administration. Seven issues were identified in the 2017 CM; these issues have been reviewed to highlight the progress made, as well as to make recommendations for robust advocacy efforts and monitoring of the indicators”, the Governance Expert noted. 

Emmanuella Sandy

She further outlined the key contents in the report: “The seven issues in the CM are Asset declaration, Women’s political representation, Youth political representation, Representation of persons with disabilities (PWDs), Citizens’ shares in mining and agricultural investments, Transparency in campaign financing, and Commitment to the following targets in the first year of the winning (incumbent) administration. These targets are the right to food, housing, health, education, and a national cohesion policy to unify the nation, 20% of national revenue allocated for education, 20% of domestic revenue allocated for health, repeal of the criminal libel law, and the execution of programs to save the environment.

“The Review process further aims at revisiting the intent of strengthening citizens’ capacities as decision-makers in choosing the type of leader they seek to elect and making political leadership more accountable through sustained dialogues between citizens and political leaders. The objective or goal is that through this process a people-centered political system and leadership that is responsive to citizens’ priorities would emerge”.

Speaking on the methodology, Mrs. Sandy pointed out that the review process is in two parts; the first six issues identified within the CM have to do with the commitments of the 2017 presidential candidates, saying it looks at the uptake of the indicators by the candidates while the second aspect concentrates on the seventh indicator, which has six sub-indicators that comprise the incumbent’s uptake on the commitment to the sub-issues. 

“Generally, uptake of the CM by the presidential candidates was minimal. The commitments from political parties/candidates are gauged by party manifestos as well as policies/laws that have been enacted by the incumbent that speak to the seventh indicator. The latter has achieved some progress, although some of the achievements were not accomplished within the first year of administration as prescribed in the CM. Additionally, some issues were not achieved as citizens requested”, she stated. 

She concluded by saying that there is a need for continuous advocacy campaigns on identified CM indicators after every election, maintaining that asset declaration is an approach that seeks to minimize corruption in a nation that routinely scores high on corruption indices over the years by anchoring the issue of ethics and integrity to the political class. “Hopefully, the next district consultation captures and expounds on this so that CSOs can design a robust campaign on Assert Declaration”.

The report was launched by Josephus Ellie, Governance Advisor of Irish Aid SL.

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Ernest Koroma Attends High Level Meetings in Zambia & Tanzania

Former President of Sierra Leone, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Wednesday 13 July 2022, departed Freetown for Lusaka, Zambia. He will be attending the Advisory Board meeting of the Brenthurst Foundation scheduled for 14th to 16th July 2022. 

The Brenthurst Foundation is a think tank with “a focus to attract the investment needed for continental regeneration and prosperity.” Therefore, President Koroma will join other leaders, diplomats, policy experts who make up the Advisory Board from across the continent, to continue deliberations on development and investment in Africa. 

While in Zambia, the Foundation will pay a courtesy call on host President Hakainde Hichilema.

From Zambia, the former Sierra Leonean leader will proceed to Arusha, Tanzania. There, he will deliver the keynote address at the Africa Drive for Democracy Conference slated for the 20th to 22nd July 2022. Under the aegis of the Strategic Litigation, MS Training Center for Development Cooperation and the Institute Security Studies, the conference brings together participants from over thirty countries to renew commitments on the promotion of democracy viz a vizthe guaranteeing of a safe space for democracy activists, as well as to share experiences on the trends on the rapid decline of democracy in Africa. 

President Ernest Bai Koroma will be sharing his rich experience in building peace and democracy in Sierra Leone, as well as the ECOWAS sub region. As the organizers put it: “we would like your Excellency to reflect on your experience in Sierra Leone and what lessons could be replicated in the continent.  Based on these reflections, for your Excellency to discuss the role of civil society on the continent (notwithstanding all its limitations) in the democratization process…”               

The former President will return to Sierra Leone on July 24 2022.

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As Parliament Swears in New MPs

APC Regains Majority with 59 Seats 

Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Paran Tarawallie on Wednesday sworn in Jawah Sesay of the All People’s Congress as Member of Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

The ceremony took place during parliamentary sitting where MPs of the main opposition APC celebrated, chanting their party song.

Jawah was elected MP on 25th June during a parliamentary bye-election in Constituency 056, Tonkolili District, NorthernSierra Leone. 

Jawah polled 5,487 votes. Being the highest number of valid votes cast, was duly elected Member of Parliament for Constituency 056 in the Tonkolili District.

According to the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone, seventy (70) polling station results were entered into the result database, representing 100% of all polling stations in the Constituency.

It says the voter turnout was 10,417 out of a voter register of 20,581; giving a percentage turnout of 50.6%. The total number of valid votes cast was 9,675. There were 742 invalid votes, representing 7.1% of total votes cast.

Welcoming the New MP to the House, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Chernor Bah thanked the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) for conducting a free and fair election. “I call on all citizens to support NEC. We should not put ECSL under any undue pressure. I want to congratulate the new MP”.

Leader of Government Business, Hon Matthew Nyuma:”I call on the new MP to always make use of the Standing Orders. I congratulate you. I am happy the opposition is commending ECSL.

Speaker, Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu also commended ECSL. “The ECSL is doing well. You MPs should all thank them. Continue to do what is right and proper in accordance with the laws of our land. Thank you for a job well done”, he said.

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WAEC Witholds 59 NPSE Results

Basic Education Minister, David M. Sengeh

Government of Sierra Leone on Monday released to the public the 2022 National Primary School Examination (NPSE) results. According to the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, this is the earliest release date in the last decade. “This matters because it gives parents and families enough time to help their children and wards prepare for the new school year. When families and children prepare, they perform better”, he noted.

He said hard copies of result packages are being prepared now for distribution to all schools that entered candidates. “Simultaneously, soft copy versions will be soon made available on the Government Service Delivery platform developed by the Directorate of Science Technology and Innovation. The free SMS Result Checker mean that in addition to families not paying for school and exams fees; they shouldn’t have to pay to also know the result of their wards, thanks to His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio’s commitment to Free Quality School Education. 

“162,068 candidates entered the exam. That is 79,617 (49.1%) boys and 82,451 (50.9%) girls. 421 of these students are Sierra Leoneans in Guinea. For a third year running, this is the highest number of students ever registered for this exam. Candidates sitting the exam numbered 161,797 – that is 79,477 (49.1%) boys and 82,320 (50.9%) girls.

“We have so far received results for 4,635 primary schools, 23 of which were in Guinea. 59 results are currently being with-held due to some form of irregularity that have been detected and reported by West African Examination Council (WAEC). These irregularities range from impersonation to carrying foreign material into an examination room to collusion to entering the exam under false pretences. WAEC expects that the committee which takes final decision on this matter will meet in September. Our government will continue to crack down heavily on examination malpractice until we can fully sanitize our system.

“I should use this moment to state that it is not right that students from classes 4 and 5 continue to attempt these exams. Quality education is much broader than one’s performance in an examination and that is why we have developed new curriculum to strengthen the foundational skills of our students during pre-school and 6 years of primary education. 

“This year, from the 162,068, 131,433 candidates, comprising 65,152 boys and 66,281 girls, passed the NPSE in 2022. These are candidates whose aggregate scores were on or above the cut-off score of 230 stipulated by the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education. 

“The total number of passes corresponds to an overall pass rate of 81.2%. This is a 4.2% improvement from the overall pass rate in 2021 which was 77.0%. 

“Regionally, the best performances were North, followed by South and Eastern Region and the top five best performing Districts are Falaba, Bonthe, Koinadugu, Kenema and Bombali respectively. The top 2 districts had over 90% pass rates.

“It is also worth noting that 10 districts, that is: Bonthe, Koinadugu, Kambia, Bo, Kono, Moyamba, Tonkolili, Western Rural, Port Loko and Karene had higher pass rates this year than last year. These districts are moving in the right direction and are worth commending. 

“At the school level, 1,071 out of 4,635 schools (23%) had 100% pass rates; that is, all their candidates who attempted the examinations passed. This is an increase from the 20% of schools that had 100% pass rates in 2021. Apart from the Western Area, all other regions and Guinea had more schools getting pass rates of 100% this year than last year. 

“Disappointingly, 114 schools across the country had zero percent pass rates. The Teaching Service Commission is already working with such under-performing schools and additional support is planned but as it usually happens, heads of schools with zero percent pass rates, accompanied by their proprietors, School Management Committee Chairpersons and District Deputy Directors of Education will be invited to explain the cause of the poor performance and to help map out actions to improve learning and performance in the affected schools. As a government, we have also started the implementation of Performance Based Financing across primary schools and will roll out an USD 18 million Education Outcomes Fund in September to continue improving quality of learning and teaching. 

The top performing schools nationwide based on the average aggregate scores of all their candidates are: 

1. Tutorial Centre for Academic Excellence Primary, Talent Town, Makeni

2. Hillside School of Excellence, Freetown 

3. Edna Primary, Circular Road, Freetown 

4. Mereweather Preparatory School, Freetown, and 

5. Rising Academy Primary. Calaba Town 

Now for the best three individual performances nationwide

Tied for 2nd place with an aggregate T-score of 334 are 

● Nesralla, Tyra, School Leone Preparatory Primary School and 

● Sesay, Angella J. M., from The International School Ltd. 

And with a score of 337, our best candidate from The International School Ltd. is 

● Pabs-Garnon, Lorraine M. 

The Minister continued: “The 2022 NPSE was the first national school examination conducted during the post-CoVID recovery period. Public concern about the integrity of national school examinations meant that the stricter measures adopted since 2020 continued. This initial analysis of performance suggests that the impact of exams irregularity on results was negligible. 

“Performance in the 2022 NPSE suggests that candidates are being better prepared by our schools. I would like to thank the excellent work of our committed teachers. We are grateful that just last month, together with the Sierra Leone Teachers Union, we negotiated a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with much improved conditions of service for teachers. 

“As a country, we must continue with our progress. The performances of districts from economically poor and rural regions are encouraging. More girls attempted and passed the exam and the national pass rate of 81.2% is the highest ever. Congratulations to the people of Sierra Leone. 

“The national office of WAEC deserves a big congratulation for getting scripts processed, marked and released to the MBSSE the earliest in over a decade. WAEC continues to be a good partner to us. Thanks also go to the examiners who worked really hard to complete the marking of scripts in a timely manner. 

“I cannot end without congratulating the students and families who worked tremendously hard during the 2021/2022 academic year ignoring all the distraction that were taking place around the world. It is our hope that the improvements that we have noted over the last few years will continue and that performance in 2023 will be even better than this year’s. Let’s keep transforming education”.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

UNSPOKEN

Author Rahima

Alas! This journey we traverse
We meet as saint and sinners in the universe
The hero and the villain, mute they are. Not a word each to other, The silence of a man, is his loudest voice.
Trouble sunk deep into our minds and with our thoughts, we dined.
Yet, our eyes still look for ways to see the unspoken messages of the heart.

Lightening blast through the palm trees. No horse to carry the king of Judah. In Freetown, you give an eye to be free. If he feeds the creatures in the air be assured to leave tomorrow to him. Unhesitant man will climb through thorns but his love is given over adequately. A burden to lay at his feet with a promise that he will never leave nor forsake us. Yet, our nose still find ways to breathe in the unspoken messages of the heart.


The shorter route they say we should avoid.
Who wants to travail this path forever when enemies deploy.
Soon darkness engulfs, owners of the dusk will throw festivity, night watchers, as hill heave their shades not a solitary light to incorporate all in.
Angels and demons keep wake together we believe.
Yet, our ears still listen for ways to hear the unspoken messages of the heart.



In thoughtlessness, we are left.
The dilemma of life, the road not taken
Deep regrets and buried confusion of
Sheer thoughts, no love lust within thy self awakens.
Emphasis on vain things, moonbeam sliced through from enviable dividend.
Yet, our mouths continue to search for ways to speak the unspoken messages of the heart.



Ignoring every commandment in the wise book.
Obedience is better than sacrifice. half a night of golden past. Covered in larvae a feast on the carcass.
Can the sons of men distressed God? waste the longest time in forte with defiance we portray.
Yet! our hands continue to touch for ways to feel the unspoken messages of the heart.

©By Rahima Vandy Kargbo otherwise known as dasalonetiti-Rahima

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

International Community Present Bye-elections Report to ECSL

It’s mandatory for observers to give reports after observing elections. Therefore, representatives of the European Union, Ireland, Britain, and the US Ambassador met with Commissioners of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) to give feedback on their observation of the Parliamentary and Local Council bye-elections held on Saturday 25th June, 2022.

They congratulated the Commission for conducting free, fair and credible elections and that the results were acceptable by the people.

They gave feedback on the following: The high number of invalid votes, high security presence, the professional performance of the ECSL staff, and the integrity of the staff.

The Chief Electoral Commissioner, Mohamed K. Konneh said the Commission has always been and will continue to conductfree, fair and transparent elections.

Other Commissioners expressed their satisfaction at the formal report of the International partners and asked that they do a press release on it including a congratulatory message to the Commission.

In another engagement, Commissioner Edmond Sylvester Alpha of the Southern Region gave updates on the Commission’s Electoral activities such as recruitment of Ward Coordinators which is on the final stage and the ongoing recruitments of voter registration personnel.

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ACC Boss calls for collective action in the fight against corruption.

ACC Boss, Francis Ben Kaifala

Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Francis Ben Kaifala has called for collective action in the fight against corruption. 

He was speaking during a Public Lecture organised by the Kenema District Youth Council in collaboration with Eastern Technical University Students’ Union Government, at the Kenema City Hall, Kenema, Sierra Leone, on 2nd July, 2022.

The topic was: “YOUTH, THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION AND GOVERNANCE”. Below is the full statement delivered by the ACC Boss:

INTRODUCTION 

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, please permit me to stand on existing protocols.​Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, popular American movie actress, Jennifer Lawrence, once remarked that: “We need to tell each other our stories. We need to show that everyone — our neighbors, our families, our community leaders — everyone we know is touched by corruption.” 

Corruption is defined by Transparency International as “the abuse of power for private gain.” The organisation goes on to explain the following ways by which corruption can be committed: “public servants demanding or taking money or favours in exchange for services; politicians [or people in position of trust] misusing [public funds or] money… corporations bribing public officials to get lucrative deals.”

For the World Bank, it is seen as “a form of dishonesty or criminal offence undertaken by a person or organisation entrusted with a position of authority. “ 

As I have often said, Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019 does not provide a definition of the term. But the two pieces of legislation guiding our work, outlines a list of offences and practices which constitute an act of corruption. They include; Bribery, Misappropriation of Public/ Donor Funds/Property, Corrupt Acquisition of Wealth, Unexplained Wealth, Bid Rigging, Impersonation, Failure to Declare Assets, etc. 

Ladies and gentlemen, issues of corruption have been at the fore of governance discourse in the last decades. This is because we cannot maintain democratic good governance in a society where corruption is pervasive. 

What is [Good] Governance?

‘Governance’ itself is defined by the United Nations as “the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented).”

Governance is now synonymously used with the term ‘Good Governance’ or ‘Democratic Good Governance’, which is “participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law”. 

From the aforementioned definition, we know that some of the key features of good governance include accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency and the rule of law. 

Accountability is derived from the Latin word ‘computare’, which means ‘to count’. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “to be accountable required a person to produce “a count” of either the properties or money that had been left in his care”. 

Transparency is closely related to accountability and it is used to denote openness, responsiveness and honesty. As KristalinaGeorgieva of the World Bank puts it, “a lack of transparency fuels corruption, a corrosive force that hits the poor and the vulnerable the hardest.”

The rule of law, on the other hand, as propounded by English jurist, A.V. Dicey, is administration by the law only, where all men are subjected to the same and equal treatment under the law in a way that is devoid of arbitrariness. 

Effectiveness and efficiency refers to the proper use of public resources to ensure proper public service delivery. 

Ladies and gentlemen, the fight against corruption cannot be won without paying close attention to some of these key features of good governance. It is a must that we constantly pay attention to them. 

THE PROBLEMS OF CORRUPTION

And when it comes to combating corruption, there is no other urgent social menace we must address as a nation. Apart from what we have already read from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report that it was one of the major causes of the decade-long civil war that we experienced in the 1990s, corruption is also responsible for most of the severe social, economic and political challenges we currently face today: lack of proper social amenities, high rate of unemployment among young people, political scuffles and skirmishes, among many others. 

The OECD acknowledges the problems of corruption and sums it up by stating that “corruption threatens good governance, sustainable economic development, democratic processes, and fair business practices.” 

The organisation goes further to say that “corruption’s damaging effects spread far beyond where the corrupt act is committed, throughout the global economy and society.”

That is why the poor and vulnerable of every society have always been adversely affected by acts of corruption. Perhaps that is why Pope Francis once remarked that “Corruption is paid by the poor.”

Former President of the World Bank James D. Wolfensohn, at the annual joint meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the Bank in 1996, described the scourge as a ‘cancer’ as it “diverts resources from the poor to the rich, increases the cost of running businesses, distorts public expenditures and deters foreign investors”.

The current President of the US Joe Biden, once described corruption as “a cancer that eats away a citizen’s faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity.” 

Ladies and gentlemen, President Dr Julius Maada Bio recognised the challenges of corruption since he was elected by the people of this country, which is why he declared this cancer as something that needs serious attention. 

I believe some of you have been following the work and activities of the Commission since the President made those declarations. Our decision since then was to take all the steps necessary to defeat this monster.

THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN SIERRA LEONE

The fight against corruption has been hinged on a multi-prong approach of public education, prevention, investigation and prosecution. The first two of this approach is often referred to as the ‘Carrot’ approach in the fight against corruption.

The Commission’s public education mandate is derived from Section 7(2)(o) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019, which provides for the Commission to educate the public about the dangers of corruption and the benefits of its eradication. With this, the Commission has been able to wage a massive public education campaign targeting schools, tertiary institutions, public and private institutions, communities and every facet of society, using both traditional and social media. 

The prevention aspect of our work encompasses the conduct of systems and processes reviews in public offices. This is derived from Section 7 (2)(f) of the Act which mandates us “to examine the practices of public bodies in order to facilitate the discovery of corrupt practices or acts of corruption and to secure revision of those practices and procedures which in the opinion of the Commission, may lead to or be conducive to corruption or corrupt practices.”

According to the International Development Association (IDA), “Countries with strong institutions prosper by creating an environment that facilitates private sector growth, reduces poverty, delivers valuable services and earns the confidence of their citizens – a relationship of trust that is created when people can participate in government decision-making and know their voices are heard.”

The Commission has over the years made tremendous efforts to build public institutions to make them resistant to corruption and at the same time effective and efficient in public service delivery. We have also made revenue-generating institutions generate more revenues for Government.

Part of our prevention drive is our work through the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Secretariat, which is responsible for the coordination and rolling out of the country’s National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS). The current strategy, which runs from 2019 to 2023, has the establishment of Integrity Management Committees (IMCs) as part of its key component.

The function of these Committees is to identify and address corruption issues within their respective institutions. I often refer to them as mini anti-corruption bodies within these public institutions. 

The other aspect of our approach in the fight against corruption is enforcement, which is also known as the ‘Stick’ approach in the fight against corruption.

This involves investigation and prosecution of persons suspected of committing an act of corruption. 

Nobel Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu once said that “if impunity is not demolished, all efforts to bring an end to corruption are in vain.” So this approach is meant to address impunity by making sure that the corrupt are brought to book for their crimes.

We have employed this approach to bring to book corrupt persons irrespective of their region, religion, or political party affiliation. And the statistics are there to show that I -and my team at the ACC- have been able to make the gains we continue to make because of the non-discriminatory way we conduct our anti-corruption campaign.  We cannot be making all the gains we have made as a nation if we continue to target only one set of people all the time. 

GAINS MADE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN SIERRA LEONE

Ladies and gentlemen, when we talk of gains we do not talk of things we arrogate on ourselves. We talk of gains which respected and reputable international and local bodies, often after their scientific studies backed by credible data, would turn around and tell us: “this is how far you have come and how much you have achieved”.   

In the United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation scorecard, for example, we have massively progressed from 49 percent in 2017 to 71 percent in 2018, 79 percent in 2019, 81 percent in 2020 and the current score of 83 percent.

Studies by Transparency International based in Germany have also shown that the robustness we have put into the fight against corruption has caused the country to move 15 places up in their Corruption Perception Index from 130 in 2017 to 115 in 2021.

A local consortium of civil society organisations led by the Centre for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL) also undertook a credible survey which shows a massive reduction in corruption prevalence in the public sector from 70 percent in 2017 to 40 percent when the survey was last conducted in 2020.

In the area of recovery, we have been able to recover over Thirty-five Billion Leones of stolen public funds from corrupt individuals through our novel Non-conviction Asset based Recovery system.

We have also been able to recover huge funds for other public and private institutions, and vehicles and a hotel which have been handed over to the State. This is unprecedented. I mean it has never been achieved by any ACC Commissioner before me. 

HOW YOUNG PEOPLE CAN CONTRIBUTE TO GOOD GOVERNANCE AND THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN SIERRA LEONE

The United Nations estimates that the current global population is 7.8 Billion, and this is expected to grow 8.6 Billion by 2030. Africa’s population currently stands at 1.2 Billion, with 75 percent of this composed of young people under the age of 35 years. 

Sierra Leone’s population is estimated at 7.5 million, according to provisional results of the 2021 mid-term population census conducted by Statistics Sierra Leone. It is further estimated that about 80 percent of the country’s population is made up of young people under 35.

One-third of this is between the ages of 15-35, which is defined as Sierra Leone’s youth bracket. 

Ladies and gentlemen, irrespective of the huge number of young population in Africa, the young people of the continent have always been one of the most disadvantaged. This is why I want to encourage you to take advantage of your strength and the available opportunities to contribute to the promotion of democratic good governance and the fight against corruption.

You all should be conscious that you have the means and the power to defeat corruption. You just need to have the consciousness, which the founder of Transparency International, Peter Eigen, spoke of when he said “People should be conscious that they can change a corrupt system”. Get the consciousness that this is a duty! For Kurt Cobain of the rock band, Nirvana, once loudly remarked that “the duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” 

With such consciousness and duty you can:

▪️ Serve as informants and whistleblowers to expose corruption in your communities;

▪️Set up youth groups to serve as anti-corruption ambassadors in your universities, communities, etc;

▪️Champion the cause of the ACC and stand by the institution at all times; and

▪️Raise awareness about the dangers of corruption in your institutions or communities.

However, one of the foremost things you can do for yourself is to empower yourself with education and the skillsets needed to extricate yourself and your family from poverty.

Ladies and gentlemen, we all know the great opportunities this Government has provided for young people as part of its Human Capital Development. 

From the education sector, we know of how Government has upgraded certain institutions –including the Eastern Technical University- to university status. This will definitely translate into more support, more facilities and better quality. 

We know of the ‘Youth in Agriculture’, ‘Youth in Fishing’, the Car Wash project, soft loans given to small and medium enterprises which are mainly owned by young people, the students’ loan scheme for university students like you, and a host of other empowerment interventions. Grab these opportunities.

In a country currently confronted with cases of examination malpractices, I encourage you to stay away from such practices. Study hard. Work hard.  Always play by the laid down rules and procedures. 

CONCLUSION

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have endeavored to give you a few ways we can leverage the capacity of young people in the fight against corruption. As it stands, Sierra Leone’s greatest hope lies in you.

On an advantageous note, we have identified corruption as a common enemy; we must now attack head on because our very survival is at stake.

This is a watershed moment in our history.

We should either get it right and prosper as a country or get it wrong and perish as a people.

As a nation, this our generation must take collective action against the cancer called “corruption”.  Together, we can win.  We should forget our differences and build on our uniting factors and commonality in the fight for the soul of our collective destiny. We should draw from the valour and courage of great forbearers like Bai Bureh, Sengbeh Pieh, ITA Wallace Johnson, Kai Londo, Nyangua, Ella Koblo Gulama, Lamina Sankoh, Constance Cummings-John, etc. and join to redirect our country’s destiny in the right direction. 

Now is the time to join the bandwagon of the informed and not the uninformed and reject the chicanery of the uninformed to keep our people in political bondage! 

But as I keep on saying, we will continue to fight corruption as if we are losing. But we cannot always fight all by ourselves. We need the people of this country to fight along with us. Be on the side of the Commission no matter the kind of fraternal relationship existing between you and the person that is in the ACC net. 

You should not even act indifferent. For as Delia Ferrira, Chair of Transparency International, puts it; “People’s indifference is the best breeding ground for corruption to grow.” So, I encourage you to instead act to make a difference. Be that faithful voice even among the cynical voices. 

Like Padme Amidala of Star Wars puts it “there are still those of us who work to overcome corruption and believe it to be possible.” I encourage you to be among those holding that belief.

Every generation has its defining moment; this is ours. Let us wear our girdles, embrace this fight, and together wipe corruption out of Sierra Leone! 

God bless Sierra Leone!

© Public Relations Unit, ACC

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Statistician General & Vice Chair of UN Statistical Commission speaks on Gender Statistics

The Statistician General and Vice Chair of the UN Statistical Commission, Prof Osman Sankoh COR (Mallam O.) has  taken part in a high-level round table discussion with the visiting Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, Ms Asa Regner  who also doubles as the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women. 

The panel discussion was held in the conference room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and was chaired by the Minister Prof David Francis.

Ms. Regner is on a working visit to Siera Leone alongside Ms.Oulimata Sarr, the Representative and Regional Director of UN Women for West and Central Africa.

The meeting discussed amongst other things the status of Sierra Leonean women in socioeconomic development of the country and the strides towards gender empowerment.

In his contribution, Mallam O. referred to his recent talks at the UN Commission for Population and Development on the digital divide and another at a PARIS21/UN Women conference on financing gender statistics. 

“For Sierra Leone, the time is tight,” he said. “We have political champions and a Ministry specific for gender and children’s affairs. And we have a National Statistics Office which has placed premium on digital data collection, hence it’s possible to disaggregate data by sex and make such data available for policy and planning processes,” concluded Mallam O.

Among the high dignitaries present were: Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Deputy Minister of Finance II, Director of Research at MoF, DG of MoFAIC, Assistant IGP and the UN Resident Representative.

© Stats SL Comms & PR Div.

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Economic Column-Welfare and Inflation: A Case Of Sierra Leone.

By Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganawah (Senior Economist/Lecturer-FBC)

It is important to note that most people in Sierra Leone, still do not understand the dynamics of inflation. Inflation is the decline of purchasing power of a given currency (say the Leone) over time. A quantitative estimate of the rate at which the decline in purchasing power occurs can be reflected in the increase of an average price level of a basket of selected goods and services in an economy over some period of time. The rise in prices, which is often expressed as a percentage, means that a unit of currency effectively buys less than it did in prior periods. In all of these cases, the money ends up losing its purchasing power. The mechanisms of how this drives inflation can be of three fundamental causes. These are:

➢ Demand-pull inflation refers to situations where there are not enough products or services being produced to keep up with demand, causing their prices to increase.

➢ Cost-push inflation, on the other hand, occurs when the cost of producing products and services rises, forcing businesses to raise their prices.

➢ Built-in inflation (which is sometimes referred to as a wage-price spiral) occurs when workers demand higher wages to keep up with rising living costs. This in turn causes businesses to raise their prices in order to offset their rising wage costs, leading to a self-reinforcing loop of wage and price increases.

Why Is Inflation So High Right Now in Sierra Leone?

The recent inflation rate in Sierra Leone of 24.87 percent andthe continuous increment in the inflation rates around the world rose to their highest level since the early 1980s. While there is no single reason for this rapid rise in global prices, there has instead been a series of events that have worked together. 

The COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 led to lockdowns and other restrictive measures that greatly disrupted global supply chains, from factory closures to bottlenecks at maritime ports. At the same time, governments issued stimulus checks and increased unemployment benefits to help blunt the financial impact of these measures on individuals and small businesses. 

Also, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24th February 2022 led to a series of economic sanctions and trade restrictions on Russia, limiting the world’s supply of oil and gas, since Russia is a large producer of fossil fuels. At the same time, food prices rose as Ukraine’s large grain harvests could not be exported. As fuel and food prices rose, it led to similar increases down the value chains.

Sierra Leone is an import-driven economy which means so much dependence on imported goods for local consumption. Sierra Leone has raised fuel prices 120 percent in the last six months (January- June 2022) from Le10 to Le22.  This 120% rise in the fuel price is the highest in the world. Even though the Russia-Ukraine war is a contributor, this stellar rise is also caused by taxation on fuel by the government. The increase in fuel prices has a ripple effect on all essential goods and services. 

Also, it is important for us to know that the depreciation of the Leone is also a major cause of the inflationary pressure we are experiencing in the country. 

The Way Forward

Government should subsidize the fuel so that fuel prices willfall or better still remain in their present state in the country. Similar approaches are being followed by both developing and developed countries around the world. 

The mining companies do enjoy a whole lot of tax waivers and still enjoy the same fuel prices as the common man. The government should ensure that the mining companies buy for themselves or buy in forex from the oil marketing companies. This will reduce the pressure on the small quantity that is been bought for the general population.

Also, the government has done well in increasing the storage facilities for petroleum products. The government should now try to up its game in making sure they fully utilize the storage facilities. According to the Minister of Information and Communication, we are yet to utilize 50 percent of the facility. With this everyday disturbance in the global supply chain, it makes a whole lot of sense to buy in large quantities to reduce the number of times buying on an annual basis. 

Government should reduce the taxes on major economic sectors that support ordinary citizens and businesses. Examples of such sectors are the energy sector (which includes household and institutional electricity consumers and the fuel market) and the marine sector (which includes fishing companies). 

In conclusion, the government should work on all the available avenues to reduce the suffering citizens are going through as a result of this high inflationary trend.

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Final Batch of Sierra Leone Pilgrims Leave for Mecca

By Abubakarr Bah, Information Attaché, Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone

The third and final batch of Sierra Leonean pilgrims in Lungi are checking-in to depart the Freetown International Airport (FNA) for the Holy land of Makkah, to perform Hajj, the fifth Pillar of Islam.

Already, about 680 Sierra Leonean pilgrims, who safely landed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia on Friday and Saturday respectively, have successfully performed Umrah and are now comfortably waiting in Mina for the third and final batch to join them in the Hajj journey to Arafat to fulfil one of the major pillars of Hajj.

Despite the many challenges faced by the Saudi authorities in facilitating this year’s Hajj for Muslims across the globe, the Government of His Excellency President Dr. Julius MaadaBio has worked assiduously to ensure that all the batches of Sierra Leonean pilgrims arrive safely in Makkah with no major immigration issues.

Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh on the 1st July, 2022 virtually moved his office to Lungi to help supervise the entire Hajj process.

Unlike some Guinean pilgrims who were deported just after they landed in Saudi Arabia, the 15 Sierra Leonean pilgrims that had immigration issues at the King AbdulazizInternational Airport in Jeddah were cleared to perform this year’s Hajj following the intervention of Ambassador Dr. Ibrahim Jalloh and his team at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Saudi Arabia. 

On Monday, the Minister of Social Welfare, Hon. BainduDassama, assured the last batch of Sierra Leonean pilgrims in Lungi that the Government of Sierra Leone has successfully negotiated with the Saudi Authorities for an extension of the stipulated deadline to ensure that they are flown to Saudi Arabia to perform the 2022 Hajj.

Sources from the Lungi International Airport say the Ethiopian Aircraft that would fly the third and final batch of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia has already landed  at the Lungi Airport and would depart with the pilgrims shortly.

A total of 1,080 pilgrims from Sierra Leone are expected to perform this year’s Hajj in the Muslim Holy Land of Makkahin Saudi Arabia.

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SDI Condemns Arrest and Violence against Women Protesters.

The Society for Democratic Initiative (SDI) has condemned the action of the Sierra Leone Police with regards arrests and violence against women protesters in the country. 

“On 4th July 2022, two peaceful demonstrations were held across Sierra Leone. The first action saw commercial motorbike riders, keke drivers and commercial vehicle drivers, including poda-podas, buses and taxis, hold a nationwide strike sit-down action. The transportation sector demonstration was held to call attention to the difficult economic situation, increases in the price of fuel and dramatic inflationary rises in commodity and food prices”, the release states.

It continues: “The Groups of market women, traders and business women, on 4 July 2022, also joined the demonstration by marching on the streets, carrying banners and plaques and calling for the government’s attention to the severe economic hardship faced by women and the citizenry of Sierra Leone. 

“The peaceful demonstration on Monday 4 July 2022, saw the flagrant disregard of human rights by Police and security authorities. Violence and abusive language were used by the security apparatus against some women protesters. Forty-seven (47) women were arrested across Freetown and Masingba, according to the Police Media spokesperson. 

“On Sunday 3 July 2022, two truckloads of armed OSD personnel surrounded the home of Unity party Chair, Femi Claudius-Cole, on allegations of incitement. Claudius-Cole surrendered herself at CID Headquarters and was arrested and detained. Leader of the National Grand Coalition party, Denis Bright, who appeared with Claudius-Cole at CID, was also arrested and detained. 

“Sierra Leone is a democratic state and must welcome peaceful protests from its citizens. Chapter III of the 1991 Constitution guarantees and provides for “the recognition and protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual”.

“These fundamental Human Rights are, inter alia, the Protection from Arbitrary Arrest or Detention (Section 17); Protection From Inhuman Treatment (Section 20); Protection of Freedom of Expression and the Press (Section 25); Protection of Freedom of Assembly and Association (Section 26).

“SDI recognizes the authority of the laws of Sierra Leone especially the 1991 Constitution. SDI also recognizes the authority of several international treaties and declarations, which also guarantee human rights. 

“The current economic situation in the country, and around the world, is difficult. Inflation runs into the high teens. The prices of food, produce, and basic necessities of life have risen significantly over the past five to six-months. The concerns of all citizens of Sierra Leone deserve to be listened to and heard. The rights of all citizens need to be respected and promoted. 

“The Society for Democratic Initiatives condemns the actions of the Sierra Leone Police on the following grounds:

The arrest peaceful protesters, who were not armed with offensive weapons.

The arrest of prominent, high-ranking opposition politicians.

The blatant abuse and misuse of their powers.

The Society for Democratic Initiatives – Sierra Leone (SDI-SL) is a non-governmental organisation established in June 2003, with the vision to ensure accountability in governance, advocating for the promotion and protection of people’s rights with emphasis on women and children’s rights.

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Afrimoney Launches Payment Fees to Liccsal Students.

By Moses Kay Fembeh

Staff of Afrimoney on Wednesday 6th July, 2022 launched their second payment of tuition fees to students of LiccsalBusiness College at Wilberforce village, Freetown.

It could be recalled that the first payment of tuition fees waslaunched at Canadian college, Mile 91 in June this year. 

Registrar of the college, Rev. Philips S. Godwin expressed his profound thanks and appreciation to staff of Afrimoney, pointing out the difficulties students sometimes face in accessing payment system at the banks and the economic situation in the country which is not motivating. 

“This is the best idea so far. It will surely help our students toavoid the stressful situation at the bank. Therefore, I’m encouraging parents and sponsors to grab this great opportunity by making their students’ tuition payment throughAfrimoney”, Rev. Godwin said. 

Board chairman of Liccsal Business College, Mr Mackay threw light on the importance of digitalisation and globalisation, in the sense that the digital is fastly taking over the world. He admonished students and those gathered at the launch of the digital money that everyone should accept.

Martinson Obeng-Akuei is the Director of Afrimoney in Sierra Leone. He spoke on the importance of digital money by encouraging students to involve in digital marketing through their computers after the completion of their studies. 

“Our Afrimoney initiative will help you as a student to save time and money. Imagine your college bank is all the way East End, and you have the tuition fee with you on the day of exams and you are told to pay before taking your examination. Do you want to tell me that it would be possible to pay on that same day and be able to write your examination? No! So to avoid all of those things that is why we have come up with this initiative to your doorstep so that we all could benefit as good neighbours and countrymen”

“This will also help the government to avoid lots of expenses on printing money and you, yourself would not move around with physical money. I can also assure you that we have over 600,000 agents nationwide and that means we have assigned 600,000 agents to you”, he noted.

Principal of Liccsal Business College, Mrs. Cecilia Bangura applauded the director and staff of Liccsal Business College, expressing profound thanks for making it a reality. According to her, when Sheikh Omaru Jalloh, Head of Sales and Marketing met her to discuss the Afrimoney proposal, she was afraid, probably thinking that their college account might be frauded but Mr. Jalloh and team persuaded her that, that would not happen. So she accepted the idea. 

“Today on behalf of the board, students’ body, staff and management of Liccsal Business College, I hereby formally launch Afrimoney at our college”, she proudly announced. 

Afrimoney staff, James Tommy introduced the use of the code *161#. “When you dial that number, the person should select 2 and after selection he/she will see other options and select 11 which is “next” and the student (s) will see 1 and 2 as options and 1 is school and 2 is tertiary and the student must select 2 and continue with the process his/ID number will be needed and confirmation pin or password of the student”, he explained.

Tommy promised to forward the video clip to all the 110 students that were at the event.

Abu Vandi who is a student of Liccsal Business College commended the director and team of Afrimoney for thinking about them, noting the huge opportunity it’d give them as students.

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Journalists Trained on Climate Reporting

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

Catholic Relief Service (CRS) in partnership with the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has concluded a two-day training on Climate Reporting for about 15 journalists in Freetown.

The exercise focused on CRS’ programming in Sierra Leone, Effective Communications in Climate Change, Fundamentals Climate Science and Climate Change, Climate Change and Sustainable and Development and Field Visit. 

Addressing participants, CRS’ Technical Partnership Advisor, Dennis Momoh said they believe in partnership hence the reason for the training together with SLAJ. “We’ll continue to strengthen our relation with the media”, he added. 

Mr. Momoh noted that the Fourth Estate has the power to influence decision, and can report issues around climate change for a better world. 

“Sometimes last year, we had an engagement with the media and this is just a continuation of what we started in 2021”

“I want to recognise your role towards nation building. I assure you of CRS’ commitment towards the media. We’ll continue working with journalists all the time”.

Financial Secretary of SLAJ, Mohamed Konneh thanked CRS for the partnership to organize a training on Climate Change for the media.

He pointed out that climate change is a major problem in the world today, stressing the increase in heat wave in Sierra Leone and the world at large. 

“SLAJ supports this training because the environment is key to our existence. So I urge colleagues to take the training seriously”, he admonished adding “Be an environment journalist today and help save the environment tomorrow”. 

Climate Change Consultant, Amara Salami Kanu was the facilitator for the two-day exercise. 

CRS started work in Sierra Leone in 1963 carrying out the commitment of the Catholic Bishops and the Catholic community of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas.

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“Vote me as President of UNIMAK Law Society” -Abass Mamud Sesay

“Vote me as President of UNIMAK Law Society”-AbassMamud Sesay

Abass Mamud Sesay who hailed from the Northern part of Sierra Leone, Makeni Town started and completed his primary and secondary education at the St. Francis Secondary School, Makeni. 

During his secondary school days, Abass served in many leadership capacities as school prefect, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Information and Communication. He also made countless representations for his school in many debating competitions across the country.

Upon completion of his secondary school education, he gained admission into the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology-Freetown Campus where he read Architectural Technology before he travelled to the United State of America to Study Leadership and Civic Engagement at Kansas State University. Currently, Abass is a third year student at Limkokwing University pursuing his Bachelor in InteriorArchitecture and also a third year Law student at the University of Makeni (UNIMAK).

Abass brings on board 6 years of Civic Society leadership,gleaned from NGOs including AANSL, UNICEF, CDC, and Plan International. As a Youth Advocate, the perfect Law student has earned distinguished career in youth and women’s empowerment, youth leadership with domestic, PublicSpeaking and capacity-building in both national and international platforms. 

As a community development activist, Abass is the founder and current CEO of Active Ambassadors Network Sierra Leone (AANSL), a non-profit NGO that works towards promoting climate change, girl-child education, youth and women’s empowerment and youth leadership training. 

Through his organization and lobby prowess, over 10,000 youths especially women and children have benefited from his projects with support from IREX, United State Department of State, US Embassy in Freetown, Elliot School of Communication, Wichita State University and Kansas Leadership Center all in the US. 

Abass has achieved several international recognitions and to date, he is one of Sierra Leone’s finest young leader. In 2016, he was the recipient of the Queen’s Commonwealth Youth Excellent Award on Sustainable Development (The Queens Award for Youth), a recognition that was recommended by the Ministry of Youth Affairs. Abass is a 2015 cohort Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Alumni, a U.S. government signature effort by former President Barrack Obama to invest in the next generation of African leaders and to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across sub-Saharan Africa, he is also a 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow, one of the biggest Youth Leadership platforms in the world that trains future African Leaders, a fellow of the most prestigious Obama Foundation Fellow for African Leaders-a recognition that he received together with the current ACC Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala as the two qualifying fellows in 2018/2019. Also, Abass is Young World Ambassador, a recognition he received together with the former member of Parliament Hon. Osman Timbo(Youngest) as the only two qualifying Sierra Leoneans. In 2015, Abass was appointed by YALI management in Ghana to represent YALI in the MO Ibrahim Foundation award program where all African Presidents meet annually to celebrate leadership and good governance. He has been recognised as the most Influential young leader in Sierra Leone by Student without Boarders in Cotonou, Benin, at their Africa Youth Leadership Summit in 2015. Abass is also a 2016 UN Asia Model United Nations Ambassador, a YALI Network Influencer and the current PRO for West Africa Young Leaders Association, a 2015 TedX Speaker, a writer, mentor and a public speaker who has mentored and inspired thousands of youths in the country.

Abass has remained a true gender activist and someone who believes in inclusiveness. 

His leadership experience and exposure speaks volumes of him as a true definition of leadership and thus, the most suitable person for the position of PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY.

In his recent engagements with LLB1&2 students in their various classes, these were the words of Abass: “I know that the world needs more women who are skilled, problem solvers and leaders, and our law society too needs them if we are to make progress as a department”. “My vision is to ensure that I provide a safe and a level playing field for all women in the law department to unleash and exhibit their expertise (s) and develop new skills in which they can be used in their career, classrooms, businesses and organizations in addressing perennial problems”. 

He further adds: “His goal for the department is to ensure that we bolster our credibility, trust, and professional leadership skills amongst women, and to see more women excelling in diverse fields and thus, have the exuberance and confidence in adding their voices to contemporary issues in our department. It’s undisputed fact that the success of the society hinges largely on our women as they’re the movers and shakers of development in all folds”.

In demonstrating true leadership, Abass cited examples of his goodwill he has undertaken in and outside the ambiances of UNIMAK:

The provision of a new i5 Desktop Computer for students to be using in undertaking myriad of research, Electrical Fans for the classrooms, a multi-task printer and photocopier and cleaning sanitizers and sprayers for our Law students hostel dwellers. 

Notably, during the past Law Society Executive, he had helped them in diverse ways like lobbying for materials and finance in setting up the Law Resource Center, assisted in the creation of the Law Garden, sponsored the moot court competition and that of the most successful law tour in which he singlehandedly fuelled one of the busses. 

Notwithstanding the current Law Society Executive, Abasshas been an active supporter of the society in all activities undertaken by the current executive such as financially supporting the Executive on the just concluded Mooting Competition, assisting the society team in-kind and financially as well as providing snacks for all Law students that attended the just concluded Law Tour by the current Law Society Executive. Notably Abass financially supported the just concluded inter classes football competition and that of the just concluded inter departmental competition. 

To the General Students Body, Abass has over the years assisted many Law students on one-on-one tutorials and had organized group tutorials at the hostel from which the current LLB 2 students benefited from that. To many, it is not a novelty that Abass has been tirelessly helping students with reading materials as well as making notes for them on key modules including the current LLB1 students who have also benefited from that. 

Abbas’s ambition for the society was born out of the fact that the law society is one of the biggest at UNIMAK, however, he does not believe it has necessarily fulfilled its responsibilities to its students fully over the past two years. Whilst it has put on some memorable events, he wishes to continue on that path If elected as President to do more and better for society. Abbas’s agenda will focus on robust advocacy for all law students, ensure that students’ welfare is his top priority, lobby for more support to be provided to students especially those that are extremely challenged financially, develop and launch a leadership and mentorship scheme to empower students at the department, organize conferences to inspire students to speak up and provide leadership training as well as expose more students on international conferences to develop their skills through State department programs, develop an all-inclusive programme of events that tailor to the diversity of students at the law department, reform the system of personal tutors and the departmental study aid for academic excellence as well as expand student welfare provision. “I am ready to serve, listen and learn from you all as a humble servant and leader by putting the interest of the student first in all I do”.

The change is now, vote me in as your president of the Law Society for effective leadership, fearless advocacy, accountability, competency, Inclusiveness and Students Welfare.

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At UNESCO Breakfast Meeting….

President Bio calls for Political Will & Scale-up Investments in Education.

By Betty Milton, Information Attaché, Brussels, Belgium

In his opening remarks at the SDG 4 High-Level Steering Committee Meeting on the margins of the Transforming Education Pre- Summit in Paris, President Julius Maada Bio who doubles as Co-Chair of the SDG 4 High-Level Steering Committee, has urged all governments that “there is the real risk of a generational catastrophe if we do not enkindle the necessary political will and scale up investments in education”.

He added: “We must generate the necessary political will and muster a committed global movement to make the desired change happen”.

President Bio maintained that the meeting provided a valuable opportunity to respond to the call for stronger leadership, greater political will, and bolder action in favour of education and lifelong learning. 

The Sierra Leone President and Co- Chair recognised that education is the most powerful investment for sustainable future. He also spoke about the urgency of the global learning crisis, and the need to transform education systems. He continued: “we therefore urge the need for a genuine shift in mindsets towards the HLSC’s Call for Action for the Transforming Education Summit.”

On the Draft Message by the SDG 4 High-Level Steering Committee, President Bio described it as a message of warning and hope, adding: “a message of warning, because the cost of inaction is intolerable; a message of hope, because the opportunities for genuine transformation are considerable”. 

As a strong believer of quality education especially at an early stage the President emphased that education provided the essential pillars for building peaceful, democratic, and inclusive societies where there was respect for human rights, a healthy planet, and a sustainable future for humanity.

The President called on members of the SDG 4 High-Level Steering Committee that they have a collective responsibility to seize the momentum created by the UN Secretary General’s Summit to make the case for transformation in education and as representatives of our respective regions and constituencies, they have a duty to mobilise their countries and all key stakeholders. 

“All actors must urgently pursue both inclusive and equitable education and lifelong learning for all. This is the very essence of the HLSC’s Call for Action. We must therefore strategically use that as a wake-up call,” President Bio stated.

Co- Chair of the SDG4 HLSC, Madam Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, in her statement said looking beyond the crisis of the COVID, there were other challenges before the COVID-19 and were still prevailing which had affected the world and the educational sector especially the technological disruption and the climate change.

She added that, to guide their efforts they needed to look at the coordinated work done by UNESCO on the future of education which offered solid and shared foundation for global education. 

Audrey Azoulay further stated that the role of the Committee was essential as it mobilised leaders of the world to defend and define their nations’ priorities and to better align the financing of these priorities.

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Le 15.7bn For 5,058 Primary Schools.

The Ministry of Basic & Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) has disbursed school grants valued at Fifteen Billion Seven Hundred and Twenty-Nine Million and Two Thousand Leones (Le 15,729,002,000) directly to 5,058 public schools running a full cycle primary education from classes 1 through 6. These grants, based on data collected in March 2022, were disbursed on 15 June 2022 as Performance Based Financing for Term 2 of the 2021/22 academic year, and they seek to improve various components of quality education at the school level. 

The Government of Sierra Leone currently provides largescale support, including provision of teaching and learning materials, and financing (fee subsidies) to ‘government’ and ‘government-assisted’ schools at all levels. However, these resources are not always adequate to cover all the expenses and needs of beneficiary schools and ‘unapproved’ schools do not currently receive such mainstream government financial support. 

The Performance-Based Financing (PBF) school grants are innovative additional resource-support packages to schools that amplify specific learning and administrative outcomes. The size of the support is dependent strictly on performance metrics – the school gets more of the standard PBF grant if it improves student attendance, retention and progression and improves teaching and learning outcomes. Schools with special needs and circumstances (i.e., unapproved or small schools, schools in poor communities, or schools with students with disabilities) also receive extra funds. Guidelines for the use of PBF Grants are available in the PBF Manual on which all School Management Committees (SMCs) and Head Teachers have been trained. Parts of these resources could be used for payment of stipends to community and volunteer teachers, payment of staff bonuses based on performance, and supporting school operations. 

As part of this project implementation, MBSSE received technical assistance under the Free Education Project from the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovations (DSTI) to introduce the Open ‘Government to Person’ (G2P) framework to accelerate cash transfers to the schools. The platform integrates the data collection on the schools’ performances on the PBF indicators, calculation of the grants, and transfer of funds to the schools’ accounts in real time in a secure manner. As a pilot from this collaboration between MBSSE, DSTI and the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, One Hundred and Fifty-Seven Million Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Thousand Five Hundred and Ten Leones (Le 157,766,510) of the total amount was transferred to 58 out of the 5058 school accounts using the (G2P) payment mechanism. This automation and digitization will provide rigor, transparency and efficiency to the system when scaled in the future. 

The Government of Sierra Leone Free Education Project / Multi-Donor Trust Fund is implemented by the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education through the Free Education Project Secretariat and it is supported by World Bank (IDA), European Union, Irish Aid, Foreign Commonwealth Development Office, and the Global Partnership for Education.

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On Sexual and Health Rights, UN Resident Coordinator calls for Collective Action.

UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi has called for collective action to reinvigorate efforts to ensure sexual health and rights of all, and, in particular, to eliminate sexual and gender-based violence. 

He was speaking at the 10th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights conference in Freetown. 

“Our world is currently experiencing upheavals that if not addressed immediately, will have tremendous impact on our future. The underlying truth borne out by evidence is that every crisis we have, has a decidedly young, female face”, he said.

The UN Resident Coordinator added: “In Sierra Leone, this is the face of a frightened young woman grappling with gender-based violence. This is the face of a 16-years old pregnant school girl, who is among the 21 per cent of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 that were found to have begun child bearing. This is the face of a young girl, kept out of school due to female genital mutilation rites coupled with pandemic disruptions, and further exacerbated by poverty, lack of social safety net, and digital divide.

“Unfortunately, these challenges are not just found in Sierra Leone, but are replicated to varying degrees across Africa. 

“The 10th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights, therefore, provides a timely opportunity for all stakeholders to rethink and renew our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals – in particular Goal 5: Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls. The theme of the conference, “Accelerating the elimination of sexual and gender-based violence in Africa” is a call to action for stakeholders to reinvigorate our efforts to ensure sexual health and rights of all, and, in particular, to eliminate sexual and gender-based violence. 

“This requires collective action. People, including youth, civil society, the media, the private sector and other stakeholders, need to generate an unstoppable movement pushing for the required transformation. Across Africa, we need to build stronger partnerships, mobilize more resources, and provide innovative and sustainable solutions to address sexual and gender-based violence. In our respective countries, we have to embed the needed transitions in the policies, budgets, institutions, and regulatory frameworks of governments, while ensuring that the most vulnerable, including women and girls are protected and empowered. 

“The solution to so many of Africa’s biggest challenges is likely right in front of us: the realization of the full rights and potential of women and girls, and young people in general. 

“When individuals can exercise real informed choice over their health, bodies and futures, they can contribute to prosperous societies and a more sustainable, equitable and just world. 

“By prioritizing agency and the empowerment of all people — especially women, girls, young people, and the most vulnerable — so they can finally exercise real, informed choice over their health, bodies, and futures, we can unleash a powerful, reinforcing cycle of gains. 

“Therefore, let us collectively take advantage of the transformative opportunity this flagship regional Conference presents to us. Let us work diligently and together to reverse our current trajectories. Let us recommit ourselves towards sustainable and equitable development, where the most vulnerable, especially young people and women, free from sexual and gender-based violence, are at the centre of economic and social development. 

“This is how we will achieve the Africa that we want – an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa progressing towards the Sustainable Development Goals”, he ended.

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Statistics Sierra Leone to spend US$4m after World Bank Approval.

The World Bank has recently approved US$4m to be utilised for various statistical activities and building of district offices successfully presented and defended by Stats SL as part of the Institution’s Harmonizing and Improving Statistics in West Africa (HISWA) project.

The Statistician General and CEO of Stats SL Prof. Osman Sankoh (Mallam O.) was visibly excited about this clearance for his team to implement key activities before the end of the year. With the few words “God is great!”, he quickly changed into top gear to begin the engagement with his team on the deliverables.

The results-driven Deputy Statistician General Mr Andrew Bob Johnny thanked the World Bank for its positive consideration of Stats SL’s proposal for the year and he said this would enable pre-construction work for an ultramodern HQ complex at Tower Hill in Freetown in the coming two years and an impressive presence of Stats SL’s own office buildings across the district and regional headquarter towns in Sierra Leone.

Providing some specifics, Mr Albert Bangura-Will, the HISWA Project Coordinator said that the approved US$4m for 2022 would allow Stats SL to effectively prepare for several statistical activities. These include: an agricultural census; a census of business establishments: a new Sierra Leone Integrated Household Survey; and generation of credible administrative data.

Appreciating the World Bank for its favourable decision on behalf of the Statistics Council, the Chairman of Council Mr Moses LJ Williams said that Stats SL couldn’t have been on a better footing to implement its planned activities for the year. He urged Management to continue to be effective and efficient in their work.

The HISWA grant funds are ably managed by the Project Fiduciary Management Unit (PFMU) of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) led by the Team Lead, Mr Alpha Sesay.

©️ Stats SL Comms & PR Div

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55-year-old man in custody for penetrating two kids

By Pastor Mohamed Sesay

55 years old Abu Koroma, a security guard at Medicines San Frontier, is currently detained at CID HQ, Pademba Road, Freetown, after he was captured when he was on the verge of escaping from his Waterloo residence after he was suspected of having sexually penetrated two kids aged 9 and 11.

The suspected pervert who is a relative of his victims, is said to have lured the kids from their town of Warridala in the Biriwa Chiefdom northern Sierra Leone on the pretext that he was taking them to the city to educate them.

The unsuspecting parents of the kids agreed not knowing that Abu Koroma is a paedophile who had in the past exhibited his sexual appetite for kids.

The suspected beast was to later turn the kids into his sex slaves taking turns on them at his evil will.

The children were suffering but they couldn’t explain to anybody for fear that Koroma will kill them through juju.

It was only an observant teacher at the school where the two kids were attending, that noticed the kids’ behavior to be abnormal.

The kids were to later confide in the teacher about what Koromathe monster was doing to them.

It was authorities at the school who alerted the police and on the nick of time the police pounced and they found the demon, Koroma packing his belongings to escape but he was cornered and arrested.

The suspected child penetrator, thinking that what he did is just a small thing and it is believed that Abu Koroma is trying to compromise the matter at the station.

But the Comment newspaper is watching the every move of the police in the matter and therefore calling on Don Bosco and other child right activists to intervene to ensure justice for the kids.

Investigation continues!!

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“Blacklist Underperforming Contractors’’ -Local Government Minister Orders Local Councils.

By Frederick V Kanneh, Information Officer, MLGRD.

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Amb. Tamba Lamina has ordered all local Councils to stop giving contracts to contractors that are not worth the salt.

Amb. Tamba Lamina gave this directive while representing the Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone on an official handing over ceremony of 22 motor bikes provided by the Road Maintenance Fund Administration (RMFA) to Engineers in the Local Councils for supervision, monitoring and evaluation ofroad maintenance activities in their localities.

“I’m admonishing all Engineers and leadership of the Local Councils to blacklist contractors that do substandard job when contracts are awarded to them. This is because their underperformance is a disappointment to you, the residents of your communities and the Government as a whole,” he ordered in his keynote address while stating that it’s the responsibilities of the Councils and Engineers to make sure that the contractors perform their duties in line with the goal and scope of the contracts, which is why they should not compromise with those categories of contractors.

Minister Lamina further thanked the leadership of RMFA for capacitating the Engineers of the respective Councils with motor bikes which will ease their movement while monitoring road maintenance activities in their communities, adding that as a Minister who is always with the Local Councils, he knows exactly how important the bikes are to the beneficiaries.

He maintained that even though the Government is contending with so many challenges ranging from the effects of  COVID-19 to the repercussions of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine , the Local Councils still keep getting support from the Government and other development partners, citing the “Local Authorities’ Project” that the Famino Municipality in Italy through the European Union had  implemented in five Local Councils and the “10 million Euro EU supported funding projects” in five District Councils, amongst others.

He ended up by appealing to the beneficiaries of the motor bikes to use them for the intended purpose and make sure that they arealways in working order.

The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of RMFA, Basiru Sannoh, intimated the gathering about the achievements of the RMFA and the reason why they provided the bikes to the Engineers. Statements from different stakeholders also formed part of the handing over ceremony followed by cutting of the ribbons on the bikes by Minister Lamina.

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Education is not a privilege; it is a fundamental human right.

-President Bio tells World Leaders

By Augustine Sankoh, Strategic Communications Analyst, MBSSE

President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr. Julius Maada Bio as Co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Goal-4 (SDG4) High-Level Steering Committee during the segment consisting of Ministerial and Stakeholder engagement has emphasized during his opening remark that education is not a privilege, but a fundamental human right.

The Transforming Education Pre‐Summit is organized in Paris on 28‐30 June 2022. A Global Engagement Day on 28 June included technical meetings on Thematic Action Tracks and engagements with key stakeholders and this was Co-Chaired by the Sierra Leone’s Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Dr. Moinina David Sengeh.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the current global economic crises have further amplified the severe education funding gap. We must therefore use this Pre-Summit strategically to rally all forces behind the call for inclusive quality education and lifelong learning for all. We do so because education is not a privilege; it is a fundamental human right,” President Bio said.

He calls on all to collectively advocate that education is not a cost but an investment in the sustainable future of their societies, children, and the planet, adding that he cost of inaction is simply not acceptable and they must therefore assume collective responsibility for taking resolute action for education.

“We must stay focused on using the opportunity offered by the Transforming Education Summit to position education at the top of the political agenda of member states. We can do so with concrete commitments supported by strong political will at the highest levels,” he said.

As Co-Chair of the SDG4 High-Level Steering Committee, President Bio assures all that the Steering Committee stands ready to fully support, monitor, and carry forward the impetus created by the Summit.

I thank her for UNESCO’s exemplary leadership and tireless efforts in advancing Sustainable Development Goal-4.  

According to President Bio, the most vulnerable, most marginalized, and most disadvantaged learners count on education stakeholders to deliver on implementing SDG 4 by 2030, so it is their collective responsibility to call for immediate and bold action towards that end.

He said education is a driving force for sustainable development, noting that it is a powerful lever for responding to some of the most pressing challenges faced by humanity including climate change, migration, youth unemployment, healthcare, and peaceful and just societies.

He said it is also a cross-cutting accelerator for the advancement of all the other SDGs, noting that any integrated, holistic, multi-sectoral approach to sustainable development must include education.

“The HLSC’s Urgent Call for Action is a call to Heads of State and Government to invest in and transform education as the clearest pathway to our shared goals of peace, prosperity, sustainability, and building resilience,” he said.

The overall objective of the Pre‐Summit is to harness the evolving discussions on transforming education, elaborate initial content and establish a shared vision and suggested actions for the Summit, and generate greater momentum in the lead up to September.

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We should not play politics with the economy- Hon. Chericoco

Leader of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) in Parliament, Hon. Chernor Maju Ramadan Bah has told colleague MPs ‘not to play politics with the Economy’. 

Wrapping up the debate during the presentation of theSupplementary Government Budget and Statement of Economic and Financial Policies for the Financial Year, 2022 in the Well of Parliament on Friday, Hon. Chericoco, as he’s fondly called, said they know that the economy is challenged and that the Minister was sincere enough to say it.

“What is important is to ensure that the budget works” he stated and went on to ask the Ministry of Finance to continue to engage Parliament on the challenges on time, and not when they have gone beyond control.

Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Sahr Nyuma commended the team from the Ministry of Finance for their foresight to the economy. He spoke about the reasons for the Supplementary Budget and other related challenges on the globe using comparative analysis of inflation, compounded with the Ukraine/Russia war. 

He said it was better for all and sundry to address the problem, supporting the harmonization of the Wage Bill. Hon. Nyuma emphasized economic solving problems and commended the Minister. 

He spoke about the prediction of food shortage and the Government’s subsidies to Agriculture in order to ameliorate food security. He categorically stated that fuel subsidy is not available and went on to speak about mitigation of the projection. He spoke about policy to support farmers in light of food security, and asked all to proffer solutions.

Chairman of the Finance Committee, Hon Francis Amara Kaisamba advised his colleague MPs to confine their debate on Standing Order 69, 3, which he said speaks to the matter before the House. He said they are pretty sure that money would be available to address the imaging issues. According to him, the Minister of Finance had given reasons for the Supplementary Budget and related challenges. He expressed that the Minister stated various institutions that would benefit from the Supplementary Budget and also public debts management, salaries, and wages among others. He also cited development activities.

The Chairman of Agriculture Committee in Parliament, Hon. Salieu Osman Sesay said the economy is in shambles and raised concern that, bringing the Supplementary Budget would cause more inflation.

The MP went on to urge the Minister to explain, if the Supplementary Budget would not increase the food price and affected the cost of living, alarming the cost of fuel. He used the opportunity to ask the Government to subsidize the fuel price for the people and went on to say some MDAs have not benefited from the previous budget that was approved, adding that, the Supplementary Budget is so huge. 

Hon. SOS indicated energy as one MDA that is receiving a Supplementary Budget more than its previous budget. He decried Road Maintenance Fund for not implementing projects properly as contractors are not doing well recalling instances. He asked for an effective monitoring process on projects implemented.

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Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights Opens in Freetown.

The 10th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights, convened by the African Federation for Sexual Health and Rights and hosted by Purposeful Sierra Leone in partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone, on Monday 27 June, opened at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown, with a Youth Pre-Conference, held under the theme “Accelerating the Elimination of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Africa.”

Speaking at the official opening of the event, UNFPA Representative to Sierra Leone, Ms. Nadia Rasheed said UNFPA is committed to work with stakeholders including governments, civil society, youth led organisations towards accelerating progress to end gender-based violence and in creating spaces for young people’s voices to be heard on all issues affecting them.

Ms. Rasheed said, in line with its transformative agenda of accelerating progress towards ending gender based violence, UNFPA was proud to be co-sponsoring the conference and to support the participation of more than 175 young people. 

“This conference is an incredible opportunity to connect with other young people and with distinguished experts and decision makers from across the continent. It’s an opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills, to be exposed to different perspectives, and to fuel your advocacy on the issues that you are most passionate about,” she told the over 350 participants drawn from across 41 African countries.

Ms. Rasheed noted that Africa is home to 130 million girls and women who were married in childhood, 140 million girls and women who have undergone FGM, and 40 million girls who have experienced both of these harmful practices” but that despite efforts and commitments to end gender based violence, it remains a serious issue, hindering young people from reaching their full potential.  

Officially opening the conference, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Youth Affairs, Hon. Mohamed Orman Bangura indicated that now is the time to invest in young people and promote dialogue and understanding across cultures and generations that would advance human rights for all people. “To ensure that development policies work for everyone, we must use human rights as our foundation. We must promote and protect the human rights of all young people, especially the most vulnerableones,” Minister Bangura said. 

He called on leaders to listen to the voices of young people and invest in them and ensure they become part of all decision-making processes. “It is time to carry the voices of young people forward to the United Nations Summit in September, where leaders will review progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” Minister Bangura said.

Also speaking at the event was Chernor Bah, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Purposeful Sierra Leone and Conference Host. “We are a feminist organization. It was exactly because of moment like this that Purposeful was put together. We believe in young people. We are particularly excited by the fact that almost half of the delegates would be young people who are leading the change, and who are the reason that we started Purposeful as an organization,” Bah said. 

The conference brings together Civil Society, Governments, UN Agencies, human rights activists and development partners for a dialogue on a common approach to ending violence against women and girls in Africa.

© John Baimba Sesay | Web and Media Analyst UNFPA

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Domestic Revenue Collected in Quarter 1, 2022 Recorded a Shortfall of Le 330Bn- Finance Minister.

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

“Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, following the impressive performance in 2021 on the back of the recovery in economic activities and improved tax administration, domestic revenue collection weakened during Quarter 1, 2022. Domestic revenue collected in Quarter 1, 2022, recorded a shortfall of Le 330 billion and was also lower than the amount collected during the same period in 2021. Several revenue streams were below their respective quarterly targets, including Petroleum Excise duties, Goods and Services Tax, Fisheries Royalties, and Timber Export Levy”, says Minister of Finance, Dennis Vandi.

He was presenting the Supplementary Government Budget and Statement of Economic and Financial Policies for the Financial Year, 2022 in the Well of Parliament on Friday.

The Minister said in general, the weak revenue performance can be attributed to the delay in adjusting fuel prices, reduced tax compliance, public resistance to tax reforms, especially the use of the Electronic Cash Register (ECR), and supply chain challenges in the export of bauxite and timber logs.

“Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, we are submitting to this Noble House a Supplementary Budget for the Financial Year 2022 for the following reasons: Firstly, the macroeconomic and fiscal assumptions that underlined the 2022 Budget no longer hold. As Russia and Ukraine are major suppliers of agricultural and energy products, including oil, gas, metals, wheat, corn and fertiliser, countries, including Sierra Leone, are already experiencing uncertain supplies and higher prices. The sharp rise in global food and energy prices coupled with the general uncertainty has slowed down domestic economic activities, undermined domestic revenue collection and created pressures on the budget.

“Secondly, given the urgent need to protect the poor and vulnerable from the soaring food and energy prices, we will adopt mitigating measures, which I will present later in this statement.

“Thirdly, given the need to ensure fiscal and debt sustainability and to facilitate the implementation of the emerging expenditure priorities, Government engaged development partners, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank, for the provision of additional financial resources. Thankfully, reflecting Government’s commitment to implementing policy reforms, the World Bank will provide additional budget support and project grants to support energy and education programmes. We also plan to use a larger share of additional Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) allocated by the IMF to support the budget. The African Development Bank is also providing support under the African Emergency Food Production Programme. 

“Fourthly, to expand the fiscal space to finance the emerging expenditure priorities, we are introducing additional tax policy and tax administration measures. These measures are aimed at increasing domestic revenues over and above the original projection

“Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, the key objectives of the Supplementary Budget are: (i) to safeguard macroeconomic stability through prudent fiscal and proactive monetary policies; (ii) to protect the vulnerable segments of our society from the higher food and fuel prices by expanding existing social safety programmes and enhancing support to the energy sector; and (iii) to complete the implementation of ongoing projects as outlined in the original 2022 budget.

Minister Vandi added that the April edition of the World Economic Outlook Report published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised the projected growth of the World economy for 2022 downwards to 3.6 percent compared to the 4.4 percent projected in January 2022. Global growth is forecast to average 3.3 percent in the medium-term.

He pointed out that in Sub-Saharan Africa, the pace of the recovery that started in the second half of 2021 has slowed down significantly, reflecting the uncertainties from the spillover of the war in Ukraine combined with the high and rising food, energy and fertiliser prices, adding that Growth in the region is projected to slow down to 3.8 percent in 2022 from 4.5 percent in 2021. 

“Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, global food and fuel prices have surged during the first half of this year, reaching levels not seen since 2007 and 2008 and are projected to remain high in the near and medium term. The price of Brent crude oil is projected to average $100 per barrel in 2022, a 42 percent increase from 2021 and its highest level since 2013. Agricultural commodity prices are forecast to rise by 18 percent this year, reflecting higher costs of inputs, including fuel, chemicals, and fertiliser. Inflation is therefore projected to remain elevated in all regions of the World in 2022”, he added.

The Minister of Finance continued by saying that the spillover effects of the war are negatively affecting all facets of our economy: slow GDP growth, high inflation, weak revenue performance, increase in Government expenditures, fall in foreign reserves and adverse terms of trade. The negative impact on key sectors, including agriculture, cannot be overemphasized. 

He explained that the growth prospects of the economy in 2022 are weaker than initially anticipated. “The disruption in fertiliser supply has led to a sharp increase in the global price of fertiliser. In Sierra Leone, the price of fertiliser, including urea, which commonly used by our farmers, has increased by more than 70 percent between January and June 2022. Against the background of the general uncertainty in the global economy, combined with higher food, fuel and fertiliser prices, the initial growth projection of 5.9 percent for 2022 has been revised downwards to 3.6 percent”.

He reiterated that this Budget is a continuation of a series of interventions including improving food security, deepening investments in human capital development and protecting all vulnerable groups to enhance our economy’s resilience to shocks. 

Mr. Vandi ended by commending the Supplementary Budget and Statement of Economic and Financial Policies for the 2022 Fiscal Year to the House.

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Today, Finance Minister Tables 2022 Supplementary Budget in Parliament.

Pursuant to Section 4, subsection 1 of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act, 2016, the Minister of Finance, Dennis K. Vandi will today present a Supplementary Budget for the Financial Year 2022 in the Well of Parliament at 10am.

Section 112 (1) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 authorizes the Minister responsible for finance to prepare and lay “before Parliament in each financial year estimates of the revenue and expenditures of Sierra Leone for the next following financial year.” In addition, sub-section 3, provides for the Minister to lay before Parliament a supplementary estimate when “the amount of moneys appropriated by the Appropriation Act for any purpose is insufficient or that a need has arisen for expenditure for the purpose for which no amount of money has been appropriated by that Act.

The Minister is also expected to give global and regional economic outlook in relation to Sierra Leone, and the impact of COVID-19 and gains of the Quick Action Economic Response Programme (QAERP) which has the overall goal of maintaining macro-economic and financial stability and mitigates the impact of the COVID-19 shock on businesses and households. Also on the effect of the Russia-Ukraine war on Sierra Leone’s economy. 

Vote Controllers, Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), State-Owned Enterprises, representatives of Development Partners Institutions, as well as Non-Governmental Organizations, District Budget Oversight Committee members, Local Community representatives, Non-State Actors, other Civil Society Organisations and members of the General Public are expected to witness the proceedings in the Well of Parliament.

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Trade Minister & Kuwait Minister of Commerce Discuss Investment Potential for Sierra Leone.

Trade Minister & Kuwait Minister of Commerce discuss Investment Potential for Sierra Leone

On the Margins of WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva, the Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Honourable Dr Edward Hinga Sandy, today held a productive bilateral meeting with his counterpart Minister of Commerce and Industry of Kuwait, His Excellency Mr Fahad Mutlaq Al-Shuraian. The pair discussed trade and investment opportunities in both countries. 

Minister Dr Sandy used the opportunity to articulate His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio’s positive record and transformational programme in updating Sierra Leone’s trade laws and policies aimed at creating the enabling environment for private sector investment, job creation, and guaranteeing a handsome investor return. 

The Minister of Trade and Industry maintained that the objective of Sierra Leone’s trade reform programme is to position Sierra Leone as the hub for trade and investment in the Mano River Basin.  

In his brief statement, the Trade Minister highlights the range of potential investment opportunities in Sierra Leone, citing the country’s successful transition from a war-ravaged nation to a leading example in Africa for peaceful elections, democratic governance, a rule of law nation and have had five successful transitions of governments through the ballot box. This is a nation that where businesses can thrive based on its favourable personal tax system and concessionary and competive cooperation tax regime. 

The Minister of Trade and Industry intimated his counterpart on possible Private sector areas for investment ranging from manufacturing, to agribusiness, to technology and the mining sectors in Sierra Leone.

In his response, the Minister of Commerce and Industry of Kuwait, Mr Fahad Mutlaq Al-Shuraian, thanked his colleague for the meeting and extended his felicitations on behalf of his Head of State, the Emir of Kuwait, His Highness Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Al-Sabah to His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio, the government and people of Sierra Leone. 

The Kuwaiti Minister said Sierra Leone and Kuwait should each serve as a staging post for each other in their respective regions to enable their entering into new markets and the build trade relations and infrastructure necessary for export and trade promotion. 

The Minister of Commerce assured of his government’s collaboration and cooperation with Sierra Leone. Adding that his Ministry will continue to encourage the private sector in Kuwait to seize the opportunity to trade and invest in Sierra Leone.

During this meeting, the two Ministers discussed several trade and investment opportunities including the need for a Bilateral Agreement between the two countries that will focus on specific sectors for growth, such as Agriculture, Manufactory, Tourism, Infrastructure, Transport and Aviation, and Energy among others.

At the end of the meeting, the Ministers registered mutual commitments to improve their two countries’ trade relations and discussed staging a planned Investment Conference in Kuwait to bring together investors in both countries.

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National Tourism Parliamentary Governance Conference Starts Today

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. 

© Information Unit, MTCA

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MTCA, NTB Validate Hospitality Management Curriculum.

MTCA, NTB validate Hospitality Management Curriculum

The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) and its subvented agency, the National Tourist Board (NTB) with support from the Enhanced Integrated Framework Tier 2 under the Sustainable Tourism Development and Promotion Project validated the final draft national integrated tourism, hotel and hospitality management curriculum for the tourism sector. The event was held at the Family Kingdom Resort, Aberdeen in Freetown.

In his opening remarks, the Director of Tourism, Mohamed Jalloh pinpointed that several reforms have been undertaken to address the longstanding challenges faced by the sector and thereby enhancing its competitiveness within the African continent, saying that issues relating to creation of an enabling environment for the sector to thrive, development of sites, robust and aggressive marketing among others are being addressed.

He continued that in complementing President Bio’s human capital development initiative they have embarked in an effort to improve the human resource capacity of the sector. He said the recently concluded training needs assessment highlighted weakness in human resource capacity as one of the biggest challenges faced by the sector due to an acute human resource capacity limitation, hence they hired a consultant to develop an integrated curriculum for the sector which will be utilized by educational institutions thereby strengthening their capacity. 

Articulating the rationale of the gathering, the General Manager of the National Tourist Board, Madam FatmataHamid Carew mentioned that despite the great opportunities in the sector, the sector continues to suffer from an acute human resource capacity limitation at all levels of the demand or service providers side, lack of highly qualified lecturers/trainers, weak contemporary tourism-related curriculum to inadequate modern training equipment which she said precipitated the need for the overhauling of the curriculum for the sector and the need to build the education infrastructure and capacity for the delivery of education in tourism and hospitality.

In her keynote address, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt intimated that lot has been done in putting the sector where it is today, and in order to actualize all these gains, the human resource capacity must be developed, as it also resonates with the mantra of President Bio’s human capital development drive. She maintained that the development of the human resource capacity of the sector is critical to the development of the sector, a reason she said they are providing a reference guide for the government of Sierra Leone through the Tertiary Education Commission for higher learning in tourism.

Dr. Pratt expressed her conviction that it was necessary to have a common template for tourism education in Sierra Leone. She thanked the EIF for their support in the development of the curriculum which she said will serve as a reference guide and a tool for tourism across the board. She added that they are working with the hotel association to ensure that the curriculum serves the short term courses and training needs in collaboration with existing institutions.

In his presentation of the curriculum, the Consultant, SylvanusBisodu Betts said they took two international universities in Kenya and New Zealand and two universities offering tourism in Sierra Leone as a case study for the formulation of the curriculum. He said after the completion of the courses, students will be able to understand the overall structure and operations of the tourism, hotel, hospitality industries in Sierra Leone and other parts of the world, under the roles and responsibilities of a hotelier among others. 

The chairman of the National Tourist Board, President of the hotel association and representative from the Tertiary Education Commission all made valuable inputs towards the discourse.

Group presentations on Bachelor of Science and Certificate and Diploma programs and the unanimous validation of the document climaxed the occasion.

© Information Unit, MTCA

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ACC Boss Elected Executive Member of AAACA

The Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Sierra Leone on Wednesday 22nd June, 2022, unanimously elected to serve in the Executive Committee as West African Regional Representative of the Association of Africa Anti-Corruption Authorities in the just concluded 5th Annual General Assembly meeting at the Royal Palace Hotel, Conference Centre, in Bujumbura, Burundi, East Africa.

The Executive Committee is the second highest body of the AAACA and has the responsibility to take care of the day to day affairs of the Association. Currently, the Secretariat of AAACA is in Bujumbura, Burundi. 

Francis Ben Kaifala continues to make Sierra Leone proud, as his unanimous endorsement is as a result of the the remarkable and exemplary gains he has made and continues to make in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone which the African continent continues to commend and be proud of.  His successes are well known and often referenced on the African Continent.

The erudite legal luminary, Commissioner Ben Kaifala the public may also recall was in 2020, unanimously elected to serve on the Africa Advisory Board on Corruption as member.

He is also the immediate past President of the Network of Anti-Corruption Institutions in West Africa (NACIWA).

Congratulations Commissioner for adding another feather to the cap of Sierra Leone on the Global Stage.

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Ahead of Five Bye-election Tomorrow, APC, SLPP Commit to Peace & Tolerance.

Alfred Peter Conteh (APC) & Dr. Robert Chakanda (SLPP)

 

The leadership of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) in the presence of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL), Office of National Security (ONS), the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), and the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) on Wednesday 22nd June 2022 signed a memorandum of Understanding ahead of the five (5) Bye-Elections on Saturday 25th June 2022.

In the MOU, both parties agreed to refrain from the use of obscene language, insulting songs, and hate speech against themselves and other state functionaries and to individually, collectively, and actively promote tolerance and condemn any act of violence and intimidation by their supporters and members throughout the electioneering cycle.

The parties also agreed to continue to obey the security sector’s ban on the use of political party marshals and that all political actors, party stalwarts, and non-accredited individuals who are not ordinarily resident nor eligible to vote in those elections must not be seen within the precincts of Polling Centres on polling day.

It was also agreed that party officials accredited will be allowed in the Constituency and Wards and that contesting political parties, their candidates, and supporters shall refrain from all forms of violence.

Parliamentary Bye-election will be conducted in Constituency 056 Tonkolili District, and Local Council Bye-Elections in Ward 031 in

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Kenema, Ward 138 in Falaba, Ward 212 in Karene, Wards 239 and 252 in Port Loko District On Saturday, 25th June 2022.

Sierra Leone and Saudi Arabia Sign Bilateral Agreement for Domestic and General Workers.

The Minister of Labour and Social Security of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mr. Alpha Osman Timbo and the Vice Minister for Labour Affairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Abdullah Nasser Abuthnain, have signed bilateral agreements for the recruitment of domestic and general workers between the two countries. 

The two agreements which were signed at the Hilton Honours Hotel in Riyadh by the two Ministers relate to the recruitment of domestic and general workers from Sierra Leone for both the Public and Private sectors in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Labour and Social Security of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mr. Alpha Osman Timbo, said he was in Saudi Arabia on behalf of His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, the Government and the people of Sierra Leone to sign the “workers’ recruitment agreements” which the two countries had been working on for the past two years. 

Mr. Timbo commended Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Dr. Ibrahim Jalloh and the Embassy for facilitating the process on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone. 

The Minister said the New Direction administration of President Bio believes in Human Capital Development, adding that Sierra Leone was looking forward to marketing its labour force globally, and Saudi Arabia was considered as one of those ideal places.

“Your Excellency, we believe with the signing of these agreements and ensuring that we regulate the process itself to ensure a smooth and orderly migration, both countries would benefit from the relationship. As a government, we believe in our people. Our country is predominantly Muslim and most of the people aspiring to come and work in Saudi Arabia are also Muslims and we also share similar cultures and values,” Mr. Timbo assured. 

He said he was confident that the two countries were sowing a seed that germinate to benefit generations yet unborn. 

Earlier, the Vice Minister for Labour, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Abdullah Nasser Abuthnain welcomed Mr. Timbo, noting that the Government of Saudi Arabia was pleased to sign the recruitment agreements with Sierra Leone. 

“Saudi Arabia values its bilateral relations with the Republic of Sierra Leone and we are pleased to gather here with you today on this special occasion for the signing of the recruitment agreements between our two ministries. These agreements would pave the way for fruitful bilateral cooperation in the labour field for both countries,” the Saudi Vice Minister for Labour Affairs noted.

Minister Timbo was accompanied by Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, his Deputy Mohamed Hassan Koroma, Rev. Dr. A.K Ocansey, Founder and CEO SOS Ghana and Consultant to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Head of Chancery, Ahmed Tejan Kabba, First Secretary, Mohamed S. Sankoh and the Information Attaché at the Embassy, Abubakarr Bah.

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Minister of Planning Receives CARL’s Report on the Impact of DCF on NGO Operations in Sierra Leone

The Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai has on Tuesday, 7th June 2022 received a report from the Centre for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL) and the Institute of Governance Reform (IGR) titled: “Mitigating the impact of COVID-19 Responses on Governance and Accountability Processes in Sierra Leone”, with support from the Irish Aid in Sierra Leone. 

The report presents an assessment of the impact of the Development Cooperation Framework (DCF) on NGOs and CSOs after two years of implementation by the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Planning and Economic (MoPED). It also discusses the implication of retaining the policy for NGOs/CSOs working in Sierra Leone. 

Making the presentation, the Irish Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Claire Buckley thanked the Ministry for their show of commitment to a spirit of partnership, which according to her, was evident in its setting up of a dedicated DCF Committee, comprising key NGO and national partners, to review the DCF/NGO regulations after two years of implementation. 

She said strengthening civil society capacity and space was an important policy and programming for Ireland, adding that the civil societies have a critical role in promoting inclusive and accountable democratic institutions and processes. 

On his part, the Minister thanked the Irish Ambassador for the support they have provided for the DCF review process, noting that it was very timely and coming at a time the DCF was been reviewed. 

He said that he was pleased that the document would contribute to the body of knowledge already available in the operation of the framework. 

“This particular document is spot on and I am sure it will inform the current review process conducted by the DCF Committee. The Irish Embassy are one of our key partners that cover very significant areas in our development trajectory”, said Dr. Kai-Kai. 

He said as a Ministry, they would continue to create the enabling environment for NGOs and CSOs to organise and engage with government.

As you may be aware, the Ministry had set up a committee that comprises NGOs, CSOs, and other partners to review the current Development Cooperation Framework— the regulatory policy guidelines for non-governmental organization in the country. 

©️MoPED COMMS TEAM

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Former Housemate Ina Cole Aims Big

Former Housemate Ina Cole Aims Big

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

Former Housemate and CEO of Luxury Beauty Queen, Ina Elizabeth Cole, is aiming at setting up a hair beauty company in Sierra Leone.

This is part of her plan after her exit from the 2022 Housemate Salone Reality TV Show on AYV where she spent two productive weeks.

Ina, raised by a single parent at Goderich, shared her experience with Tribune Times during her time in the House where she interacted with old friends and made new ones. She described her two-week stay in the House as a ‘good journey’.

“I feel excited when I was told I had qualified to enter the house. I was so so happy because I had got the feeling that they would not shortlist me. A lot of people made several attempts to go into the house but they could not succeed. I was actually surprised,” she says.

The 27-year-old hair vendor added: “When I entered the house, I showcased hair products. I was also helping in doing some domestic work.

“The experience in the house was awesome. I met people from different backgrounds, interacted with them and gained knowledge from them. My best friend in the House was Yeani. She was really friendly.

“My expectation was to stay much longer in the House. It was like a shock to me when my name was announced as one of the evictees, but I honestly learnt a lot in the House including how to be self-minded.”

Ina is planning to get a very big platform on the social media. “One of my platforms is the Luxury Beauty Queen. We aim to turn this into a manufacturing company in the near future,” she adds. 

Speaking on women’s empowerment, the former Houseman says she aims to upgrade women from doing hair sales, hair maintenance and hair plaiting to luxury design in the near future. “This would help keep women to remain engaged and prevent them from being bullied by men,” she remarks.

She surmises by thanking her fans, especially those who voted for her, her family and manager, Dalton Shyllon. 

According to Manager Shyllon, they want to make the Luxury Beauty Queen the ‘most wanted’ and talked about brand in the beauty industry. 

“The various platforms of Ina Elizabeth Cole will help bring children closer to her because of her soft spot for children, especially those under-privileged children.”

“Ina understands the plight those children are facing, so she knows what to do when it comes to their welfare. Some children in this Goderich community do not have parents. Some struggle for food on a daily basis,” Manager Dalton reveals.

He continues: “So this is the platform we are trying to build. We are also trying to have a Public Relations firm where Ina would be a Brand Ambassador to advocate for less-privilege children as well as promoting her luxury business.” 

“We have good hair products, and we are aiming for the biggest hair salon in Sierra Leone where we could have various factories and malls for air maintenance and other hair businesses,” he explains.

On Ina, Manager Shyllon says Ina did not only go into the Housemate Salone programme for the sake of it but to create a platform for a bigger project. “That’s what we are aiming at achieving. We know it’s going to be challenging, but we know with the help of the media, we will pull it through.”

He states that Ina Elizabeth Cole is also qualified to work as PR Consultant and Brand Ambassador. 

Meanwhile, Ina attended St. Joseph’s Secondary School and later went to Ghana where she studied Database Technology at IPMC in Accra.

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International Trade Centre Applauds MUNAFA Fund

Trade Minister, Dr. Edward Hinga Sandy 

By Mohamed Sheriff, Information Attaché, Geneva, Switzerland

The Honourable Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Edward Hinga Sandy, accompanied by the Chief Director and Professional Head of the Ministry, Mr Emmanuel Konjoh, held a closed-door meeting with the leadership of the International Trade Centre (ITC) and discussed wide range of issues around Trade Governance Architecture and the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AFCFTA) implementation in Serra Leone.

The International Trade Centre is a joint agency of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The meeting was hosted by the ITC. 

The Sierra Leone delegation was welcomed by ITC’s Deputy Executive Director, Madam Dorothy N. Tembo, and the Chief of Africa Division and Programme Manager for EU-funded West Africa Competitiveness Project (WACOMP), Yared Defecado. 

In her remarks, the ITC Deputy Executive Director, Madam Dorothy N. Tembo, commended Sierra Leone for its initiatives in helping businesses grow back better from the COVID -19 pandemic and made a special commendation of the “MUNAFA FUND” launched by His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) especially those owned by women which account for 70% of beneficiaries. 

The Deputy Executive Director further maintained that the importance of such an innovative financing model is critical to poverty reduction among the ordinary people, and emphasized the ITC would like to closely study, evaluate and learn from Sierra Leone’s ‘’MUNAFA FUND’’ implementation experience and roll it out to other countries for possible programme intervention in future crisis situations.

She assured the Minister of Trade and Industry of her organisation’s commitment to continuing to work with Sierra Leone, and that a New Country Work Programme will be developed for implementation in the near future.

In his response, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Honourable Dr Edward Hinga Sandy, thanked the International Trade Centre Senior Management team for the warm reception accorded to him and his delegation and praised the ITC for its current programme of work in Sierra Leone.

He said the need to build the capacity of MSMEs to becomeexport-ready and market-competitors is critical to the overall private sector development agenda of President Dr Julius Maada Bio’s government. 

Dr Sandy further maintained that the lack of Trade Statistics undermines the design and development of policies and urged the International Trade Centre to work with his Ministry to address this challenge supporting it to roll out the “One Trade Africa Observatory”. 

On the West Africa Competitiveness Project (WACOMP), the Trade Minister noted that the impact is being felt by the beneficiaries within the four (4) value chains identified and that more is urgently needed to enable MSMEs to take advantage of the numerous preferential market opportunities available to them. 

In the end, both parties agreed to continuous engagement to channel necessary support to private sector actors in Sierra Leone and provide them with access to trade supporting institutions around the globe.

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SLAJ Prexy Urges Media Owners to Comply with NASSIT & NRA Regulations

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

The President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, has urged media owners to comply with the regulations of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) and National Revenue Authority (NRA).

He made this call during his speech at SLAJ’s Triennial General Meeting in Makeni on the theme: “Towards an Economically Viable and Independent Media”.

“How do we ensure the welfare of our reporters? This is an age-old problem of the media industry in this country”, he said, adding that When media houses become economically viable entities, it should naturally reflect in the welfare of reporters or journalists. “That is why we are urging all media owners to adopt new and innovative approaches to their operations.

“We also urge us all to be compliant with NASSIT and NRA regulations, and for the IMC to be robust in ensuring compliance.

“In the meantime, we are also working with the Sierra Leone Reporters Union (SLRU), probably the largest affiliate body of SLAJ and the most affected by what we have repeatedly described as poverty of the media, in their engagement with the Ministry of Labour to acquire a bargaining certificate that will help to address their welfare situation,” he remarked.

On the significance of his call, President Nasralla said the welfare of journalists is so close to the heart of his administration that in the ongoing AGM, they want to begin discussion on financial inclusion of journalists. “We have invited Mr. Solomon Mwongyere, General Manager ILCUF Ltd to talk to our members about managing personal finances using the credit union model where journalists will be encouraged to own, use, control and benefit from credit unions. Journalists can save and take credit at low interest rates”, the President noted.

Speaking on self-regulation, Mr. Nasralla said public interest journalism depends on economic viability, independence and professionalism of the media, calling on all journalists to take that route now.

“To support this path, the Disciplinary Committee (DC) is now very active in promoting adherence to the SLAJ Code of Ethics. Under the NED project to promote professionalism in the media sector in Sierra Leone, the DC is now supported to do its work with the help of District Media Monitors across the country. The DC recently embarked on provincial trips to appraise the work of the monitors and to hear cases of professional misconduct and threats against the work of the media. They are expected to submit a report to the general body during this conference.

“On Friday night, we will continue with our Annual National Media Awards which also seeks to recognize excellence and promote professionalism in the media sector,” he explained.

He ended by thanking Government for fulfilling its promise in giving SLAJ One Billion Leones as subvention for 2021 and 2022.

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New Leones Take Effect 1st July 2022.

New Leones Take Effect 1st July 2022

The Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) says Redenomination starts on 1st July 2022 with the New Leones used side by side with the Old Leones until 30th Sept. 2022, and use of Old Leones will stop on 1st Oct. 2022 but can still be exchanged at BSL from 1st Oct. till 15th Nov. 2022 when it will cease to be legal tender. 

According to a Public Notice signed by the Bank Governor, Professor Kelfala M. Kallon, the redenominated currency shall become legal tender on 1st July, 2022, pursuant to Section 1 (3) of the Redenomination of the Leone (Characteristics) Regulations 2021. 

“The existing currency shall continue to be legal tender (concurrently with the redenominated currency) for a transition period 1st October, 2022”, the notice states.

It adds “The existing currency shall cease to be legal tender effective 1st October, 2022”.

The notice also says “Notwithstanding [the above], from 1stOctober to 15th November, 2022, the public may exchange the existing currency for the redenominated currency free of charge at the Bank or such other places designated by the Bank.”

“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.”

The notice ends by saying that all provisions herein shall remain in force unless otherwise stated in a subsequent Public Notice issued by the Bank and published in the Gazette.

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Parliament Passes The National Electronic Communication Act 2022.

The Parliament of Sierra Leone has on Wednesday 22/06/2022 passed into law with some amendments the bill entitled, “The National Electronic Communication Act 2022”, after committing it to the Legislative Committee for further scrutiny.

The bill seeks to establish the National Communications Authority and to provide for the licensing and regulation of electronic communication operators and other related matters.

Earlier, the bill has been debated intensively by Members of Parliament, outlining its positive effects on the development of information and technology for the nation.

The Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Solomon Jamiru Esq. piloted the enactment of the said bill.

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SLRSA Cautions Scrap Metal Dealers.

By Hassan Nelson Barrie, SLRSA Outreach & Communications

Executive members of the Sierra Leone Scrap Metal Dealers Association on Wednesday June 22, 2022 met with the Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority [SLRSA] at the Authority’s headquarters Kissy Road, Freetown.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss some key issues identified by the Authority relating to the business of scrap metals in the Country.

Addressing the meeting, the Executive Director, Rev. Smart Kelson Senesie expressed appreciation to the Executive members of the Association for responding to the call of the Authority. He disclosed that, scrap metal was a very important business as they provide employment and pay taxes to the government. The E.D advised the Association to operate within the confines of the law.

The Executive Director highlighted some key concerns which he requested both the scrap metal dealers and the Authority to jointly address some of these concerns were: sale of vehicles as scrap and the disposal of Vehicle Number Plates without reference to the Authority. He said vehicle number plates were the property of the SLRSA therefore, they must be returned to the Authority before the sale of any vehicle as scrap.

He informed the meeting that, the Authority had a mandate to keep data of all vehicles in the country and added that, for a vehicle to be sold as scrap without the return of the registration plate will distort the data of vehicles in the country. Rev. Smart admonished the Association to collaborate with the Authority in order to address the concerns raised.

The President of the Association, Abdulai Daboh informed the meeting that, the Association had a membership of over 29,000 people. He said they deal in Brass, Copper, Aluminum, Plastic and Batteries. He however, noted that, as an Executive they had cautioned their membership to always do legal business and also to desist from buying government assets without going through due process.

Acting Director of Transport SLRSA, Daniel C. Kaitibie said the SLRSA was the government agency responsible for the regulation of the road transport industry with a responsibility to keep data of all registered vehicles in the country and warned against the disposal of vehicles as scraps without the approval of the Authority.

Public Relations Manager SLRSA, Mr. Abdul Karim Dumbuyanoted that, the storage of scrap metals in certain environments and movement through push carts “omolankay” was a challenge to Road Safety as pedestrians were often exposed to danger.

He called for the development of policies and regulations to guide the disposal of vehicles as scraps.

Other notable contributions were made by the Planning Manager Mr. James Stevens and Research and Development Manager Mr. Ambrose Tucker.

The meeting was chaired by the SLRSA company secretary Mr. Abu Bakarr Sheriff who reminded the scrap metal dealers that, rights go with responsibility and appealed to them to always be mindful of their rights and responsibilities when plying their trade.

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Our Goal is to Achieve Zero Out-Of-School-Children in Sierra Leone, President Bio Says.

By Cyril Barnes, Information Attaché, Sierra Leone Embassy, State of Kuwait

Sierra Leone’s President, His Excellency Dr Julius Maada Bio, has re-echoed his government’s objective to achieve zero Out-of-School Children by continuing to invest in the Free Quality Education programme for Sierra Leone.

His Excellency Dr Julius Maada Bio made this disclosure during his meeting with the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development in Doha. 

He thanked the Foundation for the opportunity to meet and speak about shared interests in education. Recalling four months into his presidency, the President prioritized education and launched the Free Quality Education programme, realizing that investing in human capital was pivotal to developing the nation. 

He added that the primary objective of the Free Quality Education was to cater for free tuition; however, the scope was broadened to provide school feeding, free transportation, core textbook, teaching and learning materials and radical inclusion to break the barriers to children acquiring quality education. 

“My government identified education as the key to inclusive and sustainable national development; we have initiated radical inclusion to provide access to education for pregnant girls, learners with disabilities and the poor to go to school. 

“Our goal is to achieve the zero Out -Of-School-Children. My government has conducted a study on Out-of-School children and will launch a strategy to handle the problem. The strategy will inform how, as a nation, we tackle this crisis and further work to 100% access to education for all learners,” the President said. 

He ended by calling for partnerships to ensure access to quality education globally. 

Speaking about her role in boosting the self-esteem of the girl child, Her Excellency the First Lady, Madam Fatima Maada Bio, disclosed that her duty during these four years has been primarily to encourage the girl child to acquire education despite the posing challenges. She furthered that the objective was to inspire them to contribute to nation-building. 

Responding to the His Excellency the President’s inspirational presentation, Dr Mazen Jassim Jaidah of Qatar Foundation noted that Sierra Leone and the State of Qatar had shared aspirations of providing quality education for all. He revealed that Qatar Foundation created the foundations for education, research, development, and innovation; and would continue its journey to make a positive impact, locally and internationally. 

Mr. Fahad Al-Sulaiti, CEO of Education Above All Foundation, thanked the President for providing the political will to support quality education, adding that they had been working with Sierra Leone’s Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education to provide support for approximately 45,000 Out-Of-School-Children (OOSC) in Sierra Leone at an estimated cost of $4 million. He also pointed out that the two governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the commencement of the project during the Doha Forum in March 2022. 

He assured the President of their commitment to ensuring Sierra Leone achieve the zero Out-Of-School-Children goal in partnership with the World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF and other development partners.

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SLCA, PALS Engage 150 Participants on Softball and Baseball.

To bolster the work of batsmen and to improve overall cricket performance, the Sierra Leone Cricket Association (SLCA) partnered with the Philadelphia Adults League Softball (PALS) to engage over one hundred and fifty participants drawn from different backgrounds and age brackets on the basics of softball and baseball.

Early this week at the Kingtom Oval, the SLCA received 18 officials from PALS of which 15 come from America and 3 from Bolivia to conduct joint training on softball and baseball.

The delegation donated cricket equipment to SLCA to enhance the Association’s preparation ahead of four cross-border tournaments and to strengthen the existing ties between the two institutions.

Speaking during the training, the Chairman of SLCA, Francis Trevor Samura, said holding exercises on the basics of softball and baseball serves to introduce a new sport in Sierra Leone. “And for us in cricket, the baseball is very important. Once one is able to play baseball, one should be able to be a better batsman. The difference between the cricket bat and that of the baseball bat is that the baseball bat is round whilst the cricket one is flat, so one needs high concentration, timing and good sight to hit the baseball.  Once one is able to get these skills right, one should be able to be a better cricketer,” he explained.

Thrilled by its novelty and its skill-packed movements, the enthralled attendees vowed to keep the games playing even after the departure of the strangers.

Addressing participants,  PALS Directors, Kelly O’ Connor and Steve O’Connor, promise to give their all to see Softball and Baseball play in order to contribute positively to the development and empowerment of youths in the country.

“ We run a Softball league in the United States, and we are here partnering with different organizations to roll out the Softball and Baseball programmes for young people to first get involved by having fun trying a new sport and learning something new, but also to teach them more about Softball and Baseball. The goal is to have it as a long term programme, so we are working with the Sierra Leone Cricket Association and some football clubs. We will be providing training resources and equipment so that these programmes will be sustainable, “ Kelly O’Connor said. 

The programme climaxed with donations of cricket equipment and school materials for kids.

© SLCA Media and IT Department

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

ACC Partner with Advocate for Social Justice in Kono.

ACC and ASJD staff after the engagement

In its drive to enhance integrity in the management of public funds and public procurement processes, the Kono Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has engaged staff of the Advocate for Social Justice and Development(ASJD), a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Kono, on anti-corruption laws and best practices in the management of public and donor funds. The event took place at the ASJD conference room in Koidu on 21st June, 2022.

 

The customized meeting, according to the ACC Regional Manager, Hawanatu Omotayo Kamara, was to engage and educate the ASJD staff on various issues of corruption and to ensure best practices in their operations. She also noted that the engagement will serve as a platform to map out areas of collaboration in identifying corruption risks and vulnerabilities as well as mitigating same. The Manager stated that corruption is a sensitive issue in the NGO world, something that requires a clear understanding to determine its true scale, nature, effects on service delivery and ways to prevent it.

Explaining the mandate of the Commission in the fight against corruption, Senior Public Education Officer Sam P Gogra,expressed dismay that most times NGOs, contractors and suppliers are often reluctant to talk about corruption for fear that it will lead to bad publicity, unavailability of contracts, and consequent  loss of funds. According to him, such funds secured for and on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone are public funds and by extension their activities and operations are covered by the ACC laws. 

Mr Gogra stated that the fight against graft is not done in a fire brigade manner and it therefore requires the need to engagethem on various issues of corruption and for them to institute anti-corruption measures whiles implementing donor projects. 

Commenting on key corruption issues in public procurement and activities of his organisation, the Executive Director of ASJD Arthur Kargbo, thanked the ACC for partnering with them to fight corruption. According to him, their office has codes and anti-corruption policies in their internal operations. He said that their partnership with the ACC will give credence to their activities in the district and can also help them act as whistleblowers for corruption activities within their operational areas.

Mr Kargbo said that their activities are based on development and they have been operating in Kono District and beyond on education, health and mining, to ensure transparency and accountability in service delivery. He said that they often follow best practices to procure goods and services. He registered his office’s support to the activities of the ACC.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

ACC Convey Integrity Messages to School Pupils on Day of African Child.

Pupils from various schools at the engagement

By Alex A. Bah – Communications Officer, ACC

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on 16th June, 2022, engaged over pupils from various schools in the Western Area in commemoration of the Day of the African Child. The engagement took place at the Cathedral Hall in Freetown and it brought together members of Integrity Clubs set up by the ACC in schools, teachers and school authorities to discuss issues of integrity, examination malpractices, among others

Giving the welcome address, Deputy Commissioner of the ACC, Augustine Foday Ngobie, gave a brief history of the day, noting that the children of South Africa were very instrumental in taking action against injustice and bad governance, which are the upshot of corruption. “You are expected to stand up for what is right, no matter the consequence,” he said whilst encouraging the pupils to support the anti-corruption cause. 

Chairing the occasion, Director of Public Education and External Outreach, Patrick Sandi, encouraged the pupils to commit themselves to the cause of fighting corruption. He noted that poverty is never an incentive to engage in corruption, and that a person can be rich and still be corrupt.

There was a panel discussion on the topic ‘The Impact of Examination Malpractices on the Attainment of Quality Education: Ways Forward’ moderated by journalist Samuel Wise Bangura of the AYV Television. 

During the panel discussion, Jammie Victoria Sankoh, Public Relations Manager of the Teaching Service Commission, described integrity as a personal value, adding that low salaries should never be an incentive for corruption. “We have grown up seeing teachers that earn way less than what most teachers earn now, yet they prided themselves in upholding integrity, while at the same time they respected the code that guides their profession,” she added.

“If we uphold the values of integrity, then we can eliminate examination malpractices,” Tamba Deen Kamara, Head of Communications, Civil Rights Coalition, also noted whilst underscoring the dangers of examination malpractice and the importance of sanitizing the education sector. 

A question and answer session climaxed the engagement.

L-R: Tamaba Deen Kamara, Head of Communications, Civil Rights Coalition; Jammie Victoria Sankoh, Public Relations Manager, Teaching Service Commission; Antoniette Horton, Principal, JSS, Annie Walsh Memorial School; Augustine Foday Ngobie, Deputy Commissioner, ACC; Patrick Sandi, Director, PEOD, ACC; Samuel Wise Bangura, of AYV Television

 

Deputy Commissioner, ACC, Augustine Foday Ngobie, giving the welcome address

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

29 Early Childhood Development Centres to be Constructed in two Districts.

By Augustine Sankoh, Strategic Communications Analyst, MBSSE

The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) with support from the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will be constructing twenty-nine (29) Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres in Karene and Moyamba Districts.

According to Mr. Emmanuel Alie, the National Coordinator Global Partnership for Education, 20 0f these centres will be constructed in Karene and the remaining 9 in Moyamba District.

He said evaluation and assessment of bids is in progress by UNICEF which is the grant agent.

He said last year in September, MBSSE completed the construction of 30 new ECD centres in three districts (Bombali, Pujehun and Kambia) in Sierra Leone which according to him open doors to an estimated 2,100 children that benefitted. 

The ECD landscape in Sierra Leone has been fraught with challenges and poor outcomes. Sierra Leone has one of the highest maternal, new-born and under five mortality rates, stunting, high rates of poverty, and poor learning outcomes globally. 

The current government’s commitment to human capital development, enables the country to achieve middle income status by 2035; it is necessary for governments to prioritizeinvestment in ECD. The development of a clear policy framework to provide directions and guidance for structuring equitable access to quality ECD cannot be overemphasized.

This national Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) policy provides an overarching framework with shared vision, mission, goals, and objectives for the delivery of holistic ECD interventions and services for all children ages 0 to 8 years; and ensures that all Sierra Leonean children have the best start in life and are able to achieve their full potential.

Early Childhood Development is about the overall wellbeing and welfare of a child as it encompasses the child’s cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor development. Early Childhood Development (ECD) is recognized as a critical foundation for fostering positive lifelong outcomes, human capital development and sustainable national development.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

MBSSE, Stakeholders meet on the guidelines for school approval and use of school subsidies.

By Augustine Sankoh, Strategic Communications Analyst, MBSSE

The Leadership of the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) has held a day meeting with MBSSE personnel in the districts, the Teaching Service Commission, Paramount Chiefs, Parliamentarians, Local Council authorities, Sierra Leone Police, Anti-Corruption Commission and other stakeholders in education to discuss the guidelines on the approval of schools and the use of school subsidies.

The meeting took place on Tuesday, 21st June 2022 at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown.

“We want judicious use of the school subsidies. Over the past four years, the subsidy paid per term has risen significantly from Le 30.1 Billion to about Le 60 Billion in the last term. We think that some of these monies have not been going for the purpose they are meant; that is why we call people so tell them how the subsidy should be spent,” according to the Free Quality School Education (FQSE) Coordinator Mr. Amara Sowa.

He said after the workshop, school authorities should not have any excuse for the misuse of school subsidies, noting that that is why they invited the ACC, Audit Service Sierra Leone, Ministry of Finance and the Sierra Leone Police because these are institutions that normally hold them (Ministry of Education) to account and they should be part of the rolling out of the guidelines.

The Director of Planning and Policy in the MBSSE Mrs. AdamaMomoh corroborated what was said by Mr. Sowa, adding that some schools are using almost all the subsidies to give allowances to board members and paying of teachers that are not on payroll.

She said there are also schools that are claiming to have a certain number of pupils which is not true, just so that they can have more subsidies.

In her keynote address, the Deputy Minister l Mrs. Emily K. Gogra calls on her audience and every Sierra Leone to prioritize the education of their children, adding that regular visitation of schools will keep the teachers on their toes and also increase learning outcomes.

He commended stakeholders present for the gains made in education thus far and called on them to keep working hard.

According to the School Approval Guideline, there are two levels of School Approvals: level One approval which is authorized to operate as a school which is required for all schools and all school types, and level two approval which are eligible to receive financial support.

Schools must have Level One Approval before applying for level two.

A Level One Approved school becomes eligible to submit a Level Two Approval application after one full school year of being a Level One Approved school.

Private schools are not eligible to receive Level Two Approval, and would have to change ownership type.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Day Break Column

Thursday 9th June, 2022 there was fuel shortage across Freetown. 100s of commercial vehicles, kekeh and commercial motorbikes (okadas) were in queues at various filling stations finding ways to get their tanks filled. 

Some concerned citizens told this medium that fuel regulators are planning to increase fuel products to either Le 18,000 or Le 20,000.

Kekeh and commercial motorbike riders are not helping the situation; they have been overloading and over pricing commuters.

Some commuters especially WASSCE candidates who were rushing to exams hall for Mathematic, and average business persons did not have a choice but to succumb to the new price from the Kekeh riders and motorbike riders.

Barracks old Road motorbike riders have been demanding Le 7000 from Sierra Leoneans to take them from Shell Old Road to Upgun, and Kekeh riders are demanding same for the same destination.

Only few Poda podas were on the road yesterday morning. 

100s of other commuters in Waterloo and Jui junctions werepatiently waiting for vehicles to take them to their various destinations. 

On the flip side, the few Poda podas on the road had been engaging in overloading and exploiting commuters. They were asking them to Le 5000 from Jui junction to Texaco and Shell. The current government price from Jui junction to town is Le 3,500 and from Bombay Street to Waterloo Le 5,500 but unfortunately majority of the drivers and conductors (apprentice) were demanding Le 6000 yesterday. Vehicles plying Water to Bombay were stopping halfway (Jui), charging Le 5000. They always take advantage of the situation, exploiting poor citizens. 

The reason for the closure of some filling stations across Freetown was not clear but it is believed it’s because of the imminent increase in fuel price.

Copyright © Hero’s Media Newspaper

Internews School- Female Teachers and Pupils on Digital Safety

 

 

By Moses Kay Fembeh

The Safe Sisters Fellowship (Internews) in collaboration with the Women and Girls Initiative in Sierra Leone, has held a training session on digital safety for female teachers and pupils on digital safety at Baptist Convention Primary School,Gloucester village, Freetown. 

Four primary schools with a total number of 28 people attended the first ever digital safety training.

Ms. Christiana Sagba is a member of Internews- Safe Sisters Salone. She is also the Founder and Director of Women and Girls Initiative Sierra Leone, established on 11 October, 2018 with the aim of giving every girl and young woman an opportunity to be strong, confident and physically fit for socioeconomic drive and other empower benefits. 

Delivering her keynote address, Sagba urged teachers and pupils to serve as agents of positive change, saying they should put into practice every information giving to them to keep them safer from internet fraudsters who come around pretending to be lovers.

She further spoke on the reason for the digital safety training for female teachers and pupils: “Our Sierra Leonean women and other women in Africa are sometimes bullied by the men in society and therefore, if any man or stranger sends a friend request and eventually message to date you, you have to be extra careful”.

The Founder and Director of Women and Girls Initiative Sierra Leone told this medium that the digital safety drive will not only be limited to the Gloucester community but will be taken to other parts of the country. “We are seeking for fund to foster this initiative nationwide”, she said.

She continued by saying that women and girls must be careful not to send their naked pictures to social media boyfriends and not to give their passwords to others for recharge or megabytes, adding that women and girls should not use simple password numbers or letters. “The essence of doing this is to save you and your personal information including bank details and private conversations”, she noted.

Head teacher of Baptist Convention Primary School in Gloucester Village, Mrs. Safinatu appreciated the digital safety initiative, thanking Ms. Christiana for her philanthropic ambition. She promised that they as Community stakeholders will work together to make sure the initiative continues in the community where pupils and teachers would serve as ambassadors. 

Felicia Moseray a class six thanks Ms. Sagba for the digital training and also promised that she will help sensitize her peer group on the positive and negative use of the internet. 

One of the participants from Church of Christ Primary School,Janet Dumbuya promised that she will deliver what she has leartn during the program to her fellow teachers and pupils to help spread the good news.

Admonishing parents, Ms. Sagba said parents should be best friends to their kids. “There must be open communication among them, and parents/guidance must stop letting their kids watch Nigerian & Ghanaian movies”.

She recommended cartoon and other kids’ movies, adding that “kids must be kids, our kids should use the internet for educational materials, not for pornography or other harmful things that have the tendency to endanger their future”, she ended.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

HRCSL Staff Trained on Gender Sensitive Dimensions

HRCSL Staff trained on Gender Sensitive Dimensions 

With support from the United Nations Development Programme and Irish Aid, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) has trained new staff in gender sensitive dimensionsof the United Nation’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The training at the Civil Service Training College, Tower Hill on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th June, 2022 was spearheaded by the Directorates of Gender and Children’s Affairs and Business and Human Rights and Labour Relations. The aim was to strengthen the capacity and knowledge of staff to handle gender issues in business and human rights.

Director of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Madam Gloria Bayoh, described the training as timely and important as new staff were able to understand what the United Nation’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, especially in relation to gender sensitive issues is all about.

She urged participants to make good use of the training by putting into practice the knowledge gained.

 

Also, Deputy Director and Head of Business and Human Rights and Labour Relations, Abdulai Yollah Bangura said it is the first time the Commission is organizing training for staff on business and human rights in relation to gender issues and therefore urged staff to take it seriously.

“This training is to make us understand the trending things in the regions, especially those connected to businesses,” he said.  

Presentations during the second session include; Women’s Rights and SGBV in Companies and Host Communities by the Chairperson; Madam Patricia Narsu Ndanema, Understanding the Business and Human Rights Ahenda and UNGPs by Head of Business and Human Rights Directorate; Abdulai Yollah Bangura, Mechanisms for Monitoring Business andHuman Rights in Sierra Leone by the Executive Secretary; Joseph Kamara and Categories of Rights Affected by Business Operations by Moses Massquoi.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Sumaila Town Resident blast EDSA

Energy Minister, Alhaji Kanja Sesay

The residents of Sumaila Town have expressed their utter dissatisfaction regarding the manner in which the Electricity and Distribution Authority (EDSA) is distributing electricity. 

Reports say the community has gone 14 days without electricity with no one saying anything about it.

Residents say they last had electricity on May 28th, 2022. Since then, they say the community has been dwelling in complete darkness, leaving them in deplorable conditions.

Momoh Kamara, one of the residents, expressed his disappointment over the current situation, calling on EDSA to act like a sober institution.

“Why is EDSA behaving like this? For two complete weeks they have deprived us from electricity. Aren’t we citizens of Sierra Leone? Why have they chosen to treat us this way? We are honestly not happy with them. All our food go bad because of this annoying blackout,” he said.

This medium has learnt that residents of Sumaila Town have suffered from attacks by thieves at night; some even lost their personal effects as a result. They say the entire community is unsafe at night because of the consistent blackout. 

Marian Senesie, a mother of two, told this press that her children find it difficult to study at night because of the blackout. “The one who’s currently taking the WASSCE Exams uses candle to study, which is not healthy for his eyes,” she explained.

She called on EDSA to step up by doing the needful. “I believe EDSA are just too wicked. Why are they not giving us light? Why are they not saying anything to us? They are not doing us any favour because we are paying for it. This is the worst institution in Sierra Leone”, angry Marian lamented.

Councillor Augustine L. Bangura has on several occasions called on authorities to solve the electricity challenge his community is facing but to no avail. 

Sumaila Town, situated back of Winners Chapel Church, has been deprived of constant electricity for several years and residents have been asking, but they haven’t been given any answers.

We reached out to the EDSA Public Relations Officer, Sahr Nepor, for response but has refused to comment on this very important issue.

Copyright © Hero’s Media Newspaper

UN Resident Coordinator calls for reflection on conditions of detention.

 

 

 

United Nations Resident Coordinator Babatunde Ahonsi has encouraged senior-level staff of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service (SLCS) to reflect on the conditions of detention and the complaint mechanisms available for the detainees in corrections centres across the country.

 

Mr Ahonsi made the call on Wednesday at the opening of a three-day training for senior-level staff of the SLCS on Conditions of Detention and Human Rights at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Freetown.

 

The RC said that during his various engagements with the highest authorities of the country, including the office of the Vice-President, the need for the UN to support the capacity building of the staff of the SLCS often emerged. Therefore, he described the training as timely and hoped that it would contribute to staff development and the reform of the correctional service that the government is undertaking.

 

According to the UN Resident Coordinator, “the programme of the training is adequate as is the calibre of the facilitators involved, from the SLCS, the UN, the Human Rights Commission of SL, the Legal Aid Board and civil society organizations”. He noted that participants would also discuss issues including the rights of persons deprived of liberty, roles, and responsibilities of correction officers and, security and management of correctional centres.

 

The RC underscored the UN’s belief that all people, regardless of their backgrounds, have rights and responsibilities to fulfil their potential in life and lead decent, dignified, and rewarding lives in a healthy environment. 

 

“None should be left behind in this journey to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said Mr Ahonsi, adding that the training will contribute to the achievement of various sustainable development goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 16 – promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.

 

In his welcome remarks, Acting SLSC Director-General, Mr Ahmed Turay, said he was deeply honoured that 30 senior officers of the SLCS were partaking in the training. He said this would strengthen the knowledge and skills of officers to perform their duties with the human rights of inmates in mind.

 

The Acting DG said the SLCS Act of 2014 lays a premium on the recognition of the rights of inmates irrespective of the crimes they have committed. Noting that human rights are directly reflected in the SLSC’s mission statement, he assured partners that the Correctional Service is willing, ready, and able to utilize the training opportunity as it will enhance his officers’ ability to effectively and efficiently manage correctional facilities.

 

Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, Minister of Internal Affairs Mr David Maurice Panda-Noah said that it was fitting that such training is organized for Corrections officers to remind them once more that they are under obligation to uphold human rights principles, especially in the dispensation of their duties.

 

Minister Panda-Noah underscored the importance of Human Rights for Correction Officers when one takes into consideration the value it will add to the SLCS and the country. “It will provide them with the psychological tools, the requisite knowledge and skills, and the right attitude to perform their duties in accordance with national and international laws on the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty,” he emphasized.

 

United Nations Country Team in Sierra Leone Senior Human Rights Advisor, Christian Mukosa, said the training aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of senior staff of the SLCS on the rights of the detainees with a focus on prisoners with specific needs, including women, juveniles, persons with disabilities and foreigners. He added that participants would discuss and produce an action plan to implement the various human rights principles and recommendations from the training during these three days. 

 

Over the next three days, senior-level Corrections Officers will be exposed to human rights principles of good prison management, prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment, women in detention, and prevention of gender-based violence in correctional settings, and pre-trial prisoners and legal assistance to persons in detention, among others.

Copyright © Heros Media Newspaper

BLACK TAX IN SIERRA LEONE

Black tax is a system where African/ black professionals are expected to cater for the rest of the family, whether immediate or extended. Such expectations are mostly placed on the first child of the family, but it goes for every young educated professional. In a country where extended family links are prevalent, you can understand how embedded the black tax system is for young professionals. No wonder everyone is in a rush to make the soft life rather than put in the hard work and getting the results.

In our African cultures, it is impressed on us from childhood, especially firstborns that the prosperity of our family rests on our shoulders. We are taught to be a piece of a whole, and our parents intentionally impress certain characters in us to make us feel responsible to honour the black tax. Statements like “remember where you are coming from, and know where you are going” are re-echoed throughout our lives. With little or no preparation, the responsibility of providing for your immediate and extended family will rest on you immediately you can lift your head above water. We take on these roles, sometimes unconsciously. We see it as a way of paying back our families for their sacrifices or so we think. Black tax is mostly driven by guilt because of how we were raised.

Black Tax can be just the feeling of entitlement or the expectation by some people who think they should have access to your finances. Through community words or action they will tag you “the umbrella in the family”. When you hear such sentiments, run, don’t get lost in them. Most times, these statements are from people who did not contribute in any shape or form towards your wellbeing, they never cared. The moment you make something of your life you are in trouble. They try to create a benefactor position in your life with statements like ‘Na we men am ooo’ (meaning: we raised him/her). The black tax is one of the reasons responsible for low savings and capital accumulation by young people and hence they cannot make investments that will take them out of poverty. The recipients of black tax sometimes think you owe them. And so they’ll spend/mismanage whatever they receive from you. The sad part is they’ll come demanding your help because they know you are unable to say NO.

This system has led to a lot of financial and mental stress on young professionals since they most times find it difficult to say No. This is particularly so when the demand is coming from their parents. To be honest, most African parents are good at manipulating and gaslighting their children either for themselves or for other members of the household/community. So it is very important as young educated professionals we figure out ways to cope with this system. We should learn how to read and see through their demands and make informed decisions based on our budget.

LET ME SHARE WITH YOU SOME  TIPS ON HOW TO DEAL WITH BLACK TAX.

1. Don’t you ever make the mistake of giving them everything they asked for, they will think you have a lot and will come again.
Start by giving a fraction – half or a quarter of what they asked for.

 2. If you are finding it difficult to say NO, then focus on giving only towards important things that will make an impact on their lives. Focus on certain things that you consider serious such as health and education.

3. Choose one person in a family within the community at a time. If you decide to help that person make sure you let the rest of the household know that you will be helping that person and cannot be in the position to help anyone else within the same family for that period.

 4. Do not give immediately they ask for help unless it is an emergency. Always try to give yourself time to work within your budget to be financially in the place where you can help them without neglecting your needs.

 5. Try to know your limit financially and say No to anything above that limit.

 6. Now by all means try not to fall into the ‘nice person trap. You do not give to be recognized as a good person.

 7. Do not be a people pleaser because you will be left unpleasant. Those you are trying to please will never be pleased, and most importantly they can never please you.

 8. Try to say No when the manner they request is not right. If the tone suggests you have money and don’t want to give or you have money and should give them, then try not to give them, that’s the typical entitlement syndrome.

9. Try to emphasise your needs and let them know if anything happens to you they won’t be able to help you or your family.

PC sowetanlive.co.za

I truly hope these tips help you to navigate your way through the black tax system and just know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Try to help and give back to your family and community within your means. Black tax can take its toll on your life and well-being, therefore always be sure to put your needs first above all else.

© By Rahima Vandy Kargbo popularly known as dasalone-titi Rahima.

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

Profit Point By Lima Diary

Lima’s Diary is set to premiere the movie title “PROFIT  POINT.” This movie will divulge the manipulative skills of each group in the system towards those in the slums, as this triggers each party to strive for PROFITS.


The premiering will take place at Sierra Bay on the 29th of May 2021, at 6:00 pm prompt.
Tickets;
Joel…….Le 150,000
Elijah…..Le 250,000

Don’t forget to make a date will Lima’s Diary to enjoy the best of Sierra Leone Movies.

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

Eid & Fashion In Sierra Leone 2021

Yes, you know we have our tradition here. We can’t let all these beautiful gowns, kaftans, dresses, suits and photos slide just like that. Sorry, this is coming late but as the saying goes; it is better late than never. So, here it is readers

PC Our first family
PC Kadiatu Jalloh
PC Hawanatu Sankoh
PC Isatu Kamara
PC Mariatu Tejan Kamara
PC Shema
PC Angela
PC Salma
PC The Mansarays
PC Zarah
PC Teeta Scott
PC Isata Bangura
PC Kadiatu Kallon
PC Hawa Mansaray
PC Fulaniqueen
PC The Ibrahims
PC Baddest Hijabi
PC Victoria
PC Mariama Ayodele Doe
PC Humu Tejan-Jalloh
PC Abiba Zainab

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

Evolution Fitness with Razia Sultan Kamara


“Your health is an Investment, not an expense” -unknown

Ms Razia Sultan Kamara
Coach Razia before her weight loss journey
Aka Coach pepper (peppeh)

Are you in Freetown and thinking of a lifestyle change? Don’t let those aspirations of a healthier and better you be a never achieved resolution. Get up, motivate yourself and get started. Encouraging other women to lead a healthy and vigorous lifestyle can be a daunting task for many, but not for our featured entrepreneur this week.

Success stories

Today’s entrepreneur is a fitness enthusiast who has not only achieved incredible results for herself but has turned her newfound passion into a business through which she is helping and empowering other women to lose weight and gain their long lost confidence. She is the beautiful, strong, selfless, sassy, hardworking, and assertive Ms Razia Sultan Kamara, popularly known as Coach Peppeh (pepper).

Coach pepper did that

Losing half of her body weight through diet and exercising two years ago has led her to rediscover herself and her purpose. She has become an expert through experience and research. She has managed to sculpt her body with toning exercises. For someone who lost half of her body weight, you cannot find one saggy spot on her body. Her goal now is to maintain the weight of her choice as she continues to sculpt and tone up. Her success has come with determination, consistency, and perseverance. She could have decided to keep her journey and experiences to herself but not Razia.

The transformation guys

She thought it fit to share herself with others and help them become a better version of themselves. She saw other women struggling to lose weight, and she decided to bring them together. What started as a way to help just a few women she knows has blown into a total gym, known as Evolution Fitness. It runs in two-shift with over fifty women. The fear of being judged or body-shamed has stopped many people from taking part in the public exercise. Razia is one of the few who have stood up to change the narrative and has proven these stereotypes wrong.

Be motivated and enjoy the results

At Evolution Fitness, women from different backgrounds and social footings are united under a single umbrella to lose weight. It has been a solution or result centre for many, where people who are tired of moving from one gym to the next without a solution find solace.

Some of her strategies are to not only work on the outer body, but she starts with the minds of her clients. She helps them with a meal plan as well. This has worked well for most of them as food plans are given according to body shape and type. Razia tries to build honesty and trust among the women. To stick with the program and food plan is very difficult, as she has only but a few hours with them in a day; getting them to be truthful to themselves is a must if they are to achieve the desired results. To lose weight, one has to develop the mindset, make a conscious decision, and be committed to it. We all know losing weight starts with the right attitude, as she’ll usually put it, “one should always connect their mind with their muscles”.

Consistency is the key

She has flexible workout plans that she frequently changes so that her client’s bodies will not get adapt to a specific workout. Her other edge is that at Evolution Fitness, you don’t get a flabby or saggy body when you are losing excess weight. You lose the fat, tone up, naturally, evolve, and become a fitter version of yourself. She deals with these things thoroughly, thereby making women feel more encouraged to get out and get fit.

She lets her clients know they compete with the scale and not the next person, as body type and metabolism make people lose weight in different places, pace, and rate. With Evolution Fitness, you get to experience that personal touch that is lacking in most gyms. You cannot help but feel important and worthy even among the crowd, and you can’t get that anywhere.

This could be you, only if you believe in the process.

The phrase, staying motivated is easier with the right coach is the gospel at Evolution Fitness. It is no wonder women of all capacities, ages, and statuses come together to work out and are loving it. Razia makes other women feel relax in their imperfections. She has been helping women for almost a year, and you will be amazed at her accomplishments and results.

Coach Razia with housemate 2020

Razia’s humility and hard work have not gone unnoticed. She has gotten a lot of recognition from the movers and shakers in the industry. She has been on the Ellen Kiester show to tell her story, dreams, and aspirations to the rest of the world. During the housemate’s Sierra Leone season 2 show, she was the coach on duty; she goes into the house in the morning and helps the housemates get in shape with their morning workout. Razia collaborates with other women like Cherry Marshall, owner of Donerry Elegance, who sponsors her Saturday training with water and other goodies.

In all this, one thing we should know is that there is no magic in losing weight. It is a process, and it starts from within. It is a choice. As we try to change our lifestyles, let’s be reminded that we are what we eat, and what we eat is much more important than exercising. Let’s pay attention to what we eat, portions, how we eat, and finally, when we eat.

Are you tired of doing all sorts of yo-yo diet? Are you tired of how your tummy looks in those beautiful body con dresses? Are you tired of gaining weight? Do you want to lose weight permanently? Then evolution fitness is the right place to be. Currently, you can find evolution fitness at the tennis court, Hill Station, Freetown or you can reach Razia on this number +23276137944

Cross members of the Evolution Fitness Gym

© By Rahima Vandy Kargbo otherwise known as Dasalone-titi Rahima

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

WOMEN’S HEALTH CORNER – International Women’s Day 2021

PC Mamaye.org

Today March 8th is celebrated as International Women’s Day all around the world. This year’s theme is “women in leadership – achieving an equal future in a covid-19 world.” There is no equal future where a woman’s life will be cut short due to childbirth and other maternal health issues. Someone who gives life does not deserve to die in the process. Today on women’s day let us talk about maternal health in Sierra Leone. So we go by the general theme this year which is “choose to challenge” we challenge you all that no woman should die due to childbirth. We strongly believe that maternal health is something that should be championed by every gender. Women have carried the continued existence of the world for far too long. If the future depends on female reproduction then all hands must be on deck.

This is a topic I have been avoiding for so long because it touches the deepest part of my heart. In 2011, I lost a dear friend and colleague to maternal mortality at the Princess Christian Maternal Hospital and that experience scarred me for life.  Her death was preventable, the placental did not follow immediately after delivery, we don’t know what they did to salvage that situation. She eventually died at 23 years of age. I will remember it for the rest of my life. This year we will be celebrating her tenth death anniversary, ten years just like that.
Therefore to celebrate women’s day this year we went to PCMH to interview a gynaecologist on the state of affairs.

Interviewers: Tell our readers about self

DVJC: I am Dr Valerie John-Cole, obstetrician and gynaecologists at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) popularly known as Cottage Hospital. I work there in the capacity of a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist. I have worked for five years as a specialist but a total of eleven years as a doctor in the maternity hospital.

IV: What are the common health issue among women in Sierra Leone?

DVJC: The common complaints are numerous but as a gynea, I’ll say; infertility issue is the most common, then fibroid that is otherwise known as uterine myoma is also becoming prevalent among women of childbearing age; menstrual irregularities caused by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS); cancer is also on the rise affecting women of all ages, women who have reached menopause sometimes wake up to bleeding and when the test is done it will be discovered that the bleeding was due to cancer; there is also the issue of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and Urinary tract infections (UTI).

IV: What is the most effective form of birth control?

DVJC: Birth Control is also known as contraception or anti-conception. It is a method or device used to prevent pregnancy. The most effective form of birth control is abstinence. This is so because each form of birth control has a failure rate, we have had incidences of patients who are on birth control but end up getting pregnant. Another problem here also is that most people do not do consultations to know which birth control works best for them. Before birth control is prescribed for a patient, past medical history and present medical information must be reviewed to know which one works best. Some people do well with the pill, some with condoms, others with implants, some are better off with depo etc. Therefore, a proper examination should be conducted before any prescription. But what is common in Sierra Leone is that most people follow the advice of their peers, and do get these birth control methods over the counter without a prescription. The most effective depends on the patient’s clinical history.

IV: Do birth control have side effects?

DVJC: yes, of course, each one of them has its side effects, take for instance Intrauterine Device(IUD) what we commonly call coil; if it is not properly fixed it can lead to bleeding, infections, blocked tubes and or ectopic pregnancies. Other side effects of birth control methods are; nausea, bloating, withdrawal symptoms (small amount of blood or spotting), menstrual irregularities, mood change caused by hormonal imbalances, etc. Each of these methods has a side effect.

Iv: Have you ever had a patient who has reached menopause but experiencing bleeding?

DVJC: Yes! We call it post-menopausal bleeding. In most cases, it is due to cancer( cervical cancer,  endometrial cancer) but there are other causes. Let me use this medium to tell each and everyone out there with parents who have reached menopause, to see a gynea immediately they start seeing blood. It is also important to note that any form of smelly discharge should also be a cause for concern and to visit a gynaecologist immediately. Because in most cases it starts with smelly discharges and they stay home until it gets to the point of bleeding. Other times post-menopausal bleeding can be caused by polyps. Polyps are ball-like structures that grow on the inner lining of the uterus. Polyps can sometimes be malignant growth that can be cancerous. Menopausal bleeding usually happens rarely with older women.

PC Mamaye.org

IV: Can you tell us what fibroids and ovarian cyst are and if they are the same thing?

DVJC: No! They are not the same, even though they have some similarities they are different.
Fibroids are unusual growths that develop in or on a woman’s uterus. Sometimes these tumours become quite large and cause severe pain and heavy periods. This growth can be benign but non-cancerous. Sometimes, it can be corrected through a surgical procedure.

Ovarian Cyst- are fluid-filled sacs or pockets in an ovary or on its surface due to ovulation. Many women have ovarian cysts at some point. Most ovarian cysts present little or no discomfort and are harmless. The majority disappears without treatments. However, ovarian cysts especially those that ruptured – can cause serious symptoms.

IV: What are some of the challenges you face in the health care systems in general and how does that affect women’s health and maternal mortality?

DVJC: Hmmm, the challenges are many, some of them affect the health systems generally, and some are peculiar to our facility.

I am sure you may have read a tweet in recent weeks about the lack of water in our hospital.  Yes, we do have a regular supply of water now from Guma since the tweet went viral, but even that is not sustainable. Somedays the water finishes at night and we go the whole night without it until we have a supply in the morning. In instances where we have to perform overnight surgery, what do we do? That is a major challenge.

Another I’ll say is the lack of human resources. When we talk to our colleagues overseas, we find out that they have teams made up of over thirty personnel. Here we have a team of five people to work the whole. What if you have to perform ten caesarean sessions? By the time you get to the fourth or fifth, you are tired and when you are tired you cannot work as effectively as you should. The most important thing is that these operations cannot be deferred because most of them are emergencies.

Logistics and supply is another challenge. For us who work at the free health care section, the supply of resources is not commensurate to the influx of people. Supply is never enough sometimes we have to put our private resources into the job.

A conducive working environment again is another factor. No sustainable electricity, medical supply not available,  no proper coordination, e.g even our blood banks do not have a single drop of blood. Before now we used to have a policy that each pregnant women should donate blood, but due to some legislation, that policy was scrapped. If you go to places like Aberdeen women centre they religiously follow that policy and they always have blood for patients who need it. These are some of the reason why Sierra Leoneans abroad do not want to come back to work in the medical sector.

Limited space is another issue. The fact that our facility is small, and we are now catering to more than the number of people it was built for is a problem. It was called a cottage because it was built for a small number of people. Now with the free health care, there is a large influx of patients. It should no longer be a cottage.  Another reason is that some other health clinics are not equipped to handle all the health issues, thereby causing the influx of patient at our facility and we can’t efficiently cater to everybody

Demotivation: The staff are demotivated, the salary is nothing to write home about. In other countries doctors have on-call allowances, here we don’t have perks like that and this is contributing to brain drain. Medical personnel are diverting to public health and avoiding the clinical aspect of the job. Others are leaving for greener pastures abroad and even other private facilities within the country.

Finally, the lack of public health education by most people, especially, pregnant women. A large number of them do not show up to the hospitals until they are in their second trimesters.

All of the aforementioned are challenges that affect maternal health directly or indirectly. Each of them weakens maternal health care in the country.

Interviewers: would you say the health care situation in the country is improving or deteriorating?

DVJC: This is difficult to tell because in some areas there are progress but the deterioration in other areas will derail and override all the efforts or progress that has been made in some. Until we stop recording the death of pregnant women in high digits or incidents of child mortality, we cannot claim any progress. For now, PCMH is being highly supported by an NGO and if that NGO decides to pull out there will be serious implications. This place will be left completely naked and exposed.

IV: So what are your expectations, recommendations, and advice?

DVJC: We look forward to days when we will have a proper hospital setting, where both patients and doctors will be satisfied working or using the facility. If Patients know that when they go to the hospital they will get efficient and effective service delivery they will be excited about their visits. Doctors and nurses are motivated to work, money is important but it is not all we need. The working environment should be conducive, medical supplies must be always available and enough. We hope to have a twenty-four-hour functional lab for investigation and diagnosis. For instance, if a patient needs a CT Scan we will have to refer such a patient to private institutions like Ramsey and Ecomed. Since these services are not available in government hospitals, and the cost can be a burden to some patients, considering the economic situation in the country. We need twenty-four hours running water( pipe-borne), twenty-four hours electricity (it is high time hospitals have special electricity line). We should have a rich blood bank,  blood is essential when a patient needs blood nothing can substitute that. You will be surprised to know that emergency hospital gets medical supplies from government, but we either don’t get the same supply or we just have a broken hospital system here. All of us have to do more, government, health workers, and even you people blogging. We should all do more in raising and creating awareness and education for more people.

IV: Thank you so much for your time, Doctor Valerie.

Dr Valerie John Cole

Conclusion: Sierra Leone has one of the highest (if not the highest) maternal mortality rate in the world. A UNICEF report of 2019 indicated that 1360 mothers die in every 100000 live births. The mortality rates of neonates, infants and children under five are also amongst the highest globally at 34, 82, and 111 deaths per 1000 live births, respectively. These staggering figures represent the real and pervasive challenges women and children face in Sierra Leone with poor healthcare practices and sub-standard and ill-equipped health care facilities.

Authors:
Dasalonetiti Rahima and Juliana Sesay

https//:www.dasalone-titi.com


https//:everythinglyoaandmore.wordpress.com/

SHOP WITH AANTIE

Shopping Made Easy

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Walt Disney

My dear readers, as we are in the Christmas spirit, a season of love and sharing. Let’s not forget to patronise small businesses owned by locals as their growth and expansion depend on it.

Meet the CEO of Shop With Aantie, Hawanatu Uwanie Dumbuya

Today, I want you all to meet the very promising business owner, Hawanatu Uwanie Dumbuya popularly known as Aantie. She is the CEO of Shop With Aantie. A candidate at the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute, an MBA Finance Student at the University of Zambia, a postgraduate candidate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Amity University India. She holds a professional certificate in Human Resources Management from UNICAF University, a verified certificate in Data Analytics for Managers, Michigan University, a certificate in Equity Finance and Innovative Markets and Industrial Technology from The Open University (UK). Hawanatu graduated from Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone with a Second Class Upper in Accounting and Finance. She is currently working as a Finance Officer in the Energy Sector Utility Reform Project.

Gift basket/box by Shop With Aantie

She had always dreamt of starting a business since she was a little girl. Born and raised in a household known for entrepreneurship, she saw first hand, how her mother was able to raise them through her business alone. Even though she wanted to work in the corporate world, she was not going to sit and wait for a job. So after graduation she went ahead and start her business venture known as Shop With Aantie. Now let’s hear the rest of her journey from the horse’s mouth.

Dasalonetiti: Tell us about your business?

Hawanatu: Shop With Aantie is an online gift store that caters for kids ranging from ages 0-15years. I am also into; home decor, office furnishings, cleaning Items, and personalized picture frames. Shop with Aantie makes it easy for my clients to discover, access, and buy products they see in videos, pictures and flyers. The public can access Shop With Aantie 24 hours round the clock, seven days a week. I offer premium customers satisfaction. As I bring my clients their choices right on their doorsteps.

Dasalonetiti: What made you start Shop with Aantie?

Hawanatu: I started Shop With Aantie to provide the general public with a much easier way to buy gifts for their families and friends. To ease the stress associated with going to town and walking miles just trying to locate the right place or the right gifts, cleaning materials or home decors. No one has time for that now, as people are extremely busy nowadays with work and other side dealings (which could be family, business or education). The goal is to take off the stress associated with scouting for gifts and home decor for our clients. I provide a one-stop service to my clients, as they can just go online locate all they want and I can get it for them.

Frames by Shop With Aantie

Dasalonetiti: What are some of your successes since you started shop with Aantie?

Hawanatu: One of my biggest success has been getting different contracts with notable organizations and offices to supply assorted food items, gifts, water, and drinks. As this was not part of my initial business plan. But one thing I have learned is to be flexible based on our customers demand. My close proximity with my client had led to the opening of a whole new area for my business. Another Sucessful thing about Shop With Aantie this year is that we made our first 100 million or $ 10,000 in sales this December, the year 2020 has not been bad after all. Business has been good and favourable so far and I am sincerely grateful to all my clients.

Dasalonetiti: You are known for gifts, home decor and cleaning materials, why the moved to general supplies?

Hawanatu: (laughs out loud!) Well like I said earlier this few months of doing business I have learned to be flexible. Doing business with corporate staff and workers, the question about general supplies will always come up in conversations. As a smart and savvy businesswoman that I am, I cannot let such opportunities slide. If my clients want general supplies for a specific occasion or their organisation, then that’s what they will get.

Dasalonetiti: Can you share with readers some of the challenges you’ve faced in the course of doing business?

Hawanatu: Sure! One of the major challenges for me so far is time. Being caught up with school work and business at the same time and now working a full time job has not been easy for me or those around me. I am in constant pursuit of ways to manage my time so that nothing that concerns me is affected. It was hard at first as I rarely have time for Shop With Aantie. But so far I have been blessed with good and hardworking people supporting me. Another constraint is the cost of transporting goods to the doorsteps of our customers. I usually spend a huge amount of money to hire the services of a delivery van for a whole day sometimes. Especially, If I have an urgent delivery of supplies for a client

Dasalonetiti: How has covid affected you and your business?

Hawanatu: Covid 19 has not spared anyone or anywhere in its quest of wreaking havoc. Personally, the inconveniences of wearing a mask and the ban on social events or gathering, the restrictions on movement, have not been easy. Business-wise covid19 pandemic has adversely affected my placement of stock. I usually run out of stock because of shipping constraints. Most of my gift items are from the United Kingdom. The UK had been severely hit by covid 19 and was in lockdown. land, air, and sea thereby bringing everything to a halt. Goods took longer to get here when they resumed services leaving us out of stock a few times. Thereby causing clients to wait for long periods to get their supplies. Thankfully, most of them have been understanding, patience, and tolerance towards me and the business.

Dasalonetiti: what should we expect from Shop with Aantie in the coming years?

Hawanatu: I just want people out there to watch my space. I am moving and will keep working hard. Even though it may seem as though Shop With Aantie is taking another route. They should also know that I am an online gift and decor store operating as an enterprise. I am still into what I established this business for. I have just added general supplies to it wherein I supply Food items and other essential to different offices and organizations. Shop With Aantie is now beyond the normal Baby, family and friends gifting thing or Picture Frames. I do bulk supplies of drinks, bottle water, gift hampers, and cleaning enssentials. Shop with Aantie has been doing huge things behind the scenes. I hope to continue that way and keep satisfying my clients.

Dasalonetiti: What is your advice to other young people, who are afraid to take the risk of starting a business?

Hawanatu: Being able to do what you love and want to do is a good thing. I can tell everyone and anyone who cares to listen that for sure business pays. No matter how small you have to start, try to give it your all. It is usually important to start small in the first place. Always back up your hard work up with prayers as this is key as well.

Dasalonetiti: Thank you very much, we hope to catch up with you in the future. We wish you the very best with Shop with Aantie.

So, there you have heard it all from Hawanatu CEO of Shop with Aantie. Even though some people will say we are romanticizing entrepreneurship, it is not an easy thing as others are claiming it to be. Nobody said it will be easy. Entrepreneurship is hard everywhere. But if you have the zest for it, why not take the risk and start small like Hawanatu?

What are you waiting for? Are you looking for any type of gifts for your loved ones. You are moving into your new home and wants to decorate? Do you want to redecorate? Are you looking for a supplier for your office essentials or private events? If you are in need of any of the above or you simply wish to get more information on how to Shop With Aantie? Kindly, contact them on:
Mobile: +23276719264
Whatsapp: +23388242439
Email: shopwithaantie@gmail.com
Instagram Shop With Aantie
Facebook: Shop With Aantie

©By Rahima Vandy Kargbo otherwise known as Dasalonetiti Rahima

 https://www.dasalone-titi.com

Basket Of Ajo – Sierra Leone’s finest online gifts platform

Basket of Ajo is inspired partly by my Dad’s younger brother, Alaba.  Growing up, all our home furniture and decor were crafted by Uncle Alaba, a skilled woodworker.  Art has a long history in the family.  Grandpa Tommy was a Sculptor and his father, Grandpa Joseph was a Draughtsman in the Colonial Surveyor department in Southern Nigeria.  Each ancestor is an inspiration to continue a family heritage of creating artwork and tools that preserve history and identity. 

A creative urge and the desire to see more people motivated and empowered through handmade and curated products led to the forming of a gifting and home decor enterprise.  In certain African cultures, the term ‘Ajo’ means a display of goodwill to those around you. Ajo is a journey, and a contribution, with the essence of sharing and encouraging good fortune.  The concept of Ajo illustrates the essence of what we are about and a desire to create a culture of gifting for people of African descent around the world. 

Gara textile making has a long history and tradition in Sierra Leone.  This tradition has been in Fatmata Kabia’s family for generations.  The creativity that goes into the production of our throw pillows is partly inspired by her family heritage and identity.  She leads the creative team and oversees the production of our signature fabrics, all handcrafted by skilled craftsmen and women in Sierra Leone.  All of our Throw Pillows are made in Sierra Leone by our team of Tailors and Seamstresses.  

Our Gift boxes are filled with arts and crafts bought from craftsmen/women traders at “Big Market” in Freetown.  Our small canvases are packaged in shukublai bags made by inhabitants of a historic village called Rogbonko in Northern Sierra Leone.  Shukublai has strong links to the sweetgrass baskets made by African Americans along the Gullah-Geechee Corridor.  The product highlights the strong connection between South Carolina, Sierra Leone and the region.  

Big Market is one of the national historical monuments of Sierra Leone.  Located in Freetown, it was originally built in 1861 by an Afro-West Indian builder, Charles Hazelborg.  It sits at the heart of the historic settler town, founded by African American settlers in 1792, who gained their freedom from fighting for the British during the American revolutionary war.  Big Market is a perfect illustration of the dynamic history and diversity of Freetown. Market traders, especially women traders and arts & crafts traders are at the heart of our brand.

Visit Basket of Ajo to find out more about them and their gifts.

©By Akindele Thomas Decker

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

Yabom The Book

About the Author

Rahima is a Sierra Leonean writer whose works range from short stories to poetry. She is a writer who possesses an astounding creative mind and vivid imagination. Not surprisingly, she deploys the same with laudable objectivity, prudence, and calmness in her thoughts. This has led her to attract a new generation of readers to African literature.


Rahima is an entrepreneur and who works for one of the MDAs in Sierra Leone. She has an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Global Business with a background in Financial Services. Writing has come naturally to her– and, in the wake of her undertakings in this direction, she is doing it with finesse and top-notch brilliance. She started developing her writing skills after her tertiary education. She also blogs and who uses her platform to promote young entrepreneurs, especially women. She dares to put under the lens some of the issues affecting young people on her website @ https://www.dasalone-titi.com and all other social media platforms as Dasalone-titi. Rahima is a co-founder of 272 Foundation with her husband, which is a charity organization that helps primary school children with school learning materials. She is married to Alimamy Kargbo, and they have a daughter.

Yabom is on Amazon currently, and in Freetown at Blessed Farouk’s Enterprise, 17 Regent Road, Central.

© By Rahima Vandy Kargbo otherwise known as Dasalonetiti.

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

Big Sister Sierra Leone Season 2 Finale

The big sister show is Sierra Leone’s first-ever reality TV show. BSSL is created and owned by our very own entertainment guru Zainab Sheriff. The show was piloted last year and it became a huge success. According to her, this platform was developed primarily to nurture and empower young women in Sierra Leone.

This season, we saw a lot of disparity from last year’s; in terms of the venue as a whole village was created just for the show. The involvement of other nationals from West Africa and Asia, and of course the grand prize which was a whopping Le 500,000,000 or $ 50,000.

The show is still very young and has its challenges. One thing that we cannot deny is it potential to grow and go beyond our borders. Yes, there were hiccups here and there during this season just like the last, but overall it was entertaining. Which is one of the fundamental reasons why the show was created in the first place.

Out of the thirty-two girls that entered the competition. Majo Bona, a professional dancer residing in the United States, emerged as the winner as she clinched 50% of the total votes. Fans of Majo Bona called themselves cocolians and they showed their voting prowess very early on the show. We wish Majo all the best in future endeavours. As we have been hearing from her fans, that she wants to use her winnings, and platform to help other young Sierra Leoneans with talents. We hope she achieves this and creates the space for others to nurture and grow.

Finally, as BSSL season 2 is over we know Zainab Sheriff has all it takes to address some of the concerns raised by viewers during this season.

© Rahima Vandy Kargbo otherwise known as Dasalonetiti

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

The Prompters of Dreams


When I was a little girl. I will sit in front of our rented apartment in the east part of Freetown, Wellington to be precise. Every day at around 5:00 to 6:00 Pm, I will leave everything I was doing and dashed to the veranda, just to have a peek of Miss Davies; a lady whose father’s name was on the street. They had the best house on the street, fenced with barbed wire, with a lot of fruit-bearing trees in it. Did I mention the wild dogs? Yes! Wild dogs, so if you don’t have business with them or you are not invited to their compound, you don’t go anywhere near their house.
Why do I always rush, to go seat and wait around that same time in the evening? I didn’t even know what time meant but because of the routine nature of it all, I will surely know it was time to go to that spot. My reasons then were as follows; she was the first woman I ever saw in my life driving a car, she was always well dressed, and I enjoyed watching her taking those slow strides in her thin heels up the hill if she did not drive. Thirdly, she worked in a bank and my idea then was all bank workers are rich. Finally, and most importantly, she would smile and waved at me most times. Ask me a few questions a few times, and will give me money ( laugh out loud).


Why am I telling you this? Those encounters planted a seed in my psyche. Her actions and warmth prompted me to dream. From those moments forward I looked up to her, her kind of woman or what she embodied; the educated, independent and hardworking woman. I wanted to be educated, to drive a car, work in a bank and become rich like Miss Davies, and that idea never left me growing up.

Unconsciously, this became my driving force through the years. Adulthood they say is a scam (smh). This is true indeed, I grew up and got my first degree. Coincidentally, my first job was at a bank. Lo and behold it was no fun, not what I expected after all. Why was she always cool and calm after work? I usually thought to my self. Again, I got to realize not everyone working at the bank is rich and happy (smile); I had to quit my bank job because l didn’t quite enjoy it.


I’ll tell you I have had so many dreams and aspirations. I have dropped a lot, changed a few, and I have picked up others along the way. The fact is I will never stop dreaming. I am not perfect, and not where I want to be, but my wish for every other young girl is to have that one adult that will smile at them and prompt their imaginations. That these girls will encounter strong women that will plant seeds to be more in their minds, seeds that will germinate into something beautiful. I hope every girl has the opportunity to encounter that one person in their lives. Be it a man or woman that will change their perceptions, and attitudes to life in a positive way forever. Seeds that will reorientate their minds.


Since we left that area, I have neither seen nor heard about Miss Davies. I have completely forgotten how she looks. But what I vividly remember is how she touched my life in so many incomprehensible ways. Well, maybe we might have met somewhere along the way without recognizing each other, who knows? Isn’t that weird or the thought of it? Today, I am here, sending Miss Davies love and light where ever she is or might be, she is my shero. I want to let her know that I have never stopped dreaming. She did me good and God bless her for me.

©By Rahima Vandy Kargbo otherwise known as dasalonetiti Rahima

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

Dreamglam & Co Teepee


Are you contemplating on gathering your family and friends? Are you planning on making precious moments? To create memorable experiences with loved ones? Have you heard about Dreamglam & Co Teepee?

If you haven’t, then, activate your fantasy and creativity with no other but Dreamglam & Co Teepee and enjoy the thrilling adventure.


Dreamglam & Co Teepee is a sourcing, decor, and event planning business owned by Elizabeth Fatu Conteh-Kamara. This business is located in the east part of Freetown at 154 low-cost housing estate kissy.


As the holiday and wedding season is slowly creeping upon us. Don’t wait till you get disappointed by that unreliable supplier of yours before you start scouting for a dependable and efficient one. Call Dreamglam & Co now on +23278147102, and bring all your worries to an end.


Don’t forget! Call Dreamglam & Co for all your theme birthday parties, bridal and baby showers, artificial flowers, design and event planning. They make it all happen for affordable prices. Now feast your appetite on some of their work.

Colour theme party decor
Spa theme for kids
Mickey Mouse theme
Unicorn
Girls date
Happy client
Happy girl

©Rahima Vandy Kargbo also Known as Dasalonetiti Rahima

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

Shea and More Sierra Leone

Have you heard about Shea and More? Have you tried any of their products? Shea and More is a local cosmetic and Agric-Business Company that organically produced and sell; the African black soaps, body butter, facial scrubs, lip balm and peanut butter. They have mastered the chemistry of blending locally grown products fit perfectly for the African skin and weather. Taking into consideration the different skin types. Shea and More have become a household name with a lot of positive reviews from its clients. Rush now and be a part of history, don’t be left out. If you battling with blemishes, white and blackheads, acne, and scars. Are you looking for homegrown organic peanut butter? Why not try Shea and More today, and get that amazing skin result you have always wanted.

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

International Day of the Girl Child 2020

Don’t forget! Sierra Leoneans, one unafraid girl at a time. As we commemorate this day, let’s not forget to lend our voices to what truly matters in the lives of young girls in our homes and communities.
#everygirlmatters
#internationaldayofthegirlchild2020

Thanks to @level_upsalone for all you do in lifting other girls/women. We see you🤝💪

4Her_Every_Girl_matters

VC 4Her Organisation