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Archive for February, 2013

Changing the Agenda

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

 

 By Titus Boye-Thompson :

A five year time line has just passed since Ernest Bai Koroma was last sworn in and inaugurated as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the APC as a party returned to power by a popular vote. The marking of such an anniversary is significant. The passing of time accords for reflection on the mandate given to Ernest Bai Koroma and the APC for the stewardship of this nation state, Sierra Leone. There is no question that we have a lot to thank God for in these past five years and that we also have with us a formidable, dynamic and visionary leader of the All People’s Congress Party and head of Government in the person of Dr Ernest Bai Koroma.

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it is with great gratification and sublime significance to note that no report deemed it fit to describe these past years of Ernest Bai Koroma’s stewardship as tempestuous or tumultuous. These has been some of the most secure, non-violent and democratic period experienced by citizens of this Country and as a Country moving away from conflict to democracy, the challenges of keeping the peace and maintaining such order and respect for institutions cannot be understated. In the least, the years encompassing the first term of his Presidency have been seen as engaging, meaningful and development orientated. The Country has enjoyed the many achievements of Ernest Koroma’s Government in such measure that it is safe to say that the Country experienced the most rapid period of social and economic growth in its entire history.

It is significant also to note that in the marking of start of his first term, President Ernest Bai Koroma delivered a speech that ran through the changes that his Government hoped to secure especially in the lives of the ordinary man and woman in Sierra Leone. He attributed his win as a win for the Country, his tenure as a positive impact on the lives of every Sierra Leonean and his vision as a portal of hope for the future of every citizen of this Country. He was hopeful that his Government will bring meaning to the lives of the least man or woman out in the streets. In the event, the country experienced much progress during his first term such that it is easy to identify with those changes and recognize that for once, this has been a Government that had brought meaningful change to the Country and its people. From the many road projects in every region of the Country, the establishment of Agricultural Business Centers making a difference to the way rural people organize their agricultural produce including reducing the hunger period in the agricultural life cycle from a period of around three months to just under six weeks; changes in job opportunities, education, skill training and career development options for young people are also significant, given the priority and importance President Koroma put on the advancement of young people.

The mandates of development rest squarely on a positive vision firstly accepting the need for change and secondly providing tangible initiatives to generate such change. President Ernest Bai Koroma has always been adamant that his priority for Government would place high priority on getting a viable and sustainable infrastructure in place that will be robust enough to sustain the change and development objectives that he would set. His first priority was to take this Country out of the dark ages from the bootstraps and drag it into the present. Energy was a major setback to attracting investment in some of the vital industries in this Country. It is inconceivable to build a growing economy on an environment plagued with persistent blackouts, power outages and fuel shortages. Solving the issues plaguing the energy sector has therefore yielded significant gains for this economy, opening up the mining sector once again to previous highs, attracting new investments in rolling stock, machinery and mining equipment, boosting production of mineral resources and expanding into hitherto expensive mining processes such as kimberlitic extraction. The attendant gains on all of these can be counted by the expansion of job opportunities, increased revenues in royalties and taxation.

On assuming power in 2007, President Koroma inherited a fractured economy with a few haphazard projects in disjointed states of development. His vision and determination to accelerate development speeded up some of those projects that were meaningful to the country’s economic aspirations. In the event, where necessary, President Koroma’s Government moved swiftly on to engage the prioritization of initiatives to convert the good intentions of proposals to be borne out by actions on the field. The measure of this Government’s success has been ascribed in part to its avowed determination to get things done now, not on its dexterity in deferring projects to a life cycle that will outlive its own existence. There were very difficult decisions to be made, priorities to be set and an overall capacity to engage on the problems and issues that are of bread and butter concerns of the people of this Country. The success of President Ernest Bai Koroma was therefore hinged on his making those decisions that were of primal benefit to the entire Country. His prioritizing of energy has borne fruits for the Country as a whole and not just for Freetown. Investments attracted to the economy has benefitted places as far apart as Port Loko, Makeni and Tonkolili in the North, Moyamba in the South, Kenema, Kailahun and Kono in the East whilst most of these institutions pass through and operate residual facilities in the Western Area thus adding value to the economy of the Capital city. Inward investments have not been assigned on the basis of Sierra Leone’s development priorities and resource availability as a singular entity with benefits going through to local communities. In the main, new roads, schools and bridges including rail systems have been built across the Country with a plan to encourage such further infrastructure into the future so that the economy can be long term sustainable.

A conclusive analysis on the last five years is already available within the report on the Government’s flagship “Agenda for Change.” The comprehensive account of activities and initiatives including third party donor supported projects are contained in the second joint report published by the Ministry of Finance. A robust economy is maintained by sound public finance, responsive fiscal management and responsible public expenditure profiles. It is significant that this Government has, after a very long time, embarked on projects funded entirely by locally generated funds secured through taxation and other receipts. The Country is fast moving away from being a donor dependent economy to that of self-sufficiency. It would only be from such a threshold that a Country can move on to prosperity based on its own internally generated resources and revenues. That is the mark of responsible leadership to which the President now turns and it is that prospect of prosperity upon which his legacy will be secured. The first term has undoubtedly been marked by years of growth and progress underpinned by sound political leadership and responsible accountability and transparency in public finance.

It is no doubt that some challenges remain. The challenges in respect of attitudes and the enabling environment for nation building remain to be major obstacles. The acceptance of these aspects of our social and political development has been recognized by the establishment of the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change Secretariat which remain the singular most apt vision of President Ernest Bai Koroma. There can be no change unless the environment and its actors are prepared for that shift, suppressing retractable behaviors and engendering positive attitudes. The Agenda for Change has been a success, encapsulating the narrative of a development focused Government and the vision for leadership by a dynamic and charismatic leader. The challenge now is to transform this agenda for change to one of prosperity. For that, the key word is continuity. The mandate to President Ernest Koroma in that resounding victory for a second term speaks for itself. The APC Party machinery must also be a willing counterpart to the successes of this Government hence the President’s assertion that his successes have been that of the ordinary man and woman. The rallying cry was Four for Four. This 2013 inauguration of Dr Ernest Bai Koroma as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone for a second term proves that Four for Four was the best choice anyone could have made because four FOR four is for development!

Deputy Minister of Information sells President Koroma’s Agenda For Prosperity in Saudi Arabia

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

 

 By Alhaji Jalloh :

Watch out for an exclusive interview with the new Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Hon. Theo Nicol in the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone under the industrious leadership of the visionary President, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

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DEPUTY MINISTER THEO. NICOL

As a graduate of the oldest university South of the Sahara, the Deputy Minister is a doyen in journalism and has practiced the profession in several countries including the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ghana, his home country Sierra Leone where he returned a couple of years ago to contribute to media development and advocate for the welfare of media practitioners both in the print and electronic media.

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‘The Way To Happiness’ Foundation Commits To Bring Happiness To Kids In Sierra Leone

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

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President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Sierra Leone to Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

For Immediate Release

February 20, 2013

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President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Sierra Leone to attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma on February 22, 2013.

The Honorable Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Acting-Director of the Peace Corps, will lead the delegation.

Member of the Presidential Delegation:

Ms. Kathleen FitzGibbon, Chargé d’Affaires, United States Embassy to the Republic of Sierra Leone

Agenda For Prosperity : A formula for rapid growth in Sierra Leone

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

 By Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Information Attaché, Saudi Arabia : 

 When Sierra Leone’s President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma assumed office in 2007, his administration strived to chart a bold new path for accelerating the advancement of Sierra Leone on all fronts after a decade-long civil conflict that almost left the country’s infrastructures in ruins.

 The vision and strategies of his government were therefore comprehensively articulated in his “Agenda for Change” which together with the outcomes of other consultative processes formed the basis of his medium term second Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP II).

 Alhaji-Jalloh-2010 (619 x 905)                                                                                                                                                 ALHAJI JALLOH

Before the implementation of PRSP II – an Agenda for Change –the country’s main economic indicators continued to lag behind sub-Saharan African, whilst abject penury remained pervasive.

 Besides, over 60% of Sierra Leoneans were unable to afford one decent meal a day. The impoverishment of Sierra Leoneans was exacerbated by persistent problems in the health and education sectors. These poor economic indicators consistently ranked Sierra Leone at the very bottom of the UN Human Development Index.

                                           Koroma’s Key Areas

In order to put Sierra Leone on the path of development, President Ernest Bai Koroma’s “Agenda for Change” focused on four key areas – to provide a reliable power to the country; to raise quantity and value-added productivity in agriculture and fisheries – which is critical to poverty reduction as two-third of Sierra Leoneans are engaged in agricultural and fisheries activities; to develop a national transportation network to enable the movement of goods and people and thereby facilitate increased investment and economic activity; and, to ensure sustainable human development through the provision of improved social services.

                                          Goals Scored by the President

President Koroma’s vision and strategies saw through the successful implementation of his “Agenda for Change” much to the admiration of Sierra Leoneans and the international community, especially donors and our development partners. The President’s administration, for instance, succeeded, to a large extent, in providing electricity supply in the capital, Freetown, improving road infrastructure across Sierra Leone, giving more added value to agricultural productivity, providing free health care services to pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five years and fighting against corruption. The President also succeeded in upholding human rights, youth empowerment, information and communication, and even attracted multi-national companies to invest in the mining industry.

President Koroma further scored tremendous achievements in education, protection of the environment, bringing reform to the public sector, judiciously managed the national economy, and several ongoing development programmes and reforms.

                                             Agenda for Prosperity

During the launch of the governing All People’s Congress (APC) Party Manifesto ahead of the November 2012 Polls, titled “Agenda for Prosperity”, President Koroma pronounced that the component entailed in his new agenda clearly addressed the sustainability of the progress his government has made in five years. The “Agenda for Prosperity” deals with important areas such as efforts to bolster the national economy, plans on how to maximize and sustain benefits from Sierra Leone’s natural resources, plans to improve on the country’s service in society, including the unemployed youth.

The “Agenda for Prosperity” also takes into account the determination of President Koroma and his administration to deepen Sierra Leone’s democracy and good governance, as well as the need to promote strategic foreign policy and international cooperation. It also touches on cementing national reconciliation, peace and national security which are the unlocking keys to national development. The new agenda further takes into account the President’s determination to put efforts together aimed at developing a robust healthy economy and intensifying the fight against graft. It also aims at diminishing reliance on food imports, and improving on the aspect of procurements and contract management.

Strategies for “Agenda for Change” also include pursuing policies that will enhance peace and stability, and those that promote donor confidence, President Koroma’s administration further plans to ensure the improvement of the business climate in the country by putting in place and implementing appropriate laws and administrative measures coupled with plans to ensure that more measures are instituted to control inflation and ensure that public borrowing from the bank allows money to flow and bolster the private sector.

                                          Agricultural Productivity

Another major component of the President’s new agenda is the need to scale up agricultural productivity. It could be recalled that President Koroma’s administration in 2007 increased investment in the agricultural sector from 1.6% to 10% respectively. It was seen by Sierra Leoneans as a significant boost as two-thirds of them relies on agriculture for their livelihood. Agriculture is one of the backbones of the national economy as it contributes about 46% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We should also not forget that the agricultural sector generates about one fourth of the export earnings of Sierra Leone.

By and large, President Koroma’s determination to increase investment in the agricultural sector resonates with his desire for a better and improved Sierra Leone. And in the same agricultural sector, the new agenda aims to sustain the promotion of commercial agriculture through the smallholder programmes as well as working towards enhancing support for mechanization, coupled with the need to increase transfer of innovation of skills and knowledge to farmers. Strategies have been put in place to actualize President Koroma’s dream of making Sierra Leone a self-sufficient country in sub-Saharan Africa.

The aspect of irrigation will also be encouraged so as to increase cultivation of inland swamps and create incentives for farming. Another strategy is to improve research and extension service delivery in addition to the desire to continue promoting efficient and effective resource management at the Human and material levels.

                                           The Trusted President

With the successful implementation of the “Agenda for Change” which has change the development landscape of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leoneans believe President Koroma is such a honest, astute and progressive leader that he will definitely make his new agenda another success story. He has the strong character of always delivering on his promises and this has won him accolade among his fellow citizens and the wider international community, especially donors, multi-national organizations and development partners.

Ambassador Kamara Addresses UN Security Council Open Debate On Protection Of Civilians In Armed Conflicts

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

 
FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Statement  by  H.E. Mr. Osman Keh Kamara  ,  Ambassador & Deputy Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations at the The United Nations Security Council Open Debate Under Agenda item  ”Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts” on Tuesday, 12th February, 2013 :
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AMBASSADOR OSMAN KEH KAMARA DURING A PREVIOUS PBC SESSION AT THE UN  
                                         Mr. President,
At the outset, allow me to congratulate the Republic of South Korea for assuming the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of February and to wish you full success during your tenure. Accept also our appreciation for convening today’s debate on the protection of civilians in Armed Conflict. We commend the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, and the Director of the International Committee of the Red Cross for their constructive remarks. Undoubtedly, we all share a fundamental responsibility to once again take stock of progress on key protection issues that affect civilians caught up in conflict situations.
Mr. President,
We recognize the significant steps taken by the Security Council to address the challenges confronting the Protection of Civilians, in particular the adoption of resolution 1894 (2009) that laid the foundation to ensure compliance to international provisions aimed at safeguarding civilians caught up in perilous situations. Further, the central challenge identified in the Secretary-General’s report contained in document (S/2012/376), remains a critical concern and underscores the need for a concerted approach to protect the safety, dignity, integrity and sanctity of civilians affected in contemporary armed conflict through adherence to obligations under International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Refugee Law and Human Rights Law. These instruments set out the minimum protection standards applicable, especially where civilians are mostly vulnerable, and seek to prevent situations that might exacerbate vulnerabilities, such as displacement and destruction of civilian property.
Mr. President,
Despite the systematic engagement by the United Nations to find ways to streamline and improve peacekeeping protection standards, there are a number of inherent challenges due to ambiguity on how the United Nations should intervene when Member States lack either the military force or the political will to halt all forms of carnage against innocent civilians. Ultimately, the end-state objective of a peacekeeping mission should include a protection mandate as part of an international response, so as to create the enabling environment to take the appropriate steps to ensure accountability. In that regard, we owe a special gratitude to the peacekeepers who take on the challenge to implement protection functions in the field and it is our responsibility to collectively ease the burden from
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the peacekeepers by matching resources to tasks in fulfillment of the protection mandate. Peacekeeping missions should be sufficiently resourced with adequate mobility to provide the desired operational latitude in challenging environments.
The development of strategies for a well-structured protection approach shows an unswerving determination to assume a more robust protection posture and the adoption of the Aid-Memoire in 2010 together with a comprehensive protection mandate is a clear testament to the measures aimed at enhancing the implementation of protection of civilians by peacekeeping and other relevant missions.
Mr. President,
Addressing impunity should not be considered an afterthought, but rather, the Security Council should proactively seek to ensure appropriate international response, especially in cases where national authorities fail to take responsibility under the protection laws. On that score, Sierra Leone unreservedly calls on all parties to conflict situations to respect the Laws of Armed Conflict, the International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law, as well as the specific domestic criminal law by both state and non-state actors.
Sierra Leone unequivocally condemns the increasing attacks on humanitarian personnel, including health providers’, women and children, and urges Member States to ensure respect for protected persons, incompliance with international humanitarian and human rights law. We commend the support of the United Nations and international partners for the work of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Through its work, the Special Court for Sierra Leone has made a number of critical contributions to the advancement of the rule of law at the national and international levels.  In particular, we hail the Special Court for bringing perpetrators of crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed in Sierra Leone during the course of conflict.
The United Nations is the only organization through which forces of all major powers, including rising regional powers can jointly participate in providing stability. The participation of major powers in missions would not only enhance rapid deployment, but also signal to potential spoilers that opposition to the mission
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carries real political costs. It would particularly stem the activities of those who supply arms in situations where violations of international law can be regarded as shared responsibility for the use of their weapons to target civilians. Success in reducing the human cost of unregulated arms proliferation will depend largely on creating a sense of responsibility and accountability among those who produce, distribute, and those who use arms against innocent civilians.
Next month, the final United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) will be held here in New York, in order to finalize the elaboration of the ATT, in an open and transparent manner. It is hoped that this platform will comprehensively tie up all loose strings to better serve those whom we have a responsibility to protect. If we continue to delay in this respect, we shall continue to face the risk of their use in committing grave violations of national and international law, which has the potential to destabilize peace and security. We therefore urge member states to consider our moral obligation to humanity as our key guiding principle in, and sincerely commit ourselves to, contributing to the establishment of mechanisms to prevent the diversion of such weapons into the illicit market.
Mr. President,
In conclusion, the timing of  this debate cannot be more appropriate, given that Africa is still hosting a number of conflicts. In particular, the spate of extremist activities in Northern Mali is regrettably leading to extensive loss of lives and massive destruction of property, including coveted world heritage sites. Sierra Leone strongly condemns such cowardly acts and will continue to work closely with all partners, particularly within the framework of the wider International Community in seeking a lasting solution to protect civilians.
Let me further express the hope that our collective resolve in this open debate would continue to translate into concrete improvements in the implementation of international human rights and humanitarian law to address the protection challenges.
I thank you, Mr. President.

Energy generation and distribution for national prosperity

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

 

 By John Baimba Sesay-(China)

A government that performs will always see her citizen asking for more. This is what is happening with the Koroma administration. In five years, following his election into office in 2007, President Ernest Koroma performed exemplary well, that there was the strong desire on the part of voters to reelect him, especially so when they came to know that the contents in the Agenda for Prosperity are as rich and promising as the commitment on the part of the President himself to move Sierra Leone to the apex of development. The energy sector, just as it is with other sectors, has always been part of the government’s strong success indicators.

John-Baimba-Sesay (1)

 

Notwithstanding the few challenges we are faced with, the fact remains, there was a time, in the history of our energy sector when students even at the university will shout and dance on mountain tops, when they get a brief supply of electricity and those where the days when electricity will be supplied for just few hours and would only come after a month or so. So, no matter what one would want to say, today is far better than yesterday when it comes to electricity. The ‘Kabba (b) tigers’, have disappeared today. President Koroma has always believed in the need for an ideal energy environment. He knows with an ideal energy environment, the contents in the Agenda for Prosperity will be fully met and addressed. We therefore should do our best to appreciate what we have done in five years in terms of energy provision, even as we also would want to see more.

By June 2009, the President spoke of his belief that “the multiplier effect of adequate and reliable energy will impact on all sectors of the country and revitalize the economy and improve the standard of living of our people.” That for Sierra Leone to power her economic development without harming the environment, it was committed “to harnessing the enormous hydro-electric potential in our rivers and waterways, as well as to developing biofuels and solar energy….” (President Koroma, Trade and Investment Forum, 2009) Government’s commitment towards the provision of electricity to the general public has been a major issue in the last couple of years of the Koroma administration. Our electricity sector, when compared to how it was, prior to 2007, has changed positively. Not only was the country the darkest in the sub region, but by September 2007, the little electricity supply that was coming was only available in Freetown, Bo and Kenema. Even at that, it was not trustworthy and consistent. What we witnessed was an increase in the national electricity generation capacity.

In a bid to meet the people’s growing demand for electricity with reliable and affordable power supplies, government signed an agreement in July 2011 for the construction of thermal plants with an installed capacity of 1000MW on a ‘Build, Operate and Transfer’ basis. With a soft Loan from the Chinese, it also officially commenced construction works for Mini-hydro projects at Bankasoka (2MW), Charlotte (3MW) and Makalie (170Kw).In September 2007, total electricity generation in the country was way under 15 Megawatts but the Koroma government made energy provision one of the five key sectors in his Agenda for Change in the first five years of his governance. As such, there an increase in the national electricity generation capacity to over 90Mw, with a target for 218Mw by 2013.( Source: Presidential Address Delivered By President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma On The Occasion Of The End Of The Fifth Session Of The Third Parliament Of The Second Republic Of Sierra Leone In The Chamber Of Parliament Building, Tower Hill, Freetown On Tuesday, 25th September 2012)

In fact, given government’s strong desire to always work in line with people’s expectation, in 2010, we saw the installation of a 10MW thermal plant at Kingtom and in 2011, a 16.5MW plant at Blackhall Road which was meant to support the energy supply to Freetown. Several homes in rural communities, including Mamusa, Blama Massaquoi, Kissy Koya, Makandeh and Mambioma already benefited from solar home systems through a government project funded by the Bare Foot College of India. There has been the commissioning of a Bare Foot Solar Engineers Training Centre at Konta Line Village, the first ever in the continent of Africa. The government is fully aware of the fact that to bolster the country’s economy, there is every need to look at the aspect of energy supply. That is why when you look at chapter 3.3 of the Agenda for Prosperity, government recognizes, that there still are core challenges faced in this sector like that of ensuring the expansion of Hydro-power generation across the country, reducing the use of high cost thermal generators, improving the transmission and distribution of electricity and improving the collection of payment from consumers, amongst others. This is especially so given government’s objective of working toward increasing power generation from current level, sustaining the functioning of the Bumbuna and Dodo Hydro Dams, reducing dependence on thermal plant and ensuring greater access to power supply in cities, towns and communities. But there also, are strategies outlined in the Agenda for Prosperity aimed at meeting the challenges in the energy sector. They include; continuing with the identification and exploration of additional hydro electricity power potentials across the country; increasing investment in clean energy sources by harnessing solar power; strengthening the distribution function by rehabilitating and replacing where applicable non- functioning transmission lines in the cities; encouraging public-private partnership in the provision of energy; increasing coverage and regularity of power supply within the cities; installing prepaid meters for all consumers to ensure payment of bills; and instituting more robust monitoring of distribution and consumption to apprehend and punish perpetrators of illegal connections.

People expect more, given the way President Koroma has performed in five years. There still remains the highest level of public trust and support to the government. But it is also crucial that we try to manage our expectations. We can question our state authorities on issues, but it should be done n a respectable and acceptable manner. President Koroma himself is aware of the fact, that the transformation of the energy landscape is the country will lead to an improved quality of life of our people. As he started in the speech referred to above, “We are not yet fully there, we still have more to do, but many more Sierra Leoneans, from the ginger beer seller to the welder and the electrician are all registering improved business activities. These actions for enhancing business growth and job creation will continue; for that is how we will transform the Agenda for Change to the Agenda for Prosperity.” There have been some national efforts, with the government taking the leadership, in meeting our challenges for national development, to which improving the energy sector is paramount. We should recognize such efforts, I think.

Agenda For Prosperity : Government is fixing Freetown city’s temporary electricity problems

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

 

 By KABS KANU :

The same President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, who transformed Sierra Leone from one of the darkest countries in the world to one enjoying electricity on a 24-hour basis before the recent problem with the Bumbuna Hydroelectricity Dam, will definitely accelerate his efforts to make  the provison of electricity one of his flagship  priorities . The indications are there for all reasonable people to see. All efforts are being expended to fix the problems  that  arose this month that are temporarily affecting 24-hour supply of electricity. The Government has not rested on its oars.

President Koroma’s Agenda For Prosperity , which will mark his second term in office , has electricity as one of its core landmark  priorities.

According to a recent report in the AWOKO newspaper, the Minister of Energy and Power, Mr. Oluniyi Robin-Coker , said that the two turbines generating electricity at the Bumbuna Dam have developed problems, which has affected the flow of electricity to the city. The Minister however gave the assurance that everything was being done to fix the problems.

As some watchers of government progress have appealed, Sierra Leoneans should learn to be patient with a hard-working government when problems surface. Our people have to understand that machines, however  new and modern, are still not immune from developing periodic mechanical problems. People should have confidence that the very government that placed their electricity problems at the top of its priorities will not abandon them at midstream. When problems arise, we should think about the record of the government in delivering social services.

The All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government of President Ernest Koroma has been very proactive in improving the lives of the Sierra Leonean people and will definitely continue to deliver under the Agenda For Prosperity. We should however note that we do not live in a perfect world. Problems will always arise when we least expect them with social and infrastructural facilities. It should however be expected that the Government will always rise to the occasion and do all it takes to solve the problems.

In fact, the report below should give every Sierra Leonean the confidence that President Koroma and the APC Government are determined to transform the whole country further by providing electricity in every hook and nook of the country. It is just a matter of time. The report shows how the government is busy working with international partners to continue developing the country socio-economically and politically.

The report is culled from ECOSEED, a newsletter that deals with energy, environment and the economy in the world . READ :

Sierra Leone to be lit up by 13 off-grid solar projects

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Sierra Leone to be lit up by 13 off-grid solar projects 

African village in the South of Sierra Leone

Electricity shortage is a common problem in the nation of Sierra Leone’s experience. Now a public-private partnership funded by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization is planning to bring solar power to some of the areas that need it most.

In the western African country, just less than 10 percent of its population has access to electricity and those that do subsequently suffer from high prices due to inefficient and costly generators.

The Unido is planning to address this problem in several locations by funding 13 turn-key solar photovoltaic power plants. Laos-based social enterprise Sunlabob Renewable Energy has been awarded two contracts for the design, supply, installation and local training of these projects.

Sunlabob specializes in renewable energy and clean water projects in developing countries. To complete the solar P.V. plants – twelve 5-kilowatt peak plants and one 16 kWp plant – they will work with local partners.

They will also provide hands-on usage and maintenance training with community members to establish awareness and understanding to allow prolonged operations of solar P.V. plants.

“Providing off-grid areas with renewable energy not only enables dependable and affordable electricity, but also opens the door to positive, long-term social and economic development,” said Andy Schroeter, Sunlabob’s founder and chief executive officer.

The off-grid solar P.V. projects are expected to help promote Sierra Leone’s economic growth, delivering a reliable power supply in education and training facilities.

Universities and centers will be able to use computers, internet and other communication tools to improve education opportunities and learn skills necessary in local enterprise development, said Sunlabob.

Sunlabob previously designed, installed and provided community training for 53 kWp solar P.V. plants across three industrial growth centers in Sierra Leone in 2012. These plants are paving the way for agricultural entrepreneurship training and development for rural youth and young adults in underprivileged communities, according to the company.

Within Africa, Sunlabob already built solar power facilities in rural areas of Liberia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Guinea Bissau, and is currently working to light up over 60 schools throughout Uganda in partnership with the World Bank. – EcoSeed Staff

What they did to Minah and Hinga Norman is what they want to do to me – says Charles Margai

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

What they did to Minah and Hinga Norman is what they want to do to me – says Charles Margai

Margai

The leader of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) Charles Francis Margai has said that what they did to Minah and Hinga Norman is what they want to do to him but he is different. They plan to arrest me so that the country will go into confusion and then they will arrest all and say treason.

He made this statement on Friday 31st May 2013 at PMDC regional office 19 Dama Road in Kenema city while addressing hundreds of his party supporters.

He says he and his party members do not want problem in Sierra Leone, adding that if they were not law abiding people the kind of behavior put up by the police, Sierra Leone would have been on fire by now; but thank God they all showed maturity and discipline, that he said is one of the differences between APC and PMDC.
He called on his party stalwarts to continue to be law-abiding saying “but let nobody take our willingness to be law abiding as a sign of weakness as the country belongs to us all.”

Margai says he does not have 20,000 Kamajors but that he has more than that number of people ready to go and defend him if need be because they believe in him and believes in what he does and they know that he likes the country. He said since he qualified as a lawyer in 1971 he has not gone anywhere but has stayed in the country, travelling only for a few weeks. He pointed out that the man who does not like his country will not sit there for up to 42 years.

The PMDC leader says he is touring the nation and from Kenema he will be going to Bo city, Gbangbatoke, Magburaka and other places. As from now on he said PMDC will be meeting the people every weekend and they will fully make use of the media both electronic and print. “We will not criticize an individual but it is our duty now to make sure that we give guidance and direction to the people of this country.”

He point out that the 444 is hitting every body, saying 444 has affected all negatively even those who voted genuinely for APC are all complaining bitterly about the system.

He said “as of today I’m not a bulldozer as we have done that before, I’m the King of the Jungle. The lion was sleeping when President Ernest Bai Koroma went and woke it up, and it is only he that knows how he is going to put the lion back to sleep.
Talking about what led to his arrest he says, in politics arrest or no arrest does not matter to him as long as he is suffering for the welfare and wellbeing of this nation and the people.

He explained about the 6.5 town lots of land given to him by the Basma family and which is situated near Pallo Conteh’s land behind Bintumani. “It is this land that the first lady Sia Koroma want to illegally occupy” which he says will never be possible.

He says the sacrifice he did for His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma is immeasurable citing the instance of their trip to Segbwema before the first term of President Koroma. He says God does not like ungratefulness and then called on his membership to pray day and night for President Ernest Bai Koroma and others who have brought shame to the leadership of PMDC saying everybody will soon see the result.

By Saffa Moriba

Big Agenda For Prosperity Outreach Meeting at Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington DC tomorrow Sunday February 10

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

AMBASSADORSTEVENSresizedphoto

 

Office of The Ambassador
Republic of Sierra Leone Embassy

1701 Nineteenth Street N.W.
Washington D.C 20009
United States of America

 

 

 

Fellow Sierra Leoneans,

 

I wish to inform you that the National Publicity/Outreach Coordinator and Communications Advisor, Office of the Government Spokesman, Republic of Sierra Leone , Mr. Abdulai Baraytay has been meeting Sierra Leoneans in North America with a view of disseminating information on recent development in Sierra Leone.

 

As part of his Outreach Tour, Mr. Baraytay will be meeting with Sierra Leoneans at the Embassy in Washington, DC on Sunday 10th February, 2012 at 2.00pm.

 

The idea behind this meeting is to provide the opportunity for the Sierra Leonean Community in the United States of America to be fully briefed about the activities of the newly re-elected Government of President Ernest B. Koroma, especially in the area of the implementation of the “Agenda for Prosperity”.

 

It is also hoped that this meeting will provide the opportunity to dilate on the critical role that the Sierra Leonean Diaspora can play in our national development.

 

Please RSVP your confirmation to attend the meeting to the following telephone numbers:

(202) 939 9263/(202) 939 9264/(202) 939 9265.

 

Many thanks

 

Sincerely,

 

Bockari K. Stevens

Ambassador