2021 Budget Debate in Parliament Today

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After the launch of the national budget, parliamentarians are expected to scrutinize the budget by asking critical questions on the implementation of the propose budget. Following the last adjournment of Parliament to Monday 23rd November 2020; the Parliament of Sierra Leone is requiring all Heads/Representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government to witness a five allotted-day debate on The 2021 National Budget or The Appropriation Bill of 2021 for the services of Sierra Leone. The debate would begin on Monday 23rd November 2020 at 10:00 AM in the Chamber of Parliament.

A strict attendance register will be kept for MDAs and all attendees are required to use facemasks in light of following the regulations to contain COVID-19.

The Press and the General Public are also invited and are required to follow the regulations on COVID-19.

Honourable Members of Parliament are encouraged to be in Parliament on time for the commencement of debate on The Appropriation Bill of 2021.

FAO Launches Covid-19 Sensitization &Fish Processing

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The food and agricultural Organization has lunching the covid-19 Sensitization, training on fish handling and processing in eleven (11) coastal communities in Sierra Leone.

The organization is mainly working with the ministry of Agriculture to improve the agricultural sector and also helping farmers cut across the country training them on how they can able to improve  their product by alleviating poverty in the country.

Quiet recently the organization has also launch FAO’s blended learning programme to enhance responsible agricultural investment in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

FAO also organized and inception workshop to kick off the implantation of its blended learning programmes ‘creating an enabling environment for responsible investment in agriculture and food system’.

Kambia Clock Tower Project To kick Off

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By Melvin Tejan Mansaray

The construction of the Kambia Clock Tower   is set to commence soon as possible, according indigenes. 

The project, which is to be undertaken by the ‘Friends of Kambia Foundation’, headed by Micheal Abu Kamara Global Chairman is set to unleash numerous benefits for the Kambia District.

“The importance of this project is enormous. Firstly, it helps to beautify the Kambia Township,” Lamin Yansanneh, Project Coordinator  a descendant from Kambia said.

Yansanneh added that, “The location where the Clock Tower will be constructed is an accident prone area because of the way and manner Commercial Bike Riders and Drivers commute the route,”

Reckless driving and riding at the expense of pedestrians is a serious problem that the Clock   Tower and Round-about project hope to resolve in the Kambia Township upon completion. The said area for the Clock Tower is vast for traffic and Yansanneh  said, “erecting the Clock Tower there will  forcefully let the users follow traffic rules.”

According to the pioneers of the Clock Tower construction project, the Clock Tower is estimated in the tune of thirty two thousand dollars ($32.000) and will not be limited to just the Clock Tower  construction but spans to beautification of all the round-about in the Kambia Township.

The Kambia Clock Tower situates between Hospital Road and Brima Njai Street in Kambia Town and the official commissioning, turning of the sod and foundation concreting   is to commences soon with completion date set for March, 2021.

Kambia is a border town with the Republic of Guinea, Conakry, with a thriving cross-border trading sector. The Friends of Kambia Foundation however registered that they are deriding financial and other resources from pledges and donations of members, who are indigenes of the District.

In their message of appeal, the Friends of Kambia Foundation said, “We need financial support to achieve this laudable project.”

Kambia District is in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone with its capital and largest part being the Kambia Township. As of 2015 census, they District had a population of 343,686. Kambia strategically borders not only internationally with the Republic of Guinea in the North, but internally, Port Loko District in the South  and Bombali District in the east.

APRM Boosts Govt. on Health

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The Deputy Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Amara Kallon has on Thursday 19th November 2020 informed the press that Sierra Leone happened to be amongst 4 countries that will benefits from the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) 11 member delegation from South Africa.

The high-power delegation from the Continental Secretariat is expected to be in the country from November 19th 2020 to December 2nd 2020 to do a Generation Review on “Health Governance and COVID-19 Response.”

The much anticipated press briefing took place at the Ministry of Information and Communications conference room, and amongst the attendees were the Minister of Political and Public Affairs- Ambassador Mohamed Foday Yumkella, the Permanent Secretary- Tommy Tengbeh, the Director- James Bonghor Sesay, APRM-Sierra Leone Executive Chairman- Dr. Charles Silver, the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications- Mamadi Gobeh Kamara, and a host of other personalities.

Deputy Minister Kallon through a PowerPoint presentation underscored the importance of the APRM Secretariat which he said was established in 2003 as an integral instrument of the African Union (AU) and amongst its mandates is to have an indebt look in all AU Member States- sectors of development as aligned to democratic good practices.

The Honourable Deputy Minister stressed on the importance of the 11 member delegation and where the delegates are expected to undertake a holistic review of the country’s health sector and especially the systematic and sustainable response the country has undertaken in the fight to eliminate the dreadful COVID-19 Pandemic, and at the end of it all, proffer recommendations on the improvement of the health infrastructure.

“The recommendations made would be transformed into a national plan of action document which would be used as a blueprint for the development of the health sector,” the Honourable Deputy Minister explained.

He disclosed that the report from the review undertaken will be presented to the AU President by our President, His Excellency- Dr. Julius Maada Bio.

The Deputy Minister revealed that the APRM Delegation will meet with President Bio, Vice President Jalloh, and also visit the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Water Resources, review policies, hold dialogue sessions with civil society organizations and the media, tour the districts, and undertake other meaningful explorations.

He proudly mentioned that Sierra Leone is one country that stands tall to the admiration of other nations when it comes to COVID-19 Response. He described APRM as an institution that is very proactive in ensuring that COVID-19 does not hit Africa to the point of breaking.

The Deputy Minister described Sierra Leone as a country with resilient people whom have demonstrated winning power over the deadly Ebola scourge and now, COVID-19.

 

Paramount Chiefs in Kailahun Welcome President Bio

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Paramount Chief Mohamed Kailondo Banya and local authorities of Luawa Chiefdom have welcomed His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio to the district headquarter town of Kailahun and expressed thanks and appreciation for recent developments in that part of the country.

He publicly commended the health care workers, saying that since the COVID-19 outbreak the district response team had worked tremendously well to ensure that the disease didn’t spread to the whole of the district, a major business and commercial centre with an estimated population of about 30,411.

Presenting the three newly elected Paramount Chiefs, Local Government Minister, Tamba Lamina, said they had closely monitored the elections of the chiefs, adding that the processes were transparent. He also noted that over the years paramount chieftaincy had become so enviable that it attracted very highly educated citizens who were willing to leave their lucrative professional career jobs to serve their people at such local levels.

“I am happy to present the names of the following elected chiefs to be given their staffs by the President. PC Musa Nyandebo Gbaoghoto II of Jahn Chiefdom, Kailahun District  II; PC Dr Shamsu Mustapha Ngebeh VI of Peje West of Kailahun District  III; PC Brima Sulaiman Kamara of Kabonde Chiefdom of Pujehun District,” he announced.

Delivering his keynote address, President Julius Maada Bio congratulated the Paramount Chiefs on their win, adding that his government had done a lot over the years to dignify and bring paramount chieftaincy closer to the central governance system. He also noted that he was serious about the welfare of paramount chiefs because if they as local authorities were productive in their rule, it would lessen the burden on the central government.

“Under the New Direction government, each and every Paramount Chief will begin to get a monthly salary, an official vehicle and salaries for all chiefdom administrators effective 2021,” he assured.

The President, however, admonished citizens of Kailahun to put more emphasis on education and agriculture as a means of transforming their communities, chiefdoms and the nation for the future of their unborn children.

Paramount Chief of Jahn Chiefdom in the Kailahun District, PC Musa Nyandebo Gbaoghoto II, on behalf of his colleagues, thanked the President and his administration for gracing what he referred to as a red-letter day.

“President Bio has been the only leader to demonstrate a true spirit of leadership by dignifying the paramount chieftaincy. My colleagues and I will forever remain grateful to you and the government of Sierra Leone,” he said.

   

BO DiCOVERC HANDS OVER TWO GENERATORS TO THE BO POLICE WRITTEN  

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 Bo DiCOVERC District Coordinator, David Fortune has on Friday 20th November 2020, donated two 6.9 KW diesel generators to the Sierra Leone Police in Bo.

The ceremony took place at the Bo District Command center along Sewa road in Bo.

Presenting the two diesel generators, District Coordinator, David Fortune said NaCOVERC through DiCOVERC sent two generators for the security sector to ensure that police continues to give adequate security in the fight against Covid -19 in the South.

He commended the leadership of the police for their tireless efforts in providing security for all DiCOVERC operations and urged them to do more.

Mr. Fortune furthered that NaCOVERC appreciates the unflinching strides of the Sierra Leone Police in the South, noting that President Julius Maada Bio and his government recognize all those who are working hard to ensure that Covid-19 ends in Bo District and the country as a whole.

Receiving the gesture on behalf of the police, the Assistant Inspector General of Police South William Fayia Sellu, thanked David Fortune and NaCOVERC for recognizing and appreciating the contributions of the police in the fight against Covid-19 and promised to use the two new generators for their intended purposes.

AIG Sellu said the IGP and the management of the Sierra Leone police will continue to give security at all times and on behalf of the IGP, expressed profound thanks and appreciation for the gesture.

 The Two Brand New Diesel Generators are in a perfect working order and up to press time are fit for purpose.

ACC Explains MCC scorecard success

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At the weekly Press Briefing held on Thursday 19th November, 2020 at the Ministry of Information and Communications Conference Room, Youyi Building, the Director of Public Education and Outreach Department of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Patrick Sandi, briefed the public on ACC’s contributions in enhancing the  Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Scorecard for the Fiscal Year 2021, and on the general work of the Commission.

Mr. Sandi gave an insight to the MCC programme, as an initiative of the Government of the United States to provide aid to developing countries to fight  poverty through economic growth. He noted that the Scorecard consists of 20 indicators under three broad categories- Economic Freedom; Ruling Justly and Investing in People.

He furthered that there are three criteria Countries must pass to become COMPACT ELIGIBLE; 1. Half of the Scorecard passed; 2. Control of Corruption and 3. Democratic Rights. 

For three consecutive years he said, which are; 2018, 2019 and 2020, Sierra Leone has recorded a steady and exponential growth, moving from the failing 49  percent in 2017, to remarkable 71 percent in 2018, an impressive 79 percent  in 2019, and outstanding 81 percent in 2020.

This according to him indicates that Sierra Leone made innumerable gains in the ‘Control of Corruption’, than many other African Countries, one of the best in Africa, and the best in the Mano River Union.

Director Sandi underscored that Sierra Leone has gained similar favorable rankings by both local and International Accountability and Transparency Institutions in the past three years, that have shown the effectiveness and successful strides made in the fight against corruption.

Among the key things that propelled the ACC to making these gains, Mr. Sandi noted that a Special Anti-Corruption Division has been established within the High Court of Sierra Leone, with five dedicated Judges that sit on anti-corruption cases. 

On the aspect of recovery of stolen funds and white paper, Director stated clearly that there is an unprecedented and incremental rise in the recovery of stolen funds and government properties, highlighting that the ACC in two years has recovered over Twenty Two Billion Leones, which has been paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund; recovered two vehicles-one from a former Deputy Minister of Works and a two storey Hotel building in Koidu City- Kono District.

Notably also, the Director stated that the ACC has formed working alliances and forged partnerships with over (40) good governance, civil society and media institutions.

Quite recently, he mentioned that, the Commission signed an addendum MoU with NaCSA and has supported the institution in its implementation of the Social Safety Net (SSN) program and the monitoring of emergency relief funds meant for individuals hardly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Sandi also noted that the Commission is monitoring the utilization of Fees subsidies and the distribution of teaching and  learning materials of the Free Quality Education programme.

Director Sandi concluded by thanking His Excellency, the President for his unwavering commitment and support to the fight against corruption. He also thanked the media and the Civil Society Institutions for their continued support and ultimately thanked the Government and People of Sierra Leone for their courage, belief and steadfastness in the fight.

 

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 President Julius Maada Bio has handed over 70 fishing boats to support 1,400 youths who live in 40 communities across the 7 coastal districts of Western Area Rural and Urban, Port Loko, Bonthe, Moyamba, Pujehun and Kambia.

Giving an overview, Project Manager of the Youth in Fisheries Project, Joseph Lahai, said that the initiative established by government was to help reduce unemployment, promote self-reliance, economic diversification, nutritional upgrade and empower the youths in the rural communities to discourage youth migration.

Minister of Youth Affairs, Mohamed Orman Bangura, said he was pleased to be part of the handing over of the newly constructed fishing boats and its accessories. He added that the project was to empower and capacitate young people under the cluster of the Medium-Term Development Plan that sought to address issues of unemployment while also ensuring that the youth were self-reliant enough to contribute positively to the socioeconomic development of their communities.

“His Excellency, we appreciate your leadership, mentorship and the political will you have shown to help change the narrative around youths in the country. We appreciate the fact that you loathe corruption and love transparency and accountability,” the youth minister said on behalf of the beneficiary youth groups.

Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr Patricia Nyanga Laverley, said that the Youth in Fisheries Project was a presidential initiative established to support the government’s agenda as a means of reducing the unemployment rate in the youth sector and to promoting self-reliance.

”The project will adopt a revolving loan scheme to recover costs, fishing ponds and boats. Its accessories will be given out to youth groups with a clear understanding of repaying the loan to the Ministry of Youth Affairs, in a separate account distinct from the operational account. The revolving loan scheme will ensure that youth groups pay back the loans on a quarterly and monthly basis, as an agreed percentage of their quarterly and monthly earnings to the Ministry,” she said.

Before his formal handing over, President Julius Maada said they did not just distribute boats and walk away as some people had done in the past, but as part of his government’s commitment to Human Capital Development, the Project Implementation Unit in the Ministry of Youth Affairs had already started training fishing youth groups nationwide in entrepreneurship around fishing, sea safety, minor repairs to outboard engines, national fisheries laws of the sea, and the use of ultra-modern fishing accessories.

“This training will equip them with a complete skill set to ensure safety at sea, running and servicing fishing boats and equipment, and managing the whole spectrum of fishing as a business. This skills and training component will also have positive implications for the wider artisanal fishing community. The new skills will make their livelihood more profitable and more productive.

“And the figures matter. My Government has constructed 70 standard fishing boats with ultra-modern safety and fishing accessories for just under Le5.5 billion. Our predecessors put the cost of the same number of boats (seventy boats) for a similar project at Le14.8 billion. This says clearly that my Government believes in transparency, accountability, and value-for-money,” he said.

“My Government sees youth as an asset. To us, youth are agents and drivers of sustainable and inclusive development. Ours has been a coherent and integrated approach, consistent with our human capital development priorities, and long-term national development goals as outlined in our medium term national development plan.

“We seek to engage youth as stakeholders in making decisions about and building their own future and the future of this nation. We seek to invest in the priorities they identify and that are most germane to our national development goals, including mitigating climate change and loss of sea biodiversity,” he concluded.

EPA-SL and Partners End Review and Update Process

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In fulfillment of the requirement of the Paris Agreement, the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Metrological Agency with funding from the United Nations Development Fund had conducted the process of reviewing and updating of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in the country.

The process was first conducted last week across the country with the final review and update process being done today 17th November 2020 at the New Brookfields Hotel in Freetown.

Like in the provinces, the process here in Freetown brought together participants from the private sector, government officials and the civil society all gearing towards bringing out climate Policy to meet the NDC targets of the country.

The NDCs as per requirement needed a review process after every 5 years and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is in the process of reviewing all National Commitments of Parties. The NDCs are actions which Parties to the Paris Agreement have undertaken in order to address Climate change issues.

“A Party’s contribution to address Climate Change is nationally determined according to its national circumstances and priorities” said Gabriel Kpaka, the Deputy Director General of the Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency and also UNFCCC Focal Point.

“According to the Paris Agreement, State Parties have obligations to prepare, communicate, and maintain successive five year NDCs and report information necessary to track progress made in implementing and achieving NDCs”, Kpaka said.

The Environment Protection Agency and the Sierra Leone Metrological Agency had been a nucleus towards addressing Climate Change issues in the county. “Sierra Leone has been experiencing the effects of Climate Change and as a result of that, the country made a pledge to address its emission in an effort towards addressing Climate Change issues” said Emmanuel Tamba Nyaka, EPA-SL’s Assistant Director of the Climate Change Secretariat.

The country had enjoyed good relations with the international Community towards addressing environmental issues.  “Sierra Leone is making significant effort towards addressing the targets and indicators sets in the sustainable development goals as well as addressing climate change related issues in the country”, said UNDP Abdul Katta. 

Katta said the government and its Partners together with the UNDP had made a significant milestone towards climate action and added they are “looking forward towards continued partnership with the government through the EPA-SL in ensuring resilience and zero carbon emission in the country”.

“Addressing access to information and communication technology to promote learning is a matter of urgency.”

Speaker of ECOWAS parliament

By Joseph Johnson

Speaker of ECOWAS parliament Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis has urged member states in charting the way forward in bridging gap in terms of access to information and communication technology. ECOWAS Speaker, Hon. Tunis, said the move will help promote learning in the West Africa region especially when the Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly 94% of student population in the world of which the most affected were middle income countries.

He is made the urgent call during a joint delocalized committee meeting on Lome, Togo where he emphasized the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had in the educational systems in history; stating it is affecting nearly over one billion learners in more than 190 countries globally.  The Speaker added that the pandemic did not only affect education but has also intensified the already existing education inequalities, reducing learning opportunities for the most vulnerable children, youths and adults, specifically those living in rural areas and persons living with disabilities.

Hon. Tunis further stressed the relevance of the joint Delocalized Committee meeting in Lome, Togo on the theme “ECOWAS in the era of covid-19 and beyond: focusing on information and communication technology (ICT) to promote distance education and training in ECOWAS member states,” which will be a signal in preparing the ECOWAS community in leveraging on the importance of ICT in promoting education and training. “With these innovations and as the world plans to chart out a post-COVID-19 period, we at the ECOWAS Parliament believe that addressing access to information and communication technology to promote learning, is a matter of urgency.” He stated.

Hon. Tunis continued that the Covid-19 has changed people’s ways of living, citing that even the ECOWAS parliament had to succumb to the news normal of having to do its second extra ordinary session virtually. The speaker was however quick to note that even though they should learn to live with it, yet certain aspects of parliamentary work, especially; oversight, plenary meetings, committee hearings and interpellations, cannot be done virtually. 

He ended by pledging the commitment of the ECOWAS parliament to working with Member States in areas related to Information and Communications Technology, Science, and Innovation to digitally link societies together.

In her statement, the President of the Togo National Assembly, Yawa Tsegan urged that parliament should move off its traditional role and take the lead in ensuring that member states surge through during and after the covid-19 pandemic. She applauded the ECOWAS Parliament for the joint committee meeting which will help in bringing out recommendations and solutions in achieving the said theme of the meeting.

The opening session was climaxed with the cutting of cake by the Speaker of ECOWAS parliament Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis and the President of Togo National Assembly, YawaTsegan in celebration of the 20th anniversary of ECOWAS which coincided with the meeting in Lome, Togo.

British diplomat Saves drowning student

Stephen Ellison, 61, consul-general in Chongqing, was walking by a river in a nearby village when the woman, 24, slipped on rocks into the deep water.

Footage filmed by onlookers showed her struggle in the fast-moving current, disappear under a footbridge and emerge face down, apparently unconscious.

Mr Ellison took off his shoes and dived in to save her. She has not been named.

Stephen Ellison said the woman was shaken by the experience but recovering.

The consul general, who takes part in triathlons, turned the student over, lifted her face clear of the water and swam backwards to the steep sided riverbank.

“She was unconscious, she was not breathing and for a short time we feared the worst. But as we got back to the side, she started breathing again,” he told the BBC of the rescue, which took place on Saturday morning.

The diplomat held onto a lifebuoy attached to a rope that had been thrown towards him by passers-by, who then pulled the woman to safety. Mr Ellison swam round to shallower rocks and climbed out. He was given dry clothes and warm drinks by grateful villagers.

He said the student, who is from Wuhan and attends Chongqing University, was shaken by the experience and recovering slowly.

But she was extremely grateful and has invited him to dinner with her family next weekend.

Mr Ellison, originally from Newcastle, is head of the British mission in Chongqing – where his role is primarily to support bilateral trade links between Britain and China.

ACC AND NaCSA SIGN ANOTHER MOU FOR ‘GIE TRENK’ PROJECT

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The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA),have on Friday 13th November 2020, signed an addendum Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to further strengthen the existing relationship between the two institutions.

The MoU is also meant to help the ACC provide support to NaCSA in the implementation of the Sierra Leone Community Driven Development Project, (SLCDDP) also known as ‘GieTrenk’, supported by the Islamic Development Bank.

It could be recalled that the inclusion of the ACC in the World Bank-supported Social Safety Net (SSN) Project has helped to the successful implementation of the project, something the two institutions want to see replicated in the SLCDD Project.

Speaking at the event, the Deputy Commissioner of ACC, Augustine Foday Ngobie, said about a month ago, the two institutions have had discussions around the joint implementation of the SLCDD Project being factored into the already existing MoU between the two institutions.

He said the ACC was satisfied with the contents of the addendum MoU and therefore pledged the Commission’s unflinching support to the SLCDD project.

Like the SSN project, he said, the ACC will ensure that the SLCDD project succeeds in the interest of its beneficiaries.

In his statement, the Commissioner of NaCSA, Abu Bockarie Kokofele, started off by thanking the ACC leadership for all the support they have been providing to ensuring transparency and integrity in NaCSA’s operations, especially the flagship SSN project.

He said providing a grievance redress mechanism (GRM) component to major projects is becoming the vogue to ensure that beneficiaries have an opportunity to participate fully in issues that affect them under the project.

He made reference to the GRM component of the SSN project, which the ACC has effectively handled over the years; something, he said has helped to maintain donor confidence.

Senior Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, NaCSA, Dr. Susan Robert, said the relationship between NaCSA and the ACC has spanned for a long time referencing the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS), through to the implementation of the SSN Project.

Earlier, the SSN/GRM Coordinator at the ACC, Patrick Monrovia, who also chaired the short programme, spoke on the massive results the two institutions have achieved from their collaboration in the SSN project; something he said will be extended to the SLCDD project.

The high point of the ceremony was the signing of the addendum to the MoU by the Deputy Commissioner of ACC, Augustine Foday Ngobie and the Commissioner of NaCSA, Abu Bokarie Kokofele.

Secret Society Hunts Escapees

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Two of them were declared wanted

Secret societies have been a threat in Sierra Leone especially in the northern part of the country that has the largest number.

 Several youths groups and religious leaders have been complaining to the government for such issues to be addressed but it is as if government is turning a blind eye on the issue.

Few day ago members of some of the prominent secret societies, especially the Poro society has been hunting some youths for forceful initiation.

About four youths including  Sorieba Bangura and Tamba Bangura were recently unfortunate to escape after they have reportedly declared them wanted by the secret society at Mabanta village, Bombali District in the Northern part of Sierra Leone.

 According to sources family members have reported their disappearance as they are at present seeking for refuge in an undisclosed location.

Sources have also disclosed that some youths are reported to have lost their lives during the initiation.  In some instances some are sacrificed to fulfill rituals which are part of the secret society.

 A similar situation had occurred when Mr. Camara the second Chief Imam of Mabanta Village preached against secret societies stating that his religion is totally against the act of forceful initiation. 

The head of the secret society has declared him wanted on the 26Th July, 2016 to be forcefully initiated to the poro secret society preaching against them but he later escaped and sought refuge elsewhere.

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Escapees declared wanted

 After openly criticizing the Poro society, on the following day Chernor Camara the son of the chief Imam was also apprehended and was taken to the Poro bush for forceful initiation.

According to sources Camara also escaped from the bush on the same day and flew to an unknown place after he had known all what is happening at the bush.

Sources have also disclosed that Chernor Camara has been the most wanted man and they have demanded to make him as an example as a way of sacrificing him to the gods.

The act of secret society and forceful initiation sacrificed to fulfill rituals which are part of the secret society has been alarming within the whole part of Sierra Leone.

Both the media and the Civil Society has been raising awareness to the government and the public for such act but it seems like they are beating a dead horse. The issue of secret society is prevalent throughout Sierra Leone and it is gradually been exported outside Sierra Leone to other West African counries.

 

Ambassador Felix Koroma call for Enactment of Dual Citizenship Bill

As the dual citizenship bill is being tabled in parliament, the former Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations, Felix A.Koroma has called on government and all opposition members in parliament to support the motion for the Dual Citizenship Bill to be passed into law.

The Ambassador emphasized that the time is now or never. He intimated this press that one of the reasons why the progress of our nation has been forestall is that many viable and outstanding Sierra Leonean who are equally competent and committed in transforming the nation are outside the country.

He further explained that many of our citizens left the country as a result of the war, to further their education, for economic reasons, to unite with their families etc.

The Ambassador said that being once a Sierra Leonean Ambassador in the diaspora, he has spoke and he is still speaking with lots of Sierra Leonean in and out of the diaspora and as such he is well informed to speak on this issue.

He emphasized that after a long and tireless work in the Diaspora, many of tesefloks wants to return home and give back to their country. That is why he holds that the Dual Citizenship Bill is the gate way that will open the nation for growth and prosperity.

However, he noted that many locals especially the politician may feel a little bit of threat on this issue and may be tempted not to push the bill further. He encouraged them to note that led countries in the world are comfortable to give dual citizenship to foreigners and why should we not be comfortable to give it to our own. According to him those in the diaspora are not only our countrymen but also our major economic contributors. In view of these they are to be encouraged to be part of nation building.

Furtherance to his advocacy, the Ambassador informed this press that he is currently working with a team of lawyers who will be following progress on the bill and take necessary action should the need be.

He further called on the main opposition members in parliament to take the lead in ensuring that this bill becomes law. At the same time, he hopes that the government will make it necessary to enact this bill into law.

AS CHILDREN TELL HER ORDEALS…

Government Projects Wage Bill Increase by 3.5 Trillion

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By Fatima Sesay

The Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa has on Friday 13th November 2020 informed parliamentarians that, in 2021 the Government wage bill is expected to increase by 3.5 trillion.

Minister Jacob Jusu Saffa made the disclosure during the presentation of the appropriation Act bill in the well of Parliament, an Act to authorize expenditure from the consolidated revenue fund for the services of Sierra Leone for the 2021 and for other related matters.

He further that the 2021 budget has made provision for a 25% salary increment for all military personnel and other security forces including the Sierra Leone Police for a period of three years, effective April 2021.

Minister Saffa also revealed that the 2021 budget states that staff of tertiary education institutions will

also receive a 25 percent pay rise, effective April 2021. The budget according to minister Saffa has made provision for an additional 1,000 teachers and

1,000 health workers to be recruited in support of the Human Capital Development (HCD) agenda of the President.

He further disclosed that provisions have also been made for the recruitment of additional military personnel

and a much needed Extension Workers in Agriculture and other Civil Servants.

Consequently, he said, the Government Wage Bill is projected to increase to Le3.5

trillion in 2021 from Le3.3 trillion in 2020, and of this, Le290 billion is allocated to Pensions, Gratuities and other allowances. Minister Saffa went on to state that, contributions to the Social Security Fund for government Workers will amount to Le250.8 billion.

He indicated that debt service payments total interest payments will amount to Le1.3 trillion in 2021, and of this, interest payments on domestic debt will amount to Le1.1

Trillion, reflecting the high stock of domestic debt accumulated over the years.

He said provisions have also been made to recruit additional military personnel and much-needed Extension Workers in Agriculture and other Civil Servants, noting that the Government Wage Bill is projected to increase to Le3.5 trillion in 2021 from Le3.3 trillion in 2020, of this, Le290 billion is allocated to Pensions and Gratuities and other allowances and contributions to the Social Security Fund for Government Workers will amount to Le250.8 billion.

“I am pleased to report to this Noble House that amid COVID-19 and all its accompanying challenges, 112 of the 159 commitments in the original 2020 Budget have either been completed or are on track to be completed by the planned dates. Also, 25 of the 28 commitments in the Supplementary Budget have either been completed or on track for delivery. This gives a delivery rate of 89 percent on the 2020 Supplementary Budget,” he said.

The Minister said Government has once again passed the Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC) scorecard, noting that in the 2021 Scorecard, which assessed performance in 2019 and 2020, Sierra Leone passed 13 indicators up from 11.

He said this is the highest number of indicators Sierra Leone has ever passed on the MCC scorecard, adding that the consecutive passing of the scorecard has increased the country’s chances of being considered for the MCC Compact that would make available substantial financial resources for the implementation of transformational development projects.

“Government’s commitment to implementing policies measured by the MCC is not merely about passing. We implement these policies because we believe they are critical for the development of our country and the transformation of the lives of our citizens,” he said.

He said at the Ministry of Finance, they consider a fiscal policy to be one of the key pathways to ensuring such transformation, noting that the overall budget deficit, including grants, as a percentage of GDP, the MCC’s standard measure of the stance of fiscal policy, was 8.8 percent in 2017.

He said following the adoption of fiscal consolidation measures upon assuming office, the deficit narrowed to 5.6 percent in 2018 and declined further to 3.1 percent in 2019.

He said the MCC score on fiscal policy improved from 4.0 percent in 2017 to 18.8 percent in 2020, showing marked progress in this Administration’s management of the nation’s finances, noting that they will continue to pursue prudent fiscal policies and implement radical but necessary reforms in their public financial management.

Parliament Approves New Ambassador To Morocco And 2 Others

By Feima Sesay

Members of parliament have on Monday 16th November 2020 approved new ambassador to Morocco and two other Presidential nominees to serve as and deputy Ambassadors.

Making his submission, the deputy leader of the opposition, Hon Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said that whenever the Bio led government appoint or takes decision that is pro-people they will support it.

He said the nominees are qualified and fit for the positions for which they have been appointed to serve.

Hon Bash Kamara from Karene district in his contribution during the debate thanked President Bio for appointing one of theirs.

He said that the presidential nominee to serve in the capacity of Ambassador to the kingdom of Morocco is a fine gentleman who has served in various capacities and with the experience he gained over the years he will proudly deliver the goods for this nation.

Other MPs who contributed during the debate, appealed to the Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco to ensure that Sierra Leonean students studying there are well taken care of, as over the past couple of years, they have been encountering series of problems which they will want him to address.

Hon Hassan Sesay from the APC called on the Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco to tap into the energy potential Morocco has so that Sierra Leone will benefit from that huge potential.

The approved presidential nominees include, Ambassador Yvonne Alexanderna King, deputy Ambassador to United Kingdom,  Mr Attonmani Denkeh, Ambassador to Kingdom of Morocco and Mr Johnathan Saffa, deputy Ambassador to Liberia.

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