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Dr. Samura Kamara has robustly engaged in electoral sensitization and optimistically installed the APC symbol, which shows sign of victory in Constituency 110 in the upcoming Re-run Election that will be conducted by the National Electoral Commission on the 12th December, 2020.
The presidential flag bearer of the APC IN THE 2018 presidential elections toured Number 2 river, Quarry Borbor Beach, Hamilton, Mambo, Mile 13 and its environs within the Goderich axis.
Â Dr. Samura Kamara was in the same company with Hon. Kadie Davies in meeting voters to their door steps, in order for them to be optimistic and have the enthusiasm to defend the party through the ballot box.
In his statement, Dr. Samura Kamara submits his commitment to the people in working closely with our Member of Parliament to be in the process of providing social services.
He further states, voters must come out in their numbers to exercise their franchise come elections day.
Â Womenâ€™s empowerment is part of his plans and agenda going forward, therefore women must take Center stage in all facets and Hon. Kadie Davies is not an exception he eluded.
Dr. Samura Kamara calls for peace and tranquility during and after pooling, but further noted that the people`s votes ought to be protected and adequately counted. Therefore, he stated that the result must reflect the will of the people which serves as the bedrock of democracy. He thanked everyone for coming and also for leaving their busy schedules to witness the event.
Views were sounded, voters are really ready and determine to overwhelmingly vote for Hon. Kadie Davies, because she is their choice.
Â In climax of the event, the victory song of the party was acknowledged by all members present who display unity among comrades.
MMCET Receives Le 3.5Billion for Skills Development
Â His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has launched a Le3.5 billion Skills Development Fund to improve capacity and infrastructure at the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology, MMCET, and pronounced it a full Technical University.
Â The launching is geared towards empowering the institution to provide skills training for youths that could strengthen theÂ middle level manpower of the country.Â
The college, first named Milton Margai Teachers College in 1963 after the countryâ€™s first Prime Minister, Sir, Milton Margai, mainly offered Teacherâ€™s Certificate and Teacherâ€™s Advance Certificate courses before adding technical and vocational education, TVET.Â
The Community Headman in Goderich, Rev. Arthur K. Coker, said that education was the key to a nationâ€™s development, noting that the presence of President Bio at the occasion was to show how much he valued education.
He further stated that the community had benefited so much from the college, adding that their forefathers made no mistake in providing the land for the erection of an institution of learning.
â€œWe the people of Goderich Community are grateful to President Bio. We will continue to support your government in transforming this beautiful country,â€ he assured.
Chairman Tertiary Education Commission, Professor Aliyageen M. Alghali, said that it was a remarkable day in the history of the college and Goderich community as a whole, confirming that the college had met all set standards of the Commission to become a university.
â€œThe Commission notes that the decision of transforming this college into a technical university was unanimously agreed upon by the Commission and that compliance on the side of the college was done to the satisfaction,â€ he noted and assured that the commission would work together with all stakeholders to make sure that standards met were kept.
Principal of MMCET, Dr Philip John Kanu, said he was grateful for the transformation of the college into a technical university, referring to the leadership of President Bio as â€œfocused and transformative in making Sierra Leone a great nationâ€.
Dr. Kanu noted that it was a joyous day for the college, community, staff, and the parents of the school because the new status of the institution would support development in the country. He recalled that in 1996 as Head of State Julius Maada Bio upgraded the college into a degree-awarding body.
â€œMr. President, it is like you are destined for the development of this college. You have shown to this college that you are truly the champion of Human Capital Development,â€ he said.
Dr Kanu told the gathering that the college had made tremendous progress in supporting the education and development efforts of the nation, adding that the vision of the forefathers of the college was not lost.
â€œThe transformation of the college into a technical university will provide a state of the art lab, a robust administrative system, robust ICT that ensure a digitally run campus,â€ he concluded.
In his statement, President Dr Julius Maada Bio announced that they had acknowledged in the New Direction manifesto the appalling state and neglect of technical and vocational education in Sierra Leone â€“ from the lack of clarity about the TVET mission to challenges with perceptions of TVET education, the curriculum, funding, locations, to even more.
â€œWe believe, among other things, that a skilled and resourceful labour force can unlock rapid national development through relevant training in science, technology, and innovation.
â€œWorkforce development through basic training, reskilling, and up skilling is the precursor for innovation, manufacturing, and for economic transformation. So our investments in education are guided by two key questions: a) What skillsets will a productive Sierra Leonean need over the next twenty years, and, b) What skillsets do we need for economic expansion?â€ he said.
The President said that those were the questions that had informed the governmentâ€™s policy on technical and vocational education in general and guided their thinking on transforming polytechnics into technical universities.
â€œWe believe that technical universities should help advance our strategic goals in the technical and vocational training sectors more vigorously. Students must be granted the opportunity to achieve the highest qualifications in technical education from an accredited university,â€ he said.
President Bio further asserted that there must be a clear pathway from technical secondary education to degree level education and training, adding that that would remove the scourge of inferiority associated with the polytechnic as an institution and would create advanced career and training possibilities for young people.
â€œIt, therefore, gives me great pleasure to launch the Skills Development Fund valued at Le3.5 billion and formally commission the series of infrastructural improvements I have already highlighted,â€ he concluded.
Â Dr. Spencer Explains Why Connaught Teaching Hospital Was Established
By Feima Sesay
The Connaught Teaching Hospital Chairperson, Dr Sonia Spencer has informed members of Parliament on appropriation Committee on Health and Sanitation why the teaching hospital was established.
According to Dr Spencer one of the reasons it was established was that, College of Medicine which was established in 1989 to train medical practitioners, but never attained the status of
training Specialized medical doctors.
Therefore, the practice of sending doctors for specialized training in other countries became necessary but expensive, and does not produce the desired number of specialists since many fail to return home after completion of training,
Consequently, the number of specialists in the country has constantly remained low.
To address the ugly situation, Dr Spencer informed the committee that, the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and
by the enactment of the ‘Teaching Hospital Complex Administration Act (2016) and the Sierra Leone Council of Postgraduate Colleges of Health Specialties’ Act (2016); established a local Post Graduate
Medical training Programme as one of its flagship programmes to increase the supply of specialist doctors in the country.
The Teaching Hospitals Complex (USLTHC) comprises of these six (6) hospitals with approximately 10,000 admissions per year- Connaught Hospital, Princess Christian Maternity Hospital, (PCMH) Ola During Children’s Hospital, Kissy Psychiatric Hospital, Jui Hospital (also known as the Sierra Leone-China Friendship Hospital), and Lakka Infectious Diseases Hospital.
In addition, there are five (5) Affiliates, the regional government hospitals in Makeni, Bo, Kenema, Choithram Memorial Hospital at Hill Station, and Emergency Trauma Hospital at Goderich.
One major advantage of USLTHC is that for the first time ever, Specialist Doctors will be trained and retained in the country to provide quality medical services to the people.
There Vision statement is to create an enabling environment for training of the finest healthcare personnel in all fields of health Sciences who will then deliver world- class healthcare services with compassion.
She further informed the committee that they are understaff and are constraints in running the activities of the hospital and in the circumstances pleaded for the intervention of the committee.
The chairman of the committee on Health and Sanitation Hon. Moses Baimba Jokie however assured them of the committee`s continuous support and further encourage them to continue to work with the committee so that the health situation in the country will improve.
IPRP Capacitates Staff
IPRP staff as well as board members in a two-day in- house training on capacity building
The Independent Procurement Review Panel (IPRP) has ended a two-day in â€“house procurement capacity training on Thursday 3rd December,2020 at the conference room of the IPRP at Wellington Street in Freetown.Â
The training targeted staff as well as Board Members of the Panel. The areas discussed during these sessions included: Investigation Techniques, Procurement Rules and Regulations, Research and Reporting, Legal Issues on Procurement and Media Code of Ethics.
The Independent Procurement Review Panel is a creature of section 65 (1) of the National Public Procurement (NPPA) No.10 of 2016.Â The IPRP is charged with the responsibility to review complains/ appeals from dissatisfied bidders about decision of a procuring entity
Â The Chairman of the IPRP Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai Esq , thanked staff and board members for attending the first ever in- house training since its re- establishment of the Panel in April 2019.
Â He noted that that the Panel was dominant for a while, adding that when governance change hands the Panel was rejuvenated.
The chairman noted that when the Panel commenced operations was challenged with an office space, noting that the IPRP was housed by the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) and that was undermining the independence of the Panel.
He said when the new administration took over the mantle of the Panel requested an office space under the current government, adding that funds were disbursed by the Ministry of Finance for the setting up of an office and recruitment of staff.Â Â Â
The chairman said the training was targeted to capacitate staff in their daily chores, in order to enhance efficiency in staff various roles.
He said the training would equip core technical staff especially the Investigation unit of the institution as they would be investigating procurement deceit.
Esq Abdulai emphasized that the IPRP sits as a high court, in matters regarding to procurement mal- administration, citing that the IPRP reached out to the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) to aid in the facilitation as well as aid in investigation techniques.
Since April 2019, when the Panel was constituted to date had delivered seven complaints bordering on procedural irregularities procurement related issues at the Ministry of Health and sanitation, National Revenue Authority (NRA), University of Sierra Leone (USL), Sierra Leone Police (SLP), and National Commission for Privatization (NCP)and had addressed these complaints with reasoned rulings. He confirmed.
He confirmed that none of the Panel rulings has been contested by any procurement entity.
The chairman said the Panel is very enthusiastic in their work, but due to the COVID 19 pandemic brought most procurement process in the country to a halt.
Â Deputy Director of Investigation at the ACC, Issa Dauda Kanu, said the investigation unit was the backbone of the Panel, pointing that such a training was timely that would aid the unit in complaint conducts.
He disclosed that the ACC would endeavour at all times to render helping hands to the IPRP when the need arises as they are complimenting each other in the fight against corrupt practices.
Â Procurement Directorate at the Ministry of Finance, Mohamed John Musa, thrilled participants on Procurement Rules and Regulations noted that procurement was a new phenomenon in the country.
He stressed that procurement officer does not want to be checked by any oversight body in their activities, citing that the procurement sector was the bed rock for graft.
He reiterated that the IPRP mandate goes beyond receiving complaints from aggrieved bidder, supplier and consultant, pointing that the Panel has the mandate to investigate the procurement circle processes, and site visit as long as funds are disbursed from the consolidated fund.
The Executive Secretary of the IPRP Emma Banya Esq, dilated on the Legal issues on procurement said year in year out the Auditor Generalâ€™s Report routinely picked up mal-administration in Ministries Departments and Agencies regarding to procurement mal- administration.
Â â€œIf only procurement officer and procuring entity do adhere with the NPPA Act of 2016 and the revised Public Procurement Manual Second Edition, of 2020 will save government immenselyâ€. She echoed.
SUPREME COURT HEARS SAMURA KAMARA & SYLVIA BLYDENâ€™S PETITION CASE
The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone on Thursday, 3rd December ordered that following the failure on all parties to comply with the Consolidation Order, dated 18th July, 2018, parties in this action should now honor the said â€˜Order 1â€™ by filing a consolidated bundle of the Supreme Court cases No. 6 and 7/2018 serving same on the 1stand 2nd Petitioners as well as 1st and 2nd Defendants.
It could be recalled that in April 2018, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden and Dr. Samura Kamara separately filed petitions challenging the pronouncement of His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
Â These cases were heard by the Supreme Court presided over by Justices Nicholas Brown Marke JSC; Eku Roberts JSC and Glena Thompson JSC who gave directives for both petitions to be consolidated.
Following the consolidation of both petitions on the 18th July, 2018 the Applicants for the 3rdand 4th Defendants, that is, His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio and the Sierra Leone Peopleâ€™s Party (SLPP) respectively filed a Notice of Motion for the setting aside of the petitions on the 3rd August, 2018.
The application is still pending even though affidavits in opposition have been filed. Despite the Order to consolidate the petitions, the cases were still not consolidated.
Presiding today on the matter, the Hon. Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards ordered that the Solicitors for the 3rd and 4th Defendants/Applicants be given time to consolidate the said petitions which are now titled â€˜Supreme Court Case Nos. 6 and 7 of 2018.â€™
The parties were also ordered to refile their Motions and Affidavits in opposition under the said consolidated petition case, Supreme Court Case Nos. 6 and 7 of 2018.
Among the eight Orders, the empaneled Justices (Desmond Babatunde Edwards CJ; Nicholas Brown Marke JSC; Eku Roberts JSC; Alusine Sesay JSC and Ivan Sesay JA ordered that all parties should be given the opportunities to file any further affidavits if they so desire on or against the adjourned date.
The mater was adjourned to 21stJanuary, 2021 for purpose of confirming whether there has been compliance with all directions.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â LEGAL LINK COMMEMORATES INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
It could be recalled that following the resolution 47/3 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1992, the annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed.
The day is mainly set aside by the United Nations to promote the rights and well-being of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of PWDâ€™s in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
Christian Lawyers Centre (hereinafter referred to as LEGAL LINK), being an advocacy groupÂ that defends the rights of religious communities and vulnerable groups in Sierra Leone, felt motivated on this historic day to hold a special breakfast and roundtable discussion With PWD’s in Sierra Leone as the world commemorates the International Day of Disabled Persons.
The said roundtable discussion was convened primarily to unearth the existing challenges affecting persons with disabilities within this COVID-19 environment.
The theme for this yearâ€™s INTERNATIONAL DISABILITY DAY reads thus: â€œBuilding Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World.â€
This theme is a clarion call to showcase that disability inclusion will result in a COVID-19 response and recovery that will better serve everyone, more fully suppressing the virus, as well as â€œbuilding back better.â€
It will further provide for more agile systems and interventions that are capable of responding to complex situations, reaching the furthest within the Disability community.
PWD’s, even under normal circumstances,Â are less likely to access health care, education, employment and to effectively participate in the governance architecture of their communities.
An integrated approach is often required to address these challenges as well as ensuring that PWD’s are not left behind.
In Sierra Leone, even though efforts have been made to pass Disability legislation and establish a Disability Commission to protect the rights of PWD’s, there are a lot of challenges still faced by PWD’S in the country.
Â In order to have a better appreciation and understanding of the predicament situation of PWD’s during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Executive Director of LEGAL LINK, Rashid Dumbuya Esq held a joint discussion with the different categories of PWD’s that were in attendance to express their plights with respect to the impact of COVID-19 on their livelihoods. Listed below are some of the challenges and areas of concern raised by PWD’S at LEGAL LINKâ€™s office.
Limited access to free tertiary education;
Limited access to free health care;
Disability unfriendly infrastructure and environment;
Discrimination and stigmatization;
The lack of Disability Units within Ministries, Departments and Agencies;
Increased unemployment and social marginalization;
The lack of a comprehensive disability mainstreaming agenda to cater for the special needs of the various categories of persons with disability.
Â From the above points raised, it is crystal as clear that human rights abuses and violations have been meted against PWD’s during this Covid 19 pandemic.
It is important to further emphasize that Sierra Leone is a signatory to many international treaties and conventions that guarantee the rights of PWD’s. Chief amongst many others is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and the African Disability Protocol to name but a few.
All of the above frameworks put obligations on the state to take the necessary steps that will help protect, respect, fulfill and promote the rights of PWD’s in the country.
Against this backdrop, LEGAL LINK therefore calls on the government of Sierra Leone to comply with its obligation under International Human Rights Law by ensuring that it respects, protects, fulfill and promote the rights of PWD’S throughout the country; more so within a COVID-19 environment.
EU Doles Out 2 Million Euros For Development
The EU Ambassador to Sierra Leone, His Excellency, Tom Venns has told participants at the first Project Steering Committee meeting of the Project titled â€œSupport to Civil Society and Local Authorities for Local Development in Sierra Leoneâ€, held on Thursday 3rd December 2020, that dedicated grants of 1 Million Euro each for Falaba and Karene Districts will be signed early next year (2021) with the District Councils.
The aim of the meeting is to strengthen effective service delivery and decentralized response to the Covid 19 crisis.
Â The Steering Committee Meeting which took place in the Conference Room of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MOPED) was co-chaired by the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kaikai and the EU Ambassador, Tom Venns.
â€œThe Rider signed today, comes as a unique opportunity for the councils to prove their efficiency as local government and development actors, to benefit the residents of their districts. It also extends the number of councils and civil society grantees to include those in Falaba and Karene.â€ Ambassador Tom Venns said, adding that itâ€™s the EUâ€™s hope that this grant will go a long way in mitigating the socio-economic impact of the COVID19 crisis.
â€œIt will support the delivery of public services entrusted to the councils, the implementation of critical priorities identified under the District Development Plan as well as the District Councilâ€™s effort to strengthen resources mobilization, good governance and accountabilityâ€ he continued.
The Project is funded through an initial 23 million euro grant that has now been increased to 25 Million Euros from the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone. The five-year project aims to support the Government of Sierra Leoneâ€™s effort to deepen decentralization and promote local governance and economic development in Sierra Leone.
In his address, the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kaikai said the significance of the project cannot be overemphasized, adding that it has heightened expectations at the local level.
â€œAs we sit here, the expectations are extremely high and we are very excited that the EU has now become a key partner in our national development efforts. These efforts would not go in vain and I would like to assure the Ambassador and his delegation that nothing will be lost and much will be gainedâ€ Dr. Kaikai emphasised.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Tamba Lamina, commended the leadership of the EU Ambassador to Sierra Leone, saying that his Ministry understands the objective and purpose for the grants from the EU and that they are very grateful for the addition of the two new districts of Falaba and Karene to what he referred to as â€˜the most unique project that his Ministry is tasked to overseeâ€™.
He also commended the leadership of the Project Management Unit (PMU), saying that it has been an inspiration for them to work with the experts in the PMU and are grateful for the invaluable support they have received from them.
The Project Steering Committee, which was established by the Financing Agreement signed in 2018 between the Government of Sierra Leone and the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone has a membership that includes the Director of Fiscal Decentralization Division (for the Minister of Finance), theÂ Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, the Governance Lead of the EU Delegation, the Chairman of the Public Service Commission, the Director of National Authorizing Office, and the Director of Decentralization Secretariat. It also incorporates the Team Lead of the Project Management Unit, the Governance Programme Manager EUD, the Governance and Social Development Team Lead, DFID, the chairpersons and chief administrators of the Karene, Pujehun, Bombali, Kambia, Falaba, and Kenema District Councils and the Chairman of LoCASL. It is the highest decision-making structure, which is tasked with reviewing progress made, discuss opportunities identified, and addressed the challenges encountered in the implementation of the project. This includes broader issues arising from the individual grant contracts of civil society organizations and District Council administrations in the four districts of Bombali, Kambia, Kenema and Pujehun, currently funded under the programme.
In the meeting, the decisions of the Project Steering Committee centered around strengthening implementation, improving coordination and synergy with other government priority programmes and facilitating improved understanding, and promoting dialogue among the various stakeholders.
The PSC also addressed the following issues:
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â Reaffirmed the Government of Sierra Leone and the European Union Delegationâ€™s commitment to strengthening decentralization and local governance and promoting local development.
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â Approved the Terms of Reference of the Project Steering Committee (with the recommendation to include a representative from among civil society organization grantees).
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â Provided strategic guidance to addressing the following issues:
-Clarity on the local revenue generation and the roles and need for cooperation between local councils and chiefdom councils;
-Tax exemptions for imports under the project in line with the Cotonou Agreement;
-The need for greater convergence in policy and in particular harmonization between central government and local councilsâ€™ human resources management policy;
-Improving fiscal decentralization and accountability in the local councils
The PSC was adjourned with recommendations to the Project Management Unit to continue to energize debate on some of the substantive issues for the consideration in the next PSC meeting.
Further details: The EUD Project Management Unit established under this project provides support to the councils in the implementation and management of the grants. It will continue to work with key stakeholders including councils, MDAs, Parliament, civil society and the media to ensure transparent and accountable delivery of the activities outlined in each of the grants
Graduate Unemployment and the inequalities in the Job Market
By: Sheku Putka Kamara
I have decided to restate my views on this topic, not least because there have been numerous calls by a greater percentage of graduates I know; urging the Legendary to have another say on the subject matter herein. To that end, todayâ€™s Legendary Column shall not hesitate to get to the heart of the matter in so far as this subject is concerned. On lexical terms, unemployment refers to the share of the labor force that is without work, but available for and seeking employment. Studies have it that Sierra Leoneâ€™s unemployment rate for 2019 was 4.43%, a 0.01% increase from 2018.
Â In this 2020, the estimated youth unemployment rate in Sierra Leone was at 8.99 percent. These developments lack the impetus to be considered discreet.Â
It is frustrating to note that Sierra Leone still remains a country where graduates could actually stay for years, without getting a job. That is contradictory in many respects because for the vast majority of uneducated folks, literacy has the potency to liberate one from the shackles of abject poverty. I agree that oneâ€™s intellectual stamina is a plus in attaining greatness, but it is sardonic that we still have graduates in Sierra Leone that still find it tough to put food on the table.
Societal expectations have also not helped. For most of us that may have migrated to Freetown, the rest of our fellow countrymen back home have a feeling that we have made it in life and being a student and or a graduate from any of the colleges and universities makes the case even more serious. We still have graduates that cannot boast of a common Ten Thousand Leones a day (which is just about a dollar). Such situations have questioned our moralities and sanctities as a people that truly value education.
The job market in Sierra Leone is one that has been largely politicized. Maybe you just have to be APC or SLPP depending on what the case may be. These unfortunate affairs have dented the shove of decency in acquiring jobs etc. To a greater extent, integrity matters less because for most people, it is survival that actually matters. In most cases, some of such opportunities are short-lived. There have been instances where APC sympathizers wallow in abject poverty after their party may have lost power; the same for SLPP. How long must we continue in such a dangerous trajectory? It is sickening that people will ask for party cards in privileged conversations, but will not state such in job requirements and advertisements. How unfortunate!Â
All of such instances do not send a good signal. The quality of some graduates is again, another problem. This is the country where someone may have completed a degree program and still find it challenging to constructively write a simple formal letter. Forget about all other matters then. How will such a person leave up to expectation in the job environment? I am not saying that everyone has to be excellent, but let there be value for money. All of us may not graduate with First Class degrees and or distinctions in postgraduate programs, but there has to be a way we positively defend whatever paper (s) we possess. That is not too much to ask for.
Graduate Unemployment or unemployment in general is a global problem. In the UK, nearly one in ten graduates of some universities is still unemployed, fifteen months after leaving higher education, official figures show. The proportion of UK graduates still unemployed more than a year after leaving higher education was also high at the University of East London (8%), the London Metropolitan University (8%), University College Birmingham (7%) and Bradford University (7%), according to the latest Hesa data.
In Sierra Leone, even those that are on payroll barely survive. I am talking here about functional and effective survival. From observations, more responsibilities come with employment and with the pittance that some people get for what they do, you can imagine what the situation really looks like. Some of these inequalities have also largely contributed to corruption. There are instances where people that earn less than Fifty Million Leones a year, from salary only (about 5,000) own houses and ride expensive cabs. I suppose that mathematics will question those figures and may even inquire where some of such incomes may have come from. We really have some work to do. Maybe we must be reminding ourselves that there is life after death and that someday, we all have to give account about our stewardships?
The Stutern Report, 2016 observed that the pandemic scale of joblessness among youths is the number one priority issue that one believes all countries around a more insecure and fragile world should strive to tackle. In no continent is effective policy response to youth unemployment more necessary than in Africa and in no country is it more desperate than Nigeria. According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, the general rate of unemployment as at third quarter of 2016 stood at 13.9% while underemployment rate was 19.7%. At the cumulative unemployment and underemployment rate of 33%, the problem of lack of jobs in a currently poorly performing economy should be a matter of deep concern to all. These narrations are to suggest that Sierra Leone is not alone in all of this and that the calls for an urgent change of the narratives are but obvious expressions.
The Nigerian youth make up a staggering 60% of the Nigerian 180m population. The unemployment situation is even worse so, a stock and a flow challenge among this segment of the population. As secondary and tertiary institutions graduate more young people annually with poor skills, the new flow of entrants worsen the stock of the unemployed. The economic future and social stability of Nigeria is definitely vulnerable to the existential risk of having about 2.5 – 3 million young Nigerians annually enter the labor market without the prospect of jobs for about 40% of them (Stutern Report, 2016).
In a study about Youth Unemployment, Challenges and Opportunities: the Case of Sierra Leone, Molla (2016) discussed that about 60% of the countryâ€™s youth are believed to be structurally unemployed. The NationalÂ YouthÂ PolicyÂ of Sierra LeoneÂ andÂ theÂ National Youth CommissionÂ ActÂ ofÂ 2009, definedÂ youthÂ asÂ â€˜â€™all Sierra Leonean females and males between the ages of 15 and 35.â€™â€™ This segment of the nation is being challenged with a multitude of issues that require economic, political and social supports (GoSL, 2003).
These discourses continue to suggest that graduate unemployment and unemployment in general are still issues that are yet to be adequately addressed in Sierra Leone. Government cannot employ everyone, but more has to be done and should be done. The private sector must also refrain from the doctrines of party lines. We have to shift the balance from theory to practice. That is not to say that theories are irrelevant. We may just need the paradigm shift for more effectiveness. We have to allow institutions to work effectively. That is what we need. The educated minds are to be kept busy, but we also expect all of them to be up to the tasks. Political parties come and go. Let us therefore empower the countryâ€™s human resource for the betterment of our beloved motherland.
DG KAITIBI GEARS NATCOM FOR IMPROVED PERFORMANCE
Sierra Leoneâ€™s leading ICT technocrat, Daniel Kaitibi took over the mantle of leadership of the National Telecommunications Company with a mission to improve on the telecommunications regulatorâ€™s efficiency and useful to its customers â€“ electronic media operators, internet service providers, mobile telephone operators and the public that they serve Towards achievement of that vision, DG Kaitibi and his team has developed, validated (stakeholders inclusive) and laid in the House of Parliament on 24th Nov. 2020 five (5) secondary regulations pursuant to Section 82 of the Telecommunications Act 2006 as amended.
These cutting edge international best practice regulations are essential for the growth of ICT services, applications and devices. In line with H.E President Bio’s vision for ICT as encapsulated in Cluster 3.5 of the MTNDP which speaks to bridging the digital divide, DG Kaitibi is poised to take NATCOM to higher heights.
In his Action Plan for NATCOMâ€™s transformation that he revealed in July just after his appointment, among other things, DG Kaitibi outlined the following:
1.Enactment of the Electronic Communications Act 2020 which would eventually lead to transforming NATCOM into an authority
2. Procuring more cyber security and fraud detection equipment
3. Securing more drive test simulation and monitoring equipment (including hand geld tools)
4. Installing fixed spectrum monitoring equipment
5. Completion of the new NATCOM building at South Ridge; for which work is already underway
6. Developing regulations on Competition Practices, and Interconnect Clearing House.
Meanwhile, under his leadership, staff morale at NATCOM is at its highest with board, management and staff determined to continue working together harmoniously in lifting NATCOM from height to height.