The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 May 2013
The latest report of the IMF on Sierra Leone’s economic performance, says that the economy rose to 15% last year as widely expected, contrary to the government’s 30% forecast.
But there are serious concerns that despite rising economic growth – fuelled largely by increased iron ore mining production, there is no sign of the obscene levels of poverty coming down. 70% of the population continues to live on less than one dollar a day.
Although the IMF reports that inflation dropped by 5 percentage points in 2012 to 12%, prices of consumer goods and some essential industrial materials, such as cement and fuel soared.
Several Banks have also experienced sharp falls in profit, as the Banking industry struggles to compete with government’s continuing dominant presence in the money market.
The IMF mission was in Freetown, where it conducted its ten days review of the country’s economic performance, with a view to agreeing a new three-year economic and financial assistance program, through its Extended Credit Facility (ECF).
Yusuf Keketoma Sandi
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 May 2913
Just last week Wednesday, the Revenue Watch Institute, published its latest Resource Governance Index for 2013. The Resource Governance Index measures the quality of governance in the oil, gas and mining sector of 58 countries.
After almost a year of assembling 46 expert researchers who gathered original data from all 58 jurisdictions, and the findings examined by 56 peer reviewers, plus an independent review, the report for Sierra Leone and many other countries makes for uncomfortable reading. (Photo: President Koroma).
Overall, the index finds that only 11 out of the 58 countries have satisfactory standards of transparency and accountability. In the rest, the public lacks fundamental information about oil, gas and the mining sector.
Most worryingly, more than half the sample – 32 countries, do not meet even basic standards of resource governance, performing weakly or simply failing.
So the question is: what does the report say about the quality of governance in the mining and extractive sector in Sierra Leone and how does Sierra Leone compare with its neighbour Liberia?
Anthony Kamara Jnr.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 May 2013
The chairman of Sierra Leone’s National Telecommunication Commission (NATCOM) – Siray A. Timbo, was recently lauded in Istanbul, Turkey, for the bold steps he is taking in addressing the country’s ICT regulation challenges.
Mr. Timbo (Photo) was attending the 8th International Electronic Communications Regulators Conference, where he was commended for his “unwavering commitment to integrity”, as he continues to lead the Commission.
The conference “ICT Today – and Beyond” brought together representatives of European, Asian, American and African ministries, agencies and institutions responsible for the functioning and development of the telecommunications industry.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 May 2013
Sierra Leone has one of the worst crime figures in West Africa. A survey conducted last year found that the majority of people in the country do not trust the police force.
Over 70% of people also said that the police force is the most corrupt institution in the country.
This is a highly damning record, for an institution which takes its roots from the British tradition of ‘fair cop’ and fair-minded enforcement of law and order.
Last year the country’s police were accused of murder, when armed officers opened fire on law abiding mine workers out on strike in the northern district of Tonkolili, killing one woman. Their only crime was to protest against exploitation by foreign companies.
The striking workers were demanding better working conditions and higher pay from their employers. Yet, police boss – Inspector General Munu is proud of his force’s record.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 May 2013
On 24 May last year, I went to Kailahun with the Peace Project to donate crutches to the disabled. And whilst I was there, the blind also requested we help them with walking canes.
We promised to be back with the 500 walking canes, once they arrive from the United States.
When I got back to Parliament after the trip, I bumped literally into Hon. Alice Foyah (Photo). And after apologising for my clumsiness, I told her of my trip to her constituency. She smiled fully, her eyes like two shining buttons.
She placed her hand on my shoulder and said warmly: “Why didn’t you let me know you were going to Kailahun, so I could have made my people give you the respect you deserve? I could have made them treat you to the ‘Kailahun pemahun’ and, well, everything you would have requested. Come on, you deserve it – you know – you’re such a good reporter.”
Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 May 2013
Actions it is said have consequences. Plans have implications. Sadly, policy paralysis is leaving many ordinary Sierra Leoneans in the cauldron of agony, as hunger, poverty and economic hardship, caused by the lack of an appropriate and relevant structural transformation agenda for prosperity.
An African saying wisely warns that you should beware of a naked man who offers you clothes. Barely six months after last year’s general elections, the so called ‘operation 4-4-4’, embraced by the majority, has yielded only the dividend of ‘rough-rough-rough’ for the average Sierra Leonean, who is no longer waving- but drowning.
They are gasping for palliatives, amidst rising inflation.
While they welcome roads, they will be happier with food more. They would have liked life to be a little easier for themselves and their families, just as it is for those who throw crumbs at them.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 May 2013
A new report on Africa’s economic competitiveness published last week, says that the strides made by African economies in achieving economic growth, must be accompanied by efforts to boost long-term competitiveness, if the continent is to ensure sustainable improvements in living standards.
The Africa Competitiveness Report 2013, released last week by the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, identifies closer regional integration as an important driver for enhancing economic competitiveness.
‘Connecting people, consolidating peace and accelerating economic transformation’, were the main themes of a high-level seminar organized by the African Development Bank in Abidjan last Monday, May 13.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 May 2013
When a king decides to disrobe the king-maker, there are bound to be alarm bells ringing as rumours of treachery and betrayal make their rounds.
But, was the unceremonious disrobing of the king-maker a mere act of showing who is in charge of running Sierra Leone?
The leader of Sierra Leone’s opposition Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) – Charles Margai (Photo), was publicly humiliated by president Koroma last Friday, when he was arrested by heavily armed security officers at his home in Freetown.
He was locked up in the country’s notorious CID headquarters at Pademba Road, where he was denied access to his medication, before he was yesterday released on bail, set at Le100 million.
He is accused by the police of making subversive statements, which they say are inimical to the security of the state.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 May 2013
Sierra Leone’s economy is classed amongst a group of ten African economies, whose annual growth rates have far exceeded the continent’s average of 4%.
This is largely the result of recent increase in Foreign Direct investments (FDI) and export revenue.
However, there are genuine fears that this unprecedented surge in FDI may not be sustained, especially by the Chinese, whose economic growth forecast has been recently down-graded, as industrial production slows down.
The total annual value of FDI received by Sierra Leone in the last five years, is far less than the $1 Billion expected by the government.
And this, despite the staging of a well attended international trade and investment conference organised and fronted by former British Prime Minster – Tony Blair in London in 2010.
The Chinese government has made several political gestures to increase its investment in Sierra Leone. Will the newly announced $6 billion investment materialise, or is it just another promise?
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 May 2013
African countries are gradually coming to the realization that they cannot continue to marginalize and ignore the economic potential of two-thirds of their population – women.
Although the reality for most of Africa is that women have for centuries acted as the invisible backbone of domestic subsistence, few countries have put policies in place that will harness the development potential of women.
But without access to basic utilities, such as water, electricity and telecommunications, Africa’s developmental aspirations will remain, but a dream. The empowerment of women must therefore, not only focus on educating the girl-child, but guaranteeing equal access to sustainable energy.
In the West African sub-region – Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Ivory Coast, through the Mano River Union, have woken up to the desperate need for public policy shift towards greater access to energy for women. This is the agenda of a three-day conference, which opened earlier today at Tokeh Beach in Freetown.