A team of top government officials including the Chairman of National Commission for Privatization (NCP) Umaru Napoleon Koroma andthe Minister of Transport and Aviation Kabineh Moinama Kallon on Tuesday 18th September 2018 visited the Freetown Terminal to inspect the work done by Bollore Transport and Logistics.
Welcoming the team to the Freetown Terminal, the Country Manager Bollore Transport and Logistics, Captain Fabjanko Kokan thanked the officials for visiting the site.
Last Friday, the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa held roundtable meeting with senior managers from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology to discuss the range of issues affecting the status and operation of the institution.
Issues of how the former government allegedly entered into a financial agreement for two academic years without the approval of Cabinet and the Ministry of Finance as required by law and how the current government can now regularize that financial arrangement for the benefit of the students and Sierra Leone as a whole were discussed and finalized.
A delegation consisting of members of Parliament from Britain visited His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio and commended him on his initial steps since he was elected president in April this year.
Head of delegation, Honorable John Mann, said as lawmakers they are impressed with the astute leadership qualities already shown by President Bio, noting that his new government is on the right path, especially in the area of education and expressed their optimism for improvement in other sectors.
Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs Baindu Dassama together with her Deputy Minister, Mohamed Hajji Kella on Monday 17th September, 2018 were in the court to witness an alleged sexual penetration matter involving a nine-year-old girl (name withheld) who is in the custody of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs.
The duo made their appearance at the third hearing of a Preliminary Investigation (PI) matter involving a fifty-year-old accused person, Sorie Dumbuya.
The Kossoh Tong Organization has donated books and other learning materials to over 200 pupils drawn from different schools in the Kossoh Town community in the east end of Freetown.
The donation according to the Secretary General of the organization Mohamed Lamin Fullah is to help complement the government’s free quality education scheme in the country. Mohamed further said that the donation included books, pencils, pens, mathematical sets and school bags amongst others.He went on to say that they targeted the less privileged children that are performing excellently in their different schools across the community. Fullah continued to say that the aim is to motivate younger children in the community to take schooling very serious so that they will become great men and women in future.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently estimated the maternal mortality ratio at1,360 deaths per 100,000 live births. Women in Sierra Leone have a 1 in 17 lifetime risk of dying due to pregnancy or child birth (WHO, 2015).
Access to quality health care is a major public health concern for residents of Kambia District. The trend which many describe as negative has contributed to the high rate of maternal and new-born deaths as disclosed during the last Global Population Day celebrations in the district.
Society for Democratic Initiatives (SDI) has in a press release condemned the loss of life of a 29-year-old man in Massengbeh Village, Mile 91, in Tonkolili District during a raid code-named ‘Operation Green Storm’ carried out by joint security forces.
The release called on the Independent Police Complaint Board (IPCB) to speedily carry out their investigation and for the police hierarchy to bring to book all those responsible for the killing of a fellow Sierra Leonean.
The UK government supported a distribution of medical drugs at the Makeni District Hospital, as part of Sierra Leone’s ‘Free Healthcare’ initiative.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday 18 September, Deputy Head of DFID Sierra Leone, Angela Spilsbury said she was delighted to represent the UK government at the distribution, which is supported by UK Aid.
Residents of Masorry community in an outreach meeting held by the Northern Region Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Friday 14th September 2018 pledged to collaborate with the Commission to eliminate bribery and petty corruption in their community. This commitment was made at the Masorry Court Barray, Bombali Shebora Chiefdom, Bombali District.
Addressing the people, ACC Public Education Officer Abdulai Saccoh described the engagement as an interactive forum. Saccoh said, bribery is not only limited to offering or soliciting money but rather it amounts to anything of monetary value which can take different forms.
Parents and guardians of school children in Makeni City, northern Sierra Leone, enthusiastically and wholesomely welcomed President Julius Maada Bio’s Free Quality Education initiative which started on Monday 17th September, 2018.
AYV was part of a team from the Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education headed by the National Coordinator of the Free Quality Education Secretariat, Amara Sowa that visited Makeni. The team successfully distributed free Ruled Exercise Books to thousands of school children at various schools in Makeni.
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development through the Decentralization Secretariat with support from United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, has organised a three-day Training of Trainers Workshop for orientation and induction of newly-elected Mayors, Chairpersons and Councillors of local councils across the country at the Winners Church Hall in Bo, Southern Province.
The main objective of the training is to equip the participants with the requisite knowledge; skills and attitude that would enable them successfully organize and facilitate the orientation and induction for newly-elected Mayors, Chairpersons and Councillors.
ACC Boss Ben Kaifala: Fearless fighter against graft The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Regional Manager South has informed participants that ACC Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. is determined more than ever before to fight corruption fairly, squarely and fiercely and that the fight is a clarion call to all Sierra Leoneans to defeat corruption through collaborative effort. In a bid to ensuring that the Pay No Bribe (PNB) campaign is well integrated in public service delivery institutions.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Amara Jambai Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), Dr. Amara Jambai has stated that there comes a time as civil servants when they need to stop, look back and reflect on what has been achieved so far. He went on to say that as health professionals working in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, they are not competing or fighting with each other, but are competing and fighting against diseases. He called on all health workers to love and respect each other and work as a team for the benefit of the country at large.
Members of the radical NRM group displaying their report to the press “Selection is no longer applicable in modern day democracy; and therefore, the selection clause in the All People’s Congress party’s constitution should be removed. The people’s voice should be supreme and not an individual’s voice.” These were the words of a member of a reformist movement made up of All People’s Congress (APC) youth calling themselves the National Reformation Movement (NRM).
Exercise books with Government seal ready for distribution
A total of six million exercise books has been distributed nationwide under President Julius Maada Bio’s flagship Free Quality Education initiative.
The distribution exercise commence last week to primary schools across the country before coming down to Freetown, according to a spokesman for the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School Education.
The loading of the exercise books into vehicles for transportation to various schools across the country commenced over the weekend.
It could be recalled that about two weeks ago, the Government of Sierra Leone disbursed about Le25Bn. (twenty-five billion Leones) to schools across the country for tuition and other composite fees.
The Free Quality Education initiative is a flagship project of the SLPP New Direction government of President Julius Maada Bio and already, at least two million children are expected to benefit from this policy.
SLAJ President Kelvin Lewis
The Sierra Leone Reporters Union (SLRU) in partnership with Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) recently brought together state actors and media owners at the Harry Yansaneh Memorial Hall, SLAJ Headquarters in Freetown.
The drive for the engagement was to admonish media proprietors to be paying their reporters at least the minimum wage stipulated by law which is five hundred thousand Leones instead of paying them below such amount which has the tendency to discourage reporters from doing their work diligently.
The Project Manager for MRCG, Winston Scott Manga said Journalism in Sierra Leone can only attract serious attention when media houses start treating their reporters seriously by paying them decent wages. “We are working closely with SLRU to bridge the gap between reporters and their media houses and to encourage managers to take the labor laws seriously,” he said.
The Chairman of MRCG, University Lecturer Francis Sowa said the round table discussion was the first step in the advocacy as it brought together people from the Ministry of Labor, the IMC, the National Social and Security Trust and media owners to discuss relevant sections of the laws of Sierra Leone and to guide the SLRU as to how they will go about their minimum wage campaign.
The President of SLRU, Mr. Lamrana Bah noted that they already know the challenges before embarking on such campaign but said that they are going to engage management of the different media houses and see how they could encourage them to adopt the minimum wage for their reporters.
He admonished managers and editors to consider the plight of journalists and the strain they go through in gathering and reporting stories so that they would not compromise their reporting.
Representing the United Nations Development Program, Mr. Hassan Jalloh said that such initiative will go a long way in committing reporters to take their jobs seriously when they know that they will have a better pay at the end of the month. He committed the UNDP to supporting such campaign as it will change the media landscape of the country.
Mr. Abdulai Conteh from the Ministry of Labor said that in 2015, there was a press release from the Ministry calling for workers to report or relay any complaints about minimum wages but he was surprised to learn that even though journalists are seen as advocates, they too suffer the same but never took up the issue with them.
The Executive Secretary of the Independent Media Commission (IMC), Mr. Paul Sandy said that it has always been a criterion for media houses when they go for licenses to show how much they will be paying their reporters but most of them state what they will never do. He said the IMC will soon put out a public notice to address such a serious matter.
In the midst of climate change, security and health issues, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has moved for the establishment of a National Centre for the Coordination of Early Warning and Response Center in Sierra Leone as a proactive measure to address regional challenges in responding to such problems.
Visiting the country together with his delegation, The Director of Regional Early Warning Center of ECOWAS, Dr. Gueye Abdou Lat met with the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Alie Kabba, Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs Madam Baindu Dasama and held fruitful discussions partaining to the creation of the early warning center.
Addressing journalists Dr. Lat said they were in the country to inform the government about the ongoing developments in the ECOWAS Early Warning Mechanism, which emerged from the adoption of the system at country level by Heads of State and Government during their 45th Ordinary Session held in Accra on 14 July 2014; to highlight governments’ responsibility and role in the effective set up of structures, and the US Government and other ECOWAS partners ‘proposed support for the realization of the project”.
He informed journalists that Germany has also promised to fund the building project as a sign of commitment towards the project.
Dr. Lat observed that there is an increasingly significant gap between warning and response which has to be addressed.
“Indeed, most of the crises that have gripped our region had shown signs that we had clearly figured out, though no effective intervention immediately followed that would have hindered the open conflicts our Member States have had to deal with. Our peace and security architecture appear weak at some of those level, especially when it concerns low level conflict and such emerging threats beside armed conflict and major political crisis. We witnessed the sad periods of EBOLA and other pandemics declaring here and there around the region, the consistent food crisis in the Sahel especially, recurrent flooding, and not to mention the number one cause of death certainly, road accident. On this point, it seems necessary to work towards a systematic interrelation between the national, regional and continental levels for more cohesive interventions,” he says.
Dr. Lat noted that the aim of this initiative is to have a National Response Mechanism Coordination Centre in each of the 15 Member States (owned and completely under the authority of the State). A Centre that will have the mandate to alert Government of potential threats on populations, propose appropriate responses to the threats identified, in turn identify response structures (both at the level of the State, civil society, communities, development partners, etc.), facilitate, coordinate, and monitor the implementation of response related activities and to also recruit five field supervisors per country including a civil society representative.
Dilating on the responsibilities of the ECOWAS, Dr. Lat says the Regional Centre of Early Warning of ECOWAS would accompany the task force on the process of creating the centre and beyond, it shall provide technical, analytical and to some extent, operational support.
The full equipping of the centre with respect to office furniture, ICT infrastructure (computers, scanners, printers, photocopiers, etc.), vehicles, VSAT Communication System and more importantly, state of the art video-conferencing facility to enable the linkage of Sierra Leone with the Regional Centre and all other Member States Centres and the continuous training/upgrading of staff of the center.
Trucks loaded with Free Health Care drugs
In continuous support to health facilities in a transparent and accountability drive, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Alpha TejanWurie with support from DFID handed over 10 trucks of assorted free health care drugs to Port Loko Hospital on Thursday September 13, 2018 at the District Health Management Team (DHMT) compound in Port Loko District.
The 10 trucks include three trucks for the Port Loko Government Hospital, two trucks for the Lungi Government Hospital and five trucks for the DHMT for onwards distribution to the Health Centres and Peripheral Health Units (PHUs).
Handing over the drugs, Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie said the people of UK through DFID have been supporting the country many years with free health care drugs.
He informed his audience that their presence in Port Loko was to talk to the people as the very first district for the distribution of the free health care drugs, and to be convinced that the people of Port Loko this time round will guide, protect and ensure that these drugs will be used for the intended purpose for the intended purpose.
Dr. Wurie extended greetings from President Julius Maada Bio to the people of Port Loko, saying that elections are over and they should now concentrate on development strides in the country, noting that if the country is to develop, women and children must be healthier.
He reiterated that as a government they have focused on free and quality education in which a child will receive free books, pencils and pay fees, but that if the child is sick, it is the responsibility of the Health Ministry to ensure that the child is treated and healthy to continue schooling. He added that as a Ministry they are moving district by district for people to know that health is going alongside with education as health is wealth.
He reminded them the free health care initiative which started in 2010 was a good intention, and stated that what they are doing as a Ministry is to improve on the initiative to ensure that drugs bought by DFID do not disappear, and that if anyone falls sick, drugs for treatment will be available. He added that the lives of the children of the country are vital, important and treasured, and therefore the Health Ministry would not like to see children sick and there is no ambulance to take them to the health facility.
He added that in order to complement the free health care initiative, the MoHS by the end of October this year will commence the National Ambulance Service across the country to take pregnant women, lactating mothers, under-five children and disadvantaged people to the nearest health facility for treatment.
He stated that a School of Nursing will be constructed in Port Loko to train MCH aides, SECHN and Midwives, adding that discussions have already started and modalities being put in place for the school.
His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has received at State House and commended Peace Corps volunteers from the United States of America for their work in Sierra Leone, especially for their support to education and health.
He said the initiative was great and that Sierra Leone had benefitted a lot from the scheme, noting that the volunteers had, over the years, provided assistance to the health sector in rural Sierra Leone. He said his government was committed to working together and in consonance with the volunteers for the good of all Sierra Leoneans.
“You have contributed immensely to education in our country. I have said education is very important for the formation of any individual and also a foundation for development. I value education a lot and that is why my government has brought in the free education program that will support the less privileged in society,” he said.
American Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Maria E. Brewer, who was part of the visiting team, thanked President Bio for the time accorded them. She said the Peace Corps has been sending volunteers to the country since the early 1960s, to help with improvements in various sectors of the society.
Ambassador Brewer added that their activities were in tune with the New Direction agenda, especially in areas of education and health. She assured President Bio that the US government is ready to partner with the new administration on its programmes.
Peace Corps Volunteers work at the grassroots level to create change that lasts long after their service.