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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Parliament Ratifies Economic, Infrastructural Treaty

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Parliament Ratifies Economic, Infrastructural Treaty

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By Department of Public Relations, Parliament of Sierra Leone

The Parliament of Sierra Leone has debated and approved with unanimity a Treaty on the establishment of the Dakar-Abidjan Corridor among the Governments of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire, the Republic of the Gambia, the Republic of Guinea, the Republic of Guinea Bissau, the Republic of Liberia, the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Republic of Senegal for the economic development and advancement of Sierra Leone and the other countries in the West Africa subregion.

Treaty on the establishment of the Dakar-Abidjan Corridor among the Governments of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire, the Republic of the Gambia, the Republic of Guinea, the Republic of Guinea Bissau, the Republic of Liberia, the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Republic of Senegal was the Treaty ratified by Parliament.

Presenting the Treaty for ratification, the Minister of Works and Public Assets, Peter Bayaku Konteh recalled the origin of the Treaty and said that it would include the construction of a 6-Lane Highway aimed at connecting these countries in the subregion. He also said that it would reduce barriers to trade, and it would provide for railway infrastructural development and air transportation among countries constituting the corridor.

He said that the project would be implemented by the ECOWAS Commission and that Sierra Leone and Liberia were yet to ratify the Treaty. Speaking on the cost of delay in ratification, he said once the project is ratified and implemented, it would immensely benefit women, children, traders and agricultural activities in the subregion.

Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh spoke about the importance of the corridor relative to trading and other economic benefits. He also noted that Sierra Leone has done a lot with regards to infrastructural development. Speaking on sea and land in light of transportation, he said the implementation of the project would provide a huge relief to the country from being indebted to improve on its road infrastructure.

Hon. Hindolo M. Gevao underscored job opportunities from the project, particularly for women and youth, and added that such a connectivity is necessary for regional development. Speaking on the safety of trade along the corridor and revenue mobilization, he recalled how the international market at Koindu was generating additional revenue for Government.

Hon.  Abubakarr Fonanah from Kenema spoke on security and the necessity of the Treaty and called on colleague MPs to speedily approve it to improve on trade and transportation in the subregion.

Leader of C4C, Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina said the Treaty is not controversial and recalled how some similar documents have been approved by Parliament. Speaking on the significance of the ECO, the proposed single currency and its role in promoting trade in the subregion, he agreed with Hon. Gevao’s point that, it would help greatly in the area of revenue generation for Government.

Hon. Hassan Sesay also underscored the importance of regional trade and likened it to the  necessity of the West Africa Power Pool’s  connectivity through energy. Speaking on the need of land transportation, he said such a corridor would foster regional trade and it would also enhance and promote economic cooperation and integration.

The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Chernor R.M. Bah said that the project is highly considered by ECOWAS for the promotion of trade and regional integration. He noted that ECOWAS is yet to have the funds for implementation, but it would use the visibility document to source funding in light of ratification.

The Acting Leader of Government Business, Hon. Bashiru Silikie said the treaty is essential and that ECOWAS would use this ratification to raise the necessary funding for implementation. He also spoke on the benefit Sierra Leoneans living around the corridor would derive from the implementation of the project and called for the speedy ratification of the Treaty.

In another development, the Parliament of Sierra Leone has on Tuesday 13/07/2021 extensively debated and committed the Bill entitled: “The Breast Milk Substitutes Act, 2020”, to the Legislative Committee for further scrutiny and consultations.

The Bill is being piloted by the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Augustine Sandi.

The Bill is aimed at providing for safe and adequate nutrition for infants and young children by promoting breastfeeding and regulating the market of breast-milk substitutes and for other related matters.

Members of Parliament who contributed to the debate deemed it as non-controversial and considered it as a good initiative by Government necessary for sanitizing safe breastfeeding of infants and young children in Sierra Leone.

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