Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 October 2016
(Photo: Years of waste accumulation in a slum in the capital Freetown)
After nine years in power, the ruling APC’s economic mismanagement and bad policies have become the root cause of the country’s poor economic performance and the hardship suffered by the ninety-nine percent of Sierra Leoneans.
Our GDP per capital is low, but our government expenditure is very high. Take a look at the recent United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) conference in New York. It is hard to believe that the president and his government travelled to New York with a delegation of 49 members, excluding the president to attend the conference.
Of all these delegates, only the president had the right and mandate to enter the UNGA during the session, while others were left outside with banners of praises of our ‘achievements’.
This further exposed the lies of the APC to the outside world, especially when our country has ambassadors represented in several western countries, who are well informed and aware of the suffering, selfishness, biased and ill treatment the citizens of Sierra Leone are receiving at the hands of the APC government.
Our president authorized the spending of almost a million dollars on this trip, simply to address empty chairs at the UN while many Sierra Leonean families live on less than a dollar a day.
In addition to the misuse of public funds on worthless projects and activities, the entire process of preparing, executing and reporting on the budget of this nation are kept secret from the public. The proposed national transparency and open information website that will show citizens what the government is spending public money on and how much it is costing to run the country, is yet to see the light of day, after three years of its proposal.
The government’s so called austerity measures to stop an economic meltdown is not going to better the lives of anybody, but will rather add cash into the pockets of the corrupt few.
There is no way these measures can have positive impacts on the greater population, in a country where public servants don’t even make up 10% of the population. All that would be left for the 99% citizenry who fend for themselves in making ends meet are the following:
- Increase in taxes more than the earnings of people. This will only lead to poverty and starvation. And this will further lead to tax evasion especially when it is crystal clear the government has done nothing with the tax payers money it has collected over the years. Instead, all we could hear are mountains of debt we still have to pay at the IMF.
- Electricity rate is so high that sixty five percent of people will prefer to live in darkness than spending cash previously meant for feeding their families.
- Free health care system doesn’t seem to be working at all. The only available medicines for children at the under 5s are medicines one can easily get at kiosks around town for thousands of Leones.
As it is, the political structure of the ruling APC is falling on a dead end. The economic mismanagement of the APC government has triggered political tensions and instability in the country.
Inefficiencies in the management of the tax system managed by the National Revenue Authority have exposed the APC government to ridicule, not only to the citizens of this nation, but to foreign experts who have been visiting this country on fiscal matters.
The flashy and bogus life of APC ministers have totally damaged and battered our country’s economy. Now that their days are numbered, they want to cut down on expenditures so they can achieve things they failed to achieve in nine years. IMPOSSIBLE.
There is absolutely no fiscal transparency in Sierra Leone.
All our country needs at this time is an Agenda for Action. We should be on our guard at the coming general and presidential elections and say NO to poverty, economic slowdown, greedy politicians, tribal divisions, regional segregation, lack of freedom of the press and the poor provision of social amenities for all.
Fostering good governance in Sierra Leone means building a capable democratic state, with strong institutions that can promote public interest; and having a strong human resource base, with particular emphasis on the youth and women.
The only party with the above mentioned qualities is the Sierra Leone People’s Party. We can all attest to the fact that our country was up to 2007, a far better place than what we are seeing today.
Even though the SLPP spent most of its governing years trying to bring the war to an end, citizens were never troubled by the uncontrolled inflation we are experiencing today.