Dr. Dennis Bright – NGC Party Chairman: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 September 2021:
Have you ever seen videos and pictures of Ministers and top officials visiting slum areas after a disaster? Did you notice the expressions of sorrow and sympathy on their faces? They almost want to cry! But in 30 minutes they are gone leaving behind good words and promises that go cold until the next disaster and the next visit. There is a bigger disaster happening every day in Sierra Leone, and no one is visiting.
It is the mounting hardship our people have been suffering and that NGC in a simple but eloquent way has been capturing since October 2019. We just go down to the market at intervals and record the rapidly increasing prices of foodstuff on which the very poor depend ` to survive.
Since 2018 when the New Direction government came in, the prices of items like rice, oil and garri have risen to very high levels whereas the people’s household income have remained the same, except for those who earn the minimum wage that had a raise of 20%.
But what can one do with a 20% minimum wage increase when rice per cup is up by 67%, garri by 100%, bonga by 500%, small tie plassas by 500%, cookery (with no beef or fish) 67% and peppeh by 1,329%. This is the real disaster, a “human slide,” that nobody is visiting.
We at the NGC have done all we can to draw the attention of Government to the terrible human slide, into hunger and deprivation, that has already started taking lives. Their best response has been to refer us to the Free education that has put the tuition money back into the parents’ pockets.
So, they apparently don’t see why people keep complaining. But this is the reason why: the school fee that Free Education is given to families is only Le 75,000 per child. And where the family has four school going children, that’s Le 300,000 savings in the year.
We have calculated that a modest bonga meal for a four-member family costs Le 45,000. Therefore, the money gained from Free Education, if placed on food, will last the family for only one week, and they return back to misery for the remaining 51 weeks. And micro-credit only brings temporary relief, if it lasts to the end of COVID 19.
In fact, the micro-credit money is coming in handy but in many cases only to repay the voluminous debts they have owed over time. The Government does not have good economists who can come up with sober options. We are lost, and even before the three zeros are knocked off, the wahala has started: and look at what Kelvin found:
“Bank Governor seems to have shaken a can of worms – all the prices are now flying – dollar has hit Le 1,120 new Leones or Le 1,120,000 (old Leone), and nobody is selling – cement now Le 110 (new Leone) or Le 110,000 (old Leone)” Twitter, 20 Aug 2021.
I say they have lost the plot. YOU CAN’T RUN A COUNTRY BY BLUFF AND “OPIN CALL”.