Focus on Sierra Leone’s economy – my personal point of view

Mohamed Gassama: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 December 2019:

Mr Kaisamba, many thanks for such a frank and patriotic piece on the conditions of the people and country called Sierra Leone. As one who aspired to the leadership of this country as member of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), I am utterly disappointed and saddened about the lack of direction of this administration. I decided not to make any pronouncements that could be perceived as critical or as out of line of our party.

But the worsening economic situation and the extent of wasteful spending and increasing salary and wage bill of this administration and hardship experienced by fellow citizens, will concern every right-thinking persons of good conscience.

Agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic has made conditions worst for the people but government economic policy before the pandemic didn’t inspire great hope on improving the standard of living or the unemployment situation in the country.

Increased spending of the executive and legislative arms on salaries and other benefits for unproductive work in a period of reduced revenue, only exacerbated budgetary challenges and crowd out resources for social and economic development in dire need to support poverty reduction and creating sustainable livelihoods for the poor.

I think if the government reduces the salary and wage bill and other wasteful expenditure and increase social investments, support job creation initiatives especially in agricultural development and agro processing and increasing overall productivity, renew all mining licenses after a thorough review to increase foreign exchange earnings with resultant impact on the value of the Leone, I am sure we could reduce inflation, reduction of price of commodities and improve standard of living.

Going around politicking on petty projects with very little impact on the lives of people, is no way of representing the people or win hearts and minds.

The dismal and disgraceful performance of the WAEC examination this year, and perhaps the worst in the history of this country, is a clear demonstration that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the so-called free and quality education flagship programme of this administration.

As a grand chief patron of the SLPP, I cannot be silent anymore about the lack of sense of purpose and direction of this administration. And it’s a pity that they don’t seem to be aware that something is fundamentally wrong.

9 Comments

  1. Dear Mr Editor, please let me first congratulate you on your professionalism and on launching the widely read and respected Sierra Leone Telegraph Online newspaper some years ago. I think Sierra Leone deserves it, given our journalistic history. While I didn’t expect my comments on Mr Kai-Samba’s article to be published as an independent piece, I do appreciate your professional decision and action. I want to also express my appreciation to your readers who read my article and their follow up opinions and comments.

  2. Mr A R Thomas, you removed up to 5 lines of my comment, which of course did not go against any of your rules; and in fact some comments (on the same article) went way above the mark. What was the whole idea?

  3. With all due respect to Mohamed Gassama, “everyone is entitled to their personal opinion but not their own facts”. I understand your frustration with losing the SLPP primary election to President Bio which really makes you a sore loser that is now blind to the truth and reality on the ground, and the same applies to Yakuba Kai-Samba who decided to follow Dr. Kandeh Yumkella and his running mate to form the NGC party. I hate to repeat myself, but the reality is that unlike former President Koroma who inherited a debt free economy from late President Kabba, President Bio inherited an economy under Austerity due to massive corruption and theft.

    By 2012, even though our economy was described as one of the fastest growing due to the rising price of iron ore on the world market, the former president and his cohorts decided to build mansions, buying fancy cars and saving looted monies in their respective bank accounts rather than investing in social programs or saving for rainy days that will positively impact the lives of our citizens. President Bio made the right decision within few months in office by implementing the single treasury account, strengthen the NRA by blocking leakages from tax breakers and the ACC commissioner waging war against corruption.

    Based on those facts, the IMF and the World Bank once again decided to return to give the New Direction government a second chance. Free quality education, hiring 5,000 teachers, 5000 health workers, buying 50 school buses, launching programs like the electrification of all district headquarters, providing funding for the unfinished road projects that were started by the APC to name but few, cost money that is now having positive impact and should not be described as wasteful spending although it’s an increase in salaries and wages but will have positive impact on the lives of our citizens.

  4. PATHETIC! That is the only way to describe the deteriorating political and socio-economic situation in Sierra Leone. All the country can hear now is the propagation of big-mouth politics, leaving the people shell-shocked and demoralized by the fear of incarceration if they don’t dance to the tune of a ‘new direction’ that had lost its course donkey’s years ago. There is nothing else meaningful to boast and bragg about: even the launching of a nanoscopic fire station in Kailahun had to be trumpeted with fanfare and jamboree, as if to celebrate the reincarnation of the Messiah. What a waste of time and money, and a blatant display of worthless vanity.

    The fundamental difference between the leaders of the past and present administrations is that the former is full of charisma and intellect and did not have the need to bribe the nation for recognition and presence; while the latter is seen as an imposter, and hence the intrinsic obligation to act like a sycophant. The script is one of a guy who accidentally became famous and then lost his valour; and out of the blue, he suddenly found himself associating with people way above his level – the tendency is for the poor soul to creep in order to gain acceptance.

    What is the logic of increasing the salaries of Members of Parliament by threefolds when the country is in an abysmal state and the population at large is languishing in abject poverty? Are the masses going to be bellyful by resounding the falsified name B-i-o-o-oo-ooo!? It is very encouraging and refreshing to see die-hard SLPP supporters calling a spade a spade, and expressing their fervent opinions. That is what is called pure patriotism. There are many in this category, but haven’t got the guts to come out for fear of victimisation and loss of their jobs.

  5. The point of the author is well taken at least, on my part. There is every reason to be disheartened or feel disappointed, by your own party in power, when the leadership, is living a lie and not doing what it had promised the people during the campaign, it would do, once the party achieved power. Not standing up for honesty and speaking up against misrule, unmindful of which party does it, is tantamount to betrayal of country. As a people, our consciences should sharply strike our heart that, we stand up and speak the truth.
    The cries of the people are out there, loud enough and clear and we hear them. But, only State house officials, don’t seem to be hearing their cries. This is not to blame officials alone, for the insensitivity or not giving proper advise to the president, regarding economic difficulties facing people. President Bio himself, should have known. He was from a humble beginning.

    Therefore, one would expect him, occupying the presidency, to deliver the goods to suffering masses. But, power deceives people especially when, there is every tendency to change one to be selfishly corrupt. Bio took government and declared a New Direction administration for the country. On April 6, 2018 he ordered a group of 12, called the Governance Transition Team, to carry out a surgical inventory in government ministries, departments and agencies and to report back to him. They told us that, they found nothing left in the government coffers, to start with. The people believed them. But a spate of ironies, inconsistencies and contradictions started to dent the stories. While the administration was complaining of no funds, the president and his ministers were flying berserk and touring the world, not bringing home the tangible or any deliverable.

    These trips, many of which the public believed, were per diem driven, compelled the public to ring the alarm bells against excessive traveling. But Mr. Bio and caboodle already made it, intelligently, conning the state. The second inconsistency has to do with, granting themselves a 75% monthly pay raise and effort to raise the subsistence allowance of the president. Now this was all actions done when the coffers were empty, banks were ripped off and scraped; the money was bailed out by the APC. Further, these state of emptiness of the country, as described by the GTT report, couldn’t stop the government from launching the Free Quality Primary and Secondary education program. How the New Direction was able to spend money traveling, collecting per diem, raising their own salaries and declaring a fee free education, led the public thinking they have elected the Harry Houdini or David Copperfields for governance.

  6. Yeah. Numberless counts to Mr Gassama and all patriotic SLPP party champions, who are honest with themselves to come out and say the truth about the damage the Bio SLPP kakistocracy is doing to our country. These blokes have greedily damaged the SLPP party and our economy. Corruption is at its highest peak. The extent of corruption under the Bio SLPP kakistocracy, will be exposed when their butts are kicked out of power in 2023. These Bio SLPP kakistocracy blokes have not only damaged the SLPP party, our economy and country, but have facilitated divisiveness in every area of society. The one thing that Sierra Leoneans will agree on these days, is polarisation. SAD. Anyway, we have loads of political ammunition come 2023 to help us toss them out and save our country. Have to.

    Sierra Leoneans are going to witness the Mother of all political Campaigns never seen in the history of our country. Hear their bogus and dodgy promises. Building Lungi Bridge, the MIT equivalent institute in KONO CITY, the Ultra modern Diagnostic Centre of Health in Freetown, the Cancer Center promised by the First Lady and now the chicken construction of the Funkia road won’t help. Constructing a road and paying cash to buy votes in advance? Sorry Sir. The decision for the votes have already been made. Good night.
    There will be only one option at the ballot box come 2023 – “Surrender and we go politically nuclear” to “get SALONE sorted. Have they started packing their suitcases? I hope they do. God guide, help and protect the Republic of Sierra Leone. Amen and Amen.

  7. Thanks for raising your concerns about the way this one direction government under the stewardship of Bio, is leading our country to the buffers .As you alluded, you are a member of the ruling party, the SLPP. And you can’t put up with it any longer. Silence for you is not an option. At least you are one of the few good men left in the party, and is ready to take a stand for our country. You are not in politics for the money. By all means you are not jumping from a sinking ship, but trying to sound the alarm to a sleepy Sierra Leoneans electorate that is yet to wake up from their own deep slumber, or smell the coffee. Only then will we realise we have been taken to choppy waters by Bio. But reading your article, brings back memories in Makeni, when the then APC party, decided to hold their party conference under the late president Momoh.

    Makeni was tense. The night before the APC party conference, the members of the PORO society came out in mass and sang insulting words against Momoh and his government. If you consider all this was happening under the noses of well armed SSD security men, and Members of the Sierra Leone armed forces that had been drafted in from Teko barracks, gives you enough food for thought. There was even talk that fighting will break out, during the party conference, because people has lost faith in Momoh’s government economic policies, because just like today, every one is suffering. There was a lot of pent-up anger direct at his government. Wusum stadium was packed to the rafters. As dignitaries took their place, the whole place wanted to hear what President Momoh has to say to address the worsening economic situation in the country.

    What a better way to do it, than to invite Kandeh Yillah the leader of the Labour Congress to address the angry people of Makeni first. He tore into Momoh and his failed government policies. People couldn’t believe it. Momoh sat there and took the criticism of his government with grace. Everyone was praising Kandeh Yillah, for his bravery in attacking Momoh’s government in his presence. Then again many suspected Momoh and his advisers came up with such a trick to lower the temperature in Makeni. Now I don’t doubt your credentials in airing your point of view, and being a member of the ruling party, I will caution you to ready yourself for Bio the leader of your party to release his attack dogs on you. Or even get ready for character assassination. Then we the public will make up our minds, if this was not an other “Momoh trick” that was cooked up in State House

  8. A million thanks to you Sir, for such a honest, candid and refreshing article. The facts as most patriotic Sierra Leoneans have already stated still remain unchanged, lucid and crystal-clear: This incompetent SLPP government has failed totally and miserably already, because they lack a coherent, logical and consistent vision for moving our beloved Sierra Leone forward, from the dark ages of poverty into the glaring light of Peace and progress.

    I have always maintained that for any government to succeed it must have its most urgent priorities in order – A poor struggling country like our own cannot afford to put carts overloaded with obligations, ahead of the productive horses that are going to be pulling them. That is not just reckless, it is also plainly, irresponsible and stupid. Again, prudent spending has been thoughtlessly brushed aside in favor of mindless extravagance.

    These people now in power have no idea whatsoever, what it means to “Cut their clothes according to their Cloths.” and how to ” Order their footsteps with Prudence” They have been doing all the wrong things that have led them to a frightening consistent pattern of failures, which also have already unequivocally guaranteed the eventual suffering and doom of our downtrodden masses.(VIVA SIERRA LEONE)

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