Amin Kef Sesay: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 July 2020:
Sierra Leone’s members of Parliament last Thursday, began their marathon debate on the statement delivered to parliament by President Bio, at his State opening of the Third Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone, on Thursday, 28th May, 2020.
Proposing the motion for the debate, the Leader of Government Business – Mathew Sahr Nuyma MP, thanked the President for delivering his government’s performance scorecard to Parliament.
He pleaded with colleague MPs to contribute judiciously to the debate by focusing on areas such as health, agriculture, the environment, education and other related developmental programmes embedded in the “New Direction” manifesto.
Seconding the motion, Francis Amara Kai-Samba MP of the ruling SLPP said that the statement delivered by President Bio to parliament, captures some of the tremendous tasks that have been achieved by health workers combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the area of education, he said President Bio has accomplished a lot through the introduction and implementation of the free quality education programme, especially in budgetary allocation.
Rugiatu R. Kanu MP representing the main opposition APC, commended the President for the statement delivered to Parliament. But she criticised the government’s free quality education, stating that many aspects of the programme are not in place, which is putting more burden on parents instead of supporting them.
Saa F. Bhendu MP of the C4C party, acknowledged the significance of the President’s address. Speaking about the current high interest rates on loans charged by the banks, he commended Government for the introduction and implementation of the national safety net programme by transferring cash to vulnerable citizens in the country.
In his contribution to the debate, Ibrahim Tawa Conteh MP of the SLPP, said that the President’s address is a total manifestation of Government’s action to improve human capital development, citing an increase in the number of educational facilities in the country.
Speaking about road network, he said that the Government has done a lot of rehabilitation, maintenance and reconstruction of roads across the country. He also praised the Government for taking concrete steps aimed at improving the socio- economic development of the country.
Daniel Koroma MP of the main opposition APC, said that the role of the opposition is to help Government to achieve its aims and objectives. But he called on the Government to ensure peace and political stability for citizens.
He criticised the Government’s policies on the economy, especially the government’s performance reported in the Millennium Challenge Cooperation’s Report of 2020.
Komba M. Kamanda MP of the C4C party, commended the Government for the improvement of the health sector, and urged the people of Sierra Leone to love one another – devoid of political and tribal sentiments so as to promote the socio-economic development of the country.
Shiaka Musa Sama – an Independent MP from Pujehun District, applauded President Bio for his statement delivered to Parliament and commended him for putting together stronger laws to combat rape and related offences. He also called for reformation and upgrading of the prisons service.
Abdul Latiff Sesay MP of the APC, said at present there is a bloated public sector wage bill and called for salary harmonization. He also called on Government to capacitate the youth for better standard of living.
Kekura Vandy of the ruling SLPP, said that the energy sector under the leadership of President Bio has achieved a lot of reforms that are geared towards adequate and sustainable energy supplies in various parts of the country.
The debate was adjourned after several other MPs had spoken. The debate continued yesterday, Friday 3 July 2020.
The Parliament of Sierra Leone extended thanks and appreciation to the Management of SLBC for streaming the debate live on TV and their Facebook Page, because of the COVID-19 which meant that the public could not attend parliament to witness the debate.