Abdul Malik Bangura: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 November 2018:
Speaking at the official launching of the expanded Freetown Terminal Port at the Queen Elizabeth Water Quay last Friday, 23rd November 2018, president Julius Maada Bio said that the newly expanded port is now capable of handling the nation’s economic growth.
Construction work in expanding the port was carried out by Bollore Transport and Logistics Company.
Delivering his keynote address, President Bio spoke in both French and English about the positive impact of the French in Sierra Leone.
He said that the French are currently contributing greatly in the economy of Sierra Leone, naming – Total, Air France and Bollore as leading French businesses in the country.
President Bio assured that Sierra Leone is open to business and credible investors. “Bollore is a good partner,” he said, and “as a government we are committed to ensure that credible businesses thrive in Sierra Leone.”
President Bio spoke about his flagship education programme. He stressed that Sierra Leone has invested greatly in education.
The President requested Bollore to create internship programme for Sierra Leonean university students to be trained in the new facilities built by Bollore.
In his earlier remarks prior to the President’s statement, the Country manager of Bollore Transport and Logistics in Sierra Leone – Fabjanko Konan, confirmed that the twenty-four months construction project has produced an expanded Freetown Container Terminal has been built on and used two hundred and seventy feet (270) meters of the quay area, thirteen (13) meters draft, 3.5 H new yard, power plant of 6 MWA, one million tons of sand, over forty thousand (40,000) tons of cement, over 10 000 tons of steel and 2.5 million paving blocks.
He said that Bollore is aware of the importance of the port to the country’s economic growth, and that Bollore is committed to working with the government of Sierra Leone for the development of the Freetown Sea Port and Sierra Leone at large.
“Our commitment to contribute to the country’s development has gone beyond simple business as we are partners with the Government in this venture. I have the pleasure to announce to you that the government is 20% stakeholder in Freetown Terminal Ltd,” Fabjanko confirmed.
Cyril Bollore – CEO of Bollore, said Bollore is a family inheritance that has been in existence for over one hundred and ninety-six (196) years now. He said he is proud to be at the launching to represent the seventh (7th) generation of Bollore.
He spoke about the activities of Bollore globally, whilst thanking the President for the trust bestowed in Bollore.
Cyril Bollore further thanked the staff of Bollore Transport and Logistics and the people of Sierra Leone for their collaborative work in ensuring that the project comes to reality. He said, “despite the money, if the people of Sierra Leone do not collaborate, we will never succeed.”
Minister of Transport and Aviation – Kabineh Kallon said that the transport sector is pivotal to the growth of the economy of any country. He said that through the improvement of the port, the government will stand to enhance economic growth. He said that the port expansion has now opened Sierra Leone to global trade.
Also speaking at the official launch of the expansion of the Freetown Terminal Project was the Chairman of the National Commission for Privatization (NCP) – Umaru Napoleon Koroma, who said that the re-alignment and rehabilitation of the Queen Elizabeth II Quay is one of the successful projects undertaken by NCP.
He spoke about the importance of social corporate responsibility and the need for communities around the expanded project to benefit. He said that the event is a manifestation of the Government of President Bio’s readiness to embrace genuine investment in Sierra Leone.
The General Manager of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA) Dr. Alusine Fofanah recalled the status of the port before its rehabilitation. He said that before the rehabilitation, the SLPA had huge manpower that was irrelevant. He said, however, business in the port has greatly improved; and that productivity has greatly increased now, than it was before privatisation.
My vision for Sierra Leone’s economic strength – nationally and internationally – through the careful and expert development of our Nation’s maritime infrastructure is available on request.
I am hoping that President Bio will be wary of offers by the World Bank and the IMF.
Historically in nations around the globe, they have helped Western corporations extract resources and load countries with debt.
Say No to privatization, and Yes to making the public good and public lands and institutions less vulnerable to outside interests.
Thank you Mr. President Your Excellency, may you live long and achieve all your goals and plans for this country Mama Sa lone.
God is with you and we are with you as well.