President Bio makes a pitch for investments in Dubai ahead of a cabinet reshuffle

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 October 2021:

President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone is in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he is expected to drum up calls for foreign investments and trade for Sierra Leone at the EXPO 2020.

The president has joined his wife – Fatima Bio who arrived in Dubai last week for the opening of EXPO 2020, along with what has been described as “a bloated entourage of public officials as well as private individuals” costing hundreds of thousands of dollars which the cash-strapped government can ill-afford, amid growing concern the government may have to slash spending on much needed public services such as health next year.

In Dubai, president Bio will meet with the leaders of the UAE and other stakeholders in the private sector.

According to government report, he is also expected to preside over a Country Business Briefing, an event organised to showcase and market Sierra Leone’s investment opportunities.

President Bio will also be meeting with Sierra Leoneans living in the UAE, at a town hall event organised by the country’s embassy.

Arriving in Dubai two days ago, president Bio was received by Dr. Thani Ahmed AL Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade in the UAE and Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the UAE, Rashid Sesay (Photo above).

Sierra Leone’s economic growth has dropped by over 30% since the start of the pandemic, as the country’s exports and productivity take a hit, causing the government to resort to increased public sector borrowing and foreign aid.

The much talked about plan by the government to phase-out the country’s currency – the Leone and introduce a “New Leone” as a replacement, has been shelved due to lack of money to make the change which the IMF and World Bank themselves are believed to have frowned upon.

The Leone has seen a 40% decline since 2017, sparking a huge rise in prices of consumer goods, fuel, and transportation costs. Getting rid of the Leone will not solve Sierra Leone’s economic crisis – only export, higher productivity and increased private sector job creation can do that.

Critics of the government say that they are yet to see any tangible foreign investments arriving in Sierra Leone since president Bio took office over three years ago, despite he, his wife and ministers spending millions of dollars on overseas travel.

The Sierra Leone Telegraph has been reliably informed by sources close to the president, that the president is planning another cabinet reshuffle by the end of this year, ahead of his final attempt to improve the economy before elections in 2023.

But president Bio is running out of options in terms of experienced people in his SLPP party to appoint to ministerial level.

He may well have to bring in new faces from outside his narrow “Poapo faction” or even his SLPP party, if he is to boost his electoral chances, ahead of the 2023 elections.

6 Comments

  1. It’s wonderful to see President Bio and his lovely beautiful wife First “Iron” Lady Fatima Bio dancing to our traditional music from Madam Amy Kallon. This really exposed our culture from the international stage in Dubai and will definitely enhance our tourism potential. We are tired of crying to the international community for only disastrous circumstances like War , Ebola and Mudslide , now even during the time of Pandemic, President Bio has chosen the path of resilience after the global lockdown and ongoing global economic crisis. It has been a depression year and there is nothing wrong with having some fun. “ All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
    May the Almighty continue to bless bless President Bio for exposing the positive sides of our beloved country in Sports and entertainment during this trial time which was part of his manifesto promises.

  2. hello mr. sorie,
    i have been architect and teacher and i always liked political comedy and street theater. first time i came to sierra leone 96 there were a lot of good comedians. but what is now? only in the tv?
    i never heard about critical comedians in all the news papers.

  3. Reinhard Wiecha, Your joke is timely, I am still shaking with laughter as I write. I don’t know what your professional training is, but please try your hand at comedy, you will be a phenomenal success. And good luck.

    Fatima Bio knows better than to go to an Arab, Muslim country to promote the rights of women or to tell them how to run their lives. The Arabs, including those in North Africa, have an acute understanding of their identity and they would defend it to death. They are socially conservative people and the Holy Quoran and Islam make them even more conservative.

    You take homosexuality for example, it’s something which Islam prohibits. No Western leader dares to go to an Arab country to promote it, including high-ranking members of the Christian clergy. But they do so to so-called Sub-Saharan Africa because that’s where they find the people gullible, they don’t know who or what they are.

    Another basic example: Name me one Arab country where the leader has a Western name? So Fatima Bio should leave well alone and concentrate on the joint venture with her husband to hide some of their wealth in Dubai or they will be kicked out of there in a split second.

  4. president Bio will soon clock more air miles than all our past presidents, and miltiray leaders put together. Rightnow he is up there literally with president of Buhari of Nigeria. But at least we can say majority of Buhari’s travels abroad are for medical reasons . Bio’s excuses is to try and drum up support for our sluggish, and struggling economy. And his lack of prioritising our economy, and working towards improving people’s standards of living have got us where we are..As former American Secretary of state Colin Powell once said to President Bush on the eve of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, “Mr president if ypu break it, you owe it”,, Now one is tempted to apply the same logic here. Mr president, since you took the oath of office in 2018, you’ve managed what no other president before you have done to our country, to bring it down to her knees.

    With unchecked corruption, tribal divisions, general health care issues, youth unemployment , securityv concerns, crime , the rising number of murders, burglaries, and economics hardships, as the benchmark for which one can safely say your performance has exacerbated all of this ills in our society. We were promised all of the above will be tackle head on, but for some unfathomable reasons you are either unable or unwilling to take them on and address this issues. In other words your one directionless government have broken our country’s social fabric, therefore you owe it. Your foreign travel excursions are full of hype, but little to show for your efforts. Before we attract foreign investors, we need to fix the basic things. Like electricity, good road networks, North, South, East and West. Invest heavily on youth education.Because without it, even if there are willing foreign investors wanting to come and invest in our country, the pool of recruitment and training will be limited.

    Support our agricultural famers by constructing and rehabilitating our diabolical roads network. Which will improve commercial activities between the provinces and the city of Freetown which is the commercial hub of our country. All this could have been possible if you the president have hit the road running from day one of taking office. Instead you wasted two years fighting vendettas politics. This foreign travels should be seen by what they are. A desperate attempt to make for lost time. As the 2023 presidential clock count down is becoming louder and louder. And our international partners are losing faith in your government. By the time you complete your term, given the rate of borrowing your government is getting from international financial institutions like the World Bank, IMF and African Development Bank, all three institutions migth have rendered development assistant north of $5 billion dollars. Now you ask yourself apart from your SUVs, and new Villas taking up space around Freetown and your home provinces, which other projects can the Bio government point to, and say this is our accomplishments.?

  5. after this short travel activity to conakry now dubai. i think fatima bio went there to stand up for the rights of women in dubai and the other arabic countries.

  6. There’s something wrong with President Bio – whatever it is. How else can one explain the constant travelling of this man on hired jets, costing the nation millions of dollars and billions of Leones? The economy is in death throes, with people dying effectively of hunger since they lack adequate nutrition to fight off diseases. Only somebody with a lack of conscience can behave the way Bio behaves.

    A cabinet reshuffle won’t change anything now, it’s too late, Bio has no more fuel in his tank. He took off with lofty promises without doing any calculations regarding time and distance . He is looking at a crash landing from which he can walk away without a scratch to enjoy what he and his wife have stashed away in foreign lands, including Dubai.

    Osman Foday Yansaneh, Secretary General of APC, got it right when he said a few months ago that the SLPP government had taken corruption to an unprecedented level. What he actually meant was that they (APC) had become attentive students of Maada and his team, so that when they took over again at some point they would make the findings of the Commission of Inquiry look like a leisurely stroll in the park. Yansaneh made his declaration based on the knowledge that the voters in Sierra Leone have a short memory and we are not particularly bright . We won’t bring NGC in because we have become immune to the disease of suffering and hence an early grave.

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