Concerned Citizen: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 August 2019:
With the increasing questions and concerns gathering around president Bio’s extraordinarily expensive numerous overseas trips in one year of his presidency, Paopa propagandists are circulating a deceptive statement arguing that the president needs to travel to open Sierra Leone to the world, change the country’s image and woo investors.
Sierra Leone does not need a ‘travelling president’ to woo investors as well as achieve those other things mentioned above. It needs a hard working president with the experience, discipline and appropriately acquired competencies to deal with the grave economic challenges our people are enduring at home.
A president that would’ve come into office already sufficiently equipped with proven accomplishments, was really what a country like Sierra Leone, in dire straight, had wished for.
President Bio doesn’t have to, neither does he need to do that amount of traveling to bring in investors to Sierra Leone and change the country’s image.
First of all, international investors are speculative business men and women who would carry out research on any country’s business and investment opportunities.
To engage them and sell the country’s business potential, Sierra Leone’s minister of trade and the country’s foreign missions, led by our ambassadors and High commissioners, can effectively engage their host chamber of commerce and trade abroad, companies and business community, about investment opportunities in Sierra Leone.
For instance, the current Sierra Leone ambassador to Germany, whose name I don’t know, was reported to have arranged for potential investors who visited Sierra Leone.
The justification of the excessive public funds including per diems, being paid to the president and his entourage each time he travels overseas to strengthen bilateral relations and boost trade, only make sense if we can see tangible and positive economic impact at home in Sierra Leone.
Are we getting value for money?
My argument is not against the president travelling, but the frequency, necessity, costs and the benefits to our economy and our poor people.
President Bio has travelled in just a year, more than both president Kabba and president Koroma combined together, during the same period of one year when they were in office.
It is estimated that it costs the tax payer at least $50,000 each time he travels including per diem, hotel and flight.
Surely, there has never been a time when the people of a nation in agony, become increasingly concerned about their president’s frequent overseas trips at a time when things are very hard for them at home financially.
The people are anxious, and expecting something good from the president’s overseas trips. The arguments put forward by the Paopa propagandists, which I have read somewhere else, is that these trips are necessary to attract investors.
For the first time, therefore and by necessity, for Sierra Leone’s economic salvation, the solutions are being linked to the number of overseas trips a president can undertake.
This being so, what we haven’t seen from the Paopa propagandists is a list, in chronological order, detailing what president Bio has brought back home from these visits so far.
While they are preparing that list, can they also give us progress report on Idris Elba’s promise to invest tens of millions of dollars in developing tourism in Bonthe?
Why the quiet, or was it just one big media hype leading to nothing?
Please publish the list.