Pastor Mohamed Sesay: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 September 2018:
The 2007 to 2017 reign of the All Peoples Congress Party (APC) can best be described as the mining revolution era in Sierra Leone. Minerals including iron ore, bauxite, gold and diamonds, were mined at record levels.
During this period, the likes of the late Moseray Fadika alias Gibril Bangura, and Frank Timis, were hailed as mining heroes.
Makeni, the closest city to the mining areas of Ferengbeya in the Tonkolili District and Lunsar in the Port Loko District, boomed with many of its people employed by the mining companies.
As a result of the economic boom in Makeni, many houses and public structures were built in short periods of time. The lifestyles of many people changed, and new businesses were established.
There was a slight boom in the national economy, but this quickly turned to burst.
But by and large the only thing that changed for those in the mining areas was the number of large craters left uncovered by the mining companies, who acted with impunity wherever they went.
These craters are an environmental disaster, and a nightmare for local people. They have become death traps for inhabitants.
Despite the large amounts of minerals exported out of the country, the average Sierra Leonean did not enjoy the resulting increase in GDP.
There was no change in the lives of the majority of people in the country, with the cost of living spiralling out of control for most Sierra Leoneans.
Moreover, despite the large tons of minerals exported by the Koroma led APC government, Sierra Leone was taken once again into very serious public debt, amounting to billions of dollars.
What was clear is that the export of minerals never translated into poverty alleviation across the country, as those in government lined their pockets and handbags with mineral wealth.
Critics of the Bio administration have been quick to forget the mining era of the APC, when shiploads of minerals left the country unchecked, with little benefit to the people of Sierra Leone.
President Bio has been in office for less than six months and within this period not a single shipload of minerals has left this country.
Not a single cent was paid to government either as corporate tax or royalty by mining companies, yet the national economy remains steady .
The nation is surviving more or less on revenue collected by the National Revenue Authority (NRA) from local taxpayers and businesses.
The Bio led government is working hard to pay salaries to civil servants, run vital public services and meet its other contractual obligations.
President Bio must be commended for his good stewardship in handling the economy of this country. Citizens are being assured that things will soon pick up and the economy will start to boom.