Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 July 2020:
President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone has sacked his mining minister – Foday Rado Yokie, after two years of failing to improve the performance of the ministry in helping to revive the country’s exports revenue.
Despite the government’s review of all mineral rights and mining agreements, in order to secure what the government referred to as “optimal benefits to the country from the exploitation of its mineral resources”, as well as organising national workshops on Minerals Sector Reform, led by no other than the President himself, mineral export revenue continues to fall. (This is Foday Rado Yokie speaking early this year at the Africa Oil Week event).
The government has also failed to either win back or find replacements for the several mining companies whose agreements have been terminated or suspended, costing the government tens of millions of dollars in revenue.
Yesterday, president Bio announced the appointment of a new mining and mineral resources minister. He is Timothy Kabbah (Photo below), who until his appointment, was head of the National Petroleum Directorate.
President Bio has also appointed Mrs. Ann Marie Harding (Photo below) – the wife of the ruling SLPP party Chairman Dr. Prince Alex Harding, as the new Deputy Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources. She was previously employed by the government as the Deputy Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit.
Both appointees are expected to be approved by parliament this week to commence the hard task of increasing the country’s mining exports revenue.
Sierra Leone is heavily dependent on mining production and export for over 60% of its Gross Domestic Product. But with the falling mining export revenue in the last two years – of almost 50%, Sierra Leone has once again turned to international donor aid for its survival.
Will the all new look ministry of mines deliver benefits for the people of Sierra Leone?