President Bio sacks mines minister as export revenue drops by almost 50% in two years

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?

6 Comments

  1. Diamond, Iron ore, Gold, etc should be classified as part of the national security of our land and for our people. Hence the government should be in complete control of all our natural resources to be benifical for all Sierra Leoneans. We deserve a meaningful change for our people.

  2. I saw it coming. Rado Yokie succeeded in his objections of what he believed were bad contracts approved by the previous regime. I my view, if he was so true, he had the chance to renegotiate better terms which he arrogantly simply did not do. I saw the legal implications as well as economic burdens not in favour of our GDP and employment. Why did President Bio even allow Shandong to close when that company Was set to invest millions of USA Dollars in upgrading its mining capacity in the first place. I know that the President was advised by a committee he set to review the mining sector.

  3. Congratulations to Mr Timothy Kabbah and Mrs Ann Marie Harding to their new roles. I hope they use this opportunity to encourage investors to come back and invest in our country. As it is stands Sierra Leone is blessed with natural resources like diamond, iron ore, oil, etc. Despite all this natural resources, we are still at the mercy of the IMF and other international financial institutions asking them for help. Instead of taking out these loans, why can’t the government follow in the footsteps of countries like Gabon and Ghana, and issue sovereign bonds, for both domestic and international investors, and create the climate where the issuing of the bonds can be made possible.

    Once these sovereign bonds are issued and the government promises the investors to pay certain amount of interest over a number years and repay the full value of the investment on maturity, government will be able have enough money to play around with, to meet their development commitments. But before the government is able to do that, firstly there should be peace and stability in the country and the respect of the rule of law and an independent judiciary. Thereafter, the country has to get the approval of the three credit agencies in in the world. Moody’s, Standard and poor’s or Fitch. Any of this three credit agencies control the entire world markets both for lenders and borrowers. The good news with the bond markets, as a government, you will work hard to meet your financial obligations, to avoid default. Because if you default, you will not able to take out loans from the international markets or financial institutions , because your credit rating will go down. So the pressure is for the government to perform at all times. I think that’s what we need in Sierra leone for any long term developments. We don’t need the IMF.

  4. By the constitution of Sierra Leone, President Bio has the right to hire and fire. From day one, our president made it crystal clear that his main focus in transforming our economy, is not mining but economic diversification (Education, Agriculture, Fisheries, Tourism and credible tax collection). I personally believe that now that the mining companies have been sanitized and our economy has been revamped without the bad mining contracts signed by the past corrupt APC government, the job of Mr. Rado Yokie who was a former parliamentarian that witnessed the bad contracts, signed has accomplished his mission. Now Mr. Timothy who is an Oil and Gas professional with a strong educational background in petroleum engineering, leadership management and strategy, combined with verifiable success in exploring and drilling is now taking over the transformation of our mining industry, which will take our nation to total economic success. Based on the promise of the New Direction government, 2020 is the year of delivery, so as patriotic Sierra Leoneans, let us hope and pray they continue to succeed which will be a win for the entire nation.

  5. From the onset, patriotic Sierra Leoneans like myself were loud and clear in speaking out against the self-destructive mining policies brought about at the infancy stages of this SLPP regime. While extremist supporters of the PAOPA were busy drumming the beats of hardcore stance and unfriendliness towards mining companies, a few of us in this platform were advocating for a more diplomatic, business friendly approach. After more than 2 years deprivation of millions of potential revenues, scaring off potential mining investors, plus an existing international chamber of commerce case that will cost additional unnecessary million of dollars compensation to SL mining company, the Bio presidency has finally come to its senses by replacing the individuals at the center of these devastating failed policies.

    In numerous occasions, myself and others in this platform have advised against arrogance and extremism, which have been adopted by the PAOPA regime. However, the powers that be continues to tread through the path of self destruction. Almost on all fronts, there has been a catastrophic failure in terms of policies and development aspect within the past 2 years. With Rado Yokie and Priscilla Schwartz both of whom were instrumental in terrorizing mining companies gone, we are hoping for common sense to take hold. For those of you extremist PAOPA supporters, please be reminded that there are deposit of minerals all across our subregion, mining companies are in the business of making profits. Your backward, dictatorial tendencies of imposing your ill-informed policies will only succeed in pushing investment to the neighboring countries.

  6. Well I knew it will finally come to this – A Stargazer sees the end in the beginning of all things.And who will be surprised except clueless SLPP talking parrots on this glorious forum that are bound to become traumatized upon realizing that their inept SLPP has finally succumbed to the unforgiving grips of abject disastrous failure (lol). Strange is it not?These dummies took off running like swift-footed foxes,like aggressive little resentful chihuahuas they raced leaving the baton of progress far behind,trying ridiculously to cross the finish line empty-handed,yet still hoping to win laurels, medals and accolades for their bizarre brainless behavior.(lol) Hey! Its not just the minister that is incompetent, all of them really are.True.

    Answer – What exactly did this President do to change things for the better when minister Rado was illegally chasing investors away,threatening and viciously bullying them as if they were punks in a schoolyard,against the logical legitimate judgement of the credible ICC? Absolutely nothing! And sincerely,had they listened to my advice on this forum to tread softly and let integrity,honesty and good sense be their dependable guides we never would have found ourselves transfixed,mesmerized and stuck in this unfixable messy situation we find ourselves in today.Good luck to the Minister – hope you learn the ways of toil sweat and thriftiness now;and please make good use of all our diamonds my countless reliable sources have declared have long been stolen and stashed discreetly away under your spiritless lackadaisical watch…ADIOS!

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