Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 July 2018:
There are mixed opinions about the performance of president Julius Maada Bio’s government, after one hundred days in office.
While supporters of the government say that president Bio has performed remarkably well in its first one hundred days amidst difficult circumstances, especially after inheriting a bankrupt economy from president Koroma’s APC, opposition supporters say that the government has done little to turn the economy around, promote political stability and cohesion.
But independent observers and analysts believe that it is far too early to assess the performance of the Bio government, which they say has spent the last three months taking stock of what the Koroma government had left behind, putting its development plans and budget together for parliamentary approval.
What is true though is that president Bio was elected in March 2018 as the economy was declining.
Inflation – prices of goods and services was worryingly high at over 20%; the value of the currency – the Leone, was falling rapidly and still in decline; poverty was rising fast; unemployment – joblessness, remained stubbornly high; access to electricity and clean drinking water was very low at 20% and 40% respectively.
Government revenue had fallen massively with the closure of the Shandong iron ore mines, and the decision of the IMF to freeze its $230 million loan signed with the Koroma government. Politically, Sierra Leone was fragmented and still is.
But last Friday, president Bio’s first budget which outlines his priorities for the next six months, was approved by the country’s parliament.
Judging by reactions, the budget seems to have generated a deep sense of hope that Sierra Leoneans will soon be enjoying much better living standards, once the economy starts growing again.
But what does the Bio government itself has to say about its first 100 days in office?
According to State House report, the government of Sierra Leone will meet members of the press on Tuesday 17 July to talk about its achievements since president Julius Maada Bio came to power.
The press conference will be addressed by vice president Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, who will discuss some of the key achievements of the government, as well as challenges in getting the economy started again.
Vice president Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh will use the occasion to launch the government’s maiden edition of the ‘New Direction Magazine’ that will be published quarterly.
The first edition will cover the government’s first 100 days. But it will also capture the views of guest writers, giving independent and alternative narratives on the government’s performance.
The press conference will be hosted under the aegis of the office of the Press Secretary, by Mr Mohamed Rahman Swaray – the Minister of Information and official government spokesman, who will talk about how the government succeeded in its first 100 days in office.
Press Secretary, Yusuf Keketoma Sandi, said that his team in the State House Media and Communications Unit is changing the way government relates with the public, through accurate information and bridging the gap between the people and the presidency.
“In the coming months, we will be doing a lot to tell our own stories by granting interviews, both at the levels of State House and MDAs in a very coordinated manner.
“We also will continue to publish the New Direction quarterly, a magazine that will provide simple analyses of issues and events around government and in the presidency,” he said.