Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 December 2018
Among the flurry of big announcements coming out of the offices of the opposition National Grand Coalition (NGC) in Freetown this week, is the decision by the party to nominate Mr. Samuel Paul Itam as the party’s candidate for the 2018 Freetown Mayorship election.
As political parties gear up for the 2018 elections, it is clear that the Freetown Mayorship election will be hotly contested, with the ruling APC yet to make up its mind as to who will carry their torch.
Samuel Paul Orok Itam was born on February 17, 1952 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Economics at the Queen Mary College, University of London in 1974; and his Master of Science in Economics at the London School of Economics in 1975.
He then joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, where he worked from 1975 to 1991, serving in various capacities as: Economist – African and Asian Department; IMF Country Resident Representative – Bangladesh; Senior Economist; and Deputy Division Chief – South-East Asia & Pacific Department.
Samuel Itam is a member of the Royal Economics Society, United Kingdom, as well as a member of the American Economic Association.
Speaking at Public Lecture at the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) a few years ago, Samuel Itam was in no doubt as to what is wrong with the Sierra Leone economy, as he warned: “unemployment and underemployment remained substantial,” and called “for a study of the labour and employment situation in the country, particularly with regards to the youths, as a matter of urgency.”
Mr. Itam said that “investment and production have not been sufficiently focused in areas where we have the most factor of production, namely labour. And the technology applied in production has been generally inappropriate to absorb labour in sufficient quantity to alleviate the pressures of unemployment and underemployment.”
Speaking about the state of business activity in the capital Freetown, he said between 20 and 25 percent of the total population are petty traders, and that more needs to be done to support the creation of small and medium sized businesses to create jobs.
The former senior economist at the IMF said that Sierra Leone needs economic transformation. “Sierra Leone needs to introduce policies that “promotes the application of science and technology in production, leading to modernization of agriculture, development of competitive manufacturing and high-value services, and increasing employment.”
Samuel Itam is the President of the Freetown Rotary Club, whose aim this year is to promote a Polio-free Sierra Leone.
According to Samuel Itam, their objective is to encourage and foster the ideals of service as a basis of worthy enterprise, and in particular to encourage and foster the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service.
Speaking to Awoko News early this year, Itam said that high ethical standards in business and the professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, the advancement of international understanding, good will and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal service are central to their objectives.
According to Samuel Itam who is also the Board Chairman of the FBN Bank Sierra Leone, the greatest assets of the Rotary Club of Freetown is the “keen awareness of the membership that the club belongs to all and not individuals or cliques.”