Abdulai Gbla: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 November 2019:
The Parliament of Sierra Leone Tuesday 26th November 2019, debated and unanimously ratified three financing agreements, including agribusiness, social safety net and finance cooperation, costing millions of dollars.
Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Patricia Laverley after her earlier absence from parliament to personally present the agreement to MPs, spoke about the importance of the agreements in terms of their job creation potential, improving the livelihood of those suffering extreme poverty, and the development of the country’s infrastructural.,
Parliament ratified a Protocol signed between the Republic of Sierra Leone and African Development Fund (ADF) for the Sierra Leone Agri-business and Rice Value Chain Support Project (SLARIS) Dated 20th August 2019; Financing Agreement (Second additional financing for Sierra Leone Social Safety Net Project) between the Republic of Sierra Leone and the International Development Association (IDA) dated 12th September 2019 and amendment to the amended and restated financing agreement (Sierra Leone; Social Safety Net Project-Grant NOS.H9250-SL and D0920-SL) dated 12th September, 2019 and; ratification of Sierra Leone’s membership of the Africa Finance Cooperation.
Francis Amara Kaisamba – SLPP MP, said that the agreements are not controversial, in view of the potential to improve rice production aimed at reducing government spending on the importation of rice to the country.
Abdul Karim Kamara MP of the APC, recalled several agreements that had been ratified by Parliament, and called on institutions to implement these agreements for the benefit of the country. Speaking about social safety net, he called on government not to politicize the distribution of cash to the beneficiaries.
Sahr Charles MP of the C4C party, said that the agreements would address the issue of hunger in the country, and also called on the authorities to implement the social safety net devoid of partisan considerations.
Osman A. Charles of the SLPP, said the agreements are in line with the government’s 2020 National Budget, which is aimed at creating job opportunities for thousands of youths in the country.
Moses A. Edwin of the SLPP, called for checks and balances during the implementation of these financing agreements.
The Acting Leader of the Opposition, Ibrahim Ben Kargbo of the APC, commended the Deputy Minister for her hard work, and assured of their support for these financing agreements.
Concluding the debate, the Acting Leader of Government Business, Sahr M. Nyuma MP, said that they do not have any dissenting view from previous speakers regarding these agreements; adding that all MPs have a role to play during the implementation period. He specifically noted that, the agreements would improve farming in the country.
“Our farmers are really poor, and we must endure to make them better”, he observed. He also assured MPs that the implementation of these financing agreements would not enjoy any inkling of partisan considerations.
Also in parliament this week, Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Abass Bundu, told MPs that “Parliament is not omnipotent, we can make mistakes”. This statement came after the MP representing Constituency 46 in Koinadugu District, Hon. Daniel Koroma and the Leader of the NGC party in Parliament, Hon. Kandeh Yumkella gave a notice of motion for the House to review Section (42) Subsections (5) and (6) in the recently controversially approved 2020 Finance Act, following public outcry.
Listen to this specially produced comprehensive report for the Sierra Leone Telegraph:
And in another development in parliament this week, the absence of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dr. Priscilla Schwartz, and the Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Patricia Laverley – who didn’t appear in the well of Parliament to table documents from their ministries, caused commotion in parliament between the Acting Leaders of APC and SLPP: