Salone News

Belgium: IB presents APC’s current report card

By  | 19 July 2010 at 23:39 | 503 views

It was the annual social gathering of Sierra Leoneans in Mainland Europe. This is an annual social event that attracts Sierra Leoneans from all walks of life. It was held in the city of Ghent in Belgium.

Sierra Leoneans poured from Holland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy and England to meet old friends, make new ones and take back home memories. The day was Saturday, July 17th. It was on this day that Sierra Leone’s Minister of Information and Communication, who also doubles as the official spokesman of the ruling APC government, the erudite and eloquent, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo (top photo, with ambassador Kargbo on the right) used to deliver what many described as the government’s Report Card to Sierra Leoneans in Mainland.

Hon. Kargbo who was accompanied to the event by Ambassador Dr. Christian Kargbo and staff of the Sierra Leone Embassy in Brussels, delivered affectionate greetings from President Ernest Bai Koroma to Sierra Leoneans in this part of the world.

“I am on a special assignment by the President to meet Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora to commend you on your contributions toward the economic improvement of the country through your remittances, to acquaint you with the developmental strides taken by the government since our assumption of office in September 2007 and at the same time to listen to your observations, opinions, suggestions and the problems your are encountering”, Hon. Kargbo informed his audience amidst thunderous applause.

Korthor IB, as he is fondly called, informed his audience about the completion of the Bumbuna Hydro which is now providing electricity in the city of Freetown with Makeni and Lunsar towns soon joining the bandwagon.

“The JICA project sponsored by the Japanese government has also provided a 10 Megawatts Thermal Plant which is also beefing up the electricity supply in the city of Freetown. President Koroma’s Agenda for Change is prioritising electricity because without electricity there can be no development. The city of Freetown which was referred to as the darkest city in Africa before our coming to power is no longer carrying that title”.

Bumbuna Phase 2, according to Hon. I.B. will soon kick-off to improve the supply of electricity nationwide.

The government spokesman informed the gathering about the ongoing massive road construction in the entire country. “The Bo/Masiaka road is complete; the Rogbere/Pamalap road which was abandoned during the last regime will be completed next year, so too is the Tokeh/Lumley road as the works in these roads are now in advanced stages; the Kenema/Pendembu Road has also commenced likewise the Hillside road in Freetown; the expansion of Wilkinson road to a four-lane highway will start immediately after the rains; the Chinese have started work on the IMATT/ Grafton road; the Lumley Beach road will be upgraded as well as Spur road; the Matotoka/Koidu road will soon kick-off, but the people of Kono have suggested that the road reconstruction must start from Koidu to Matotoka and not the other way round which the government has agreed; work on the Lungi/Port Loko road will soon commence; 30 roads will be reconstructed in Freetown and the CSE company have started work, whilst SALCOST will work on the internal roads in Kenema, Bo, Makeni and Magburaka.

The contacts for these roads have already been awarded. All the money for the reconstruction of all these internal roads is coming from the internal revenue raised through taxes”, he stated to the admiration and commendation from the audience.

Hon. I.B. Kargbo said President Koroma in his determination to move the country away from the shameful bottom position of the UN Development Index which had become synonymous with Sierra Leone, has declared free health services for the vulnerable groups like pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five years old. “This programme was declared in April this year and it is right on course with improved Conditions of Service for health workers such as doctors and nurses”.

Hon. Kargbo disclosed that the present 6-3-3-4 educational system is not conducive as the country was not adequately prepared when the system was introduced which has contributed immensely to the poor standard of education in the country. Government, he added, has accepted the recommendations of the Professor Gbamanja Commission for a reverse of the system. He said the government will go back to the Lower six and Upper six system of education. The new system to be introduced will be referred to as the 6-4-4-4.

The Access program to enter university, the Minister stated will be discontinued as it has been misused. “The original intention of the Access programme was good to encourage people with vast experience in certain fields to enter the university and have a degree, but this intention has been completely misused, so we are going to discontinue it”.

President Ernest Koroma is running an open and accountable government by constantly engaging with the ordinary people to know their needs and to report to them about the activities of the government, the Minister told his audience.
The former national broadcaster, the SLBS is now public owned and now known the SLBC. The Freedom of Information Bill will soon become a law. The GSM and Banking sectors have improved remarkably.

At the end of Minister Kargbo’s presentation, the audience commended the government for the initiative to send a whole Minister to meet and explain to them what is going on in the country. “I must commend the government for this initiative. I have been in this mainland Europe for nearly 20 years now and this is the first time I’m witnessing a government minister sent to come and meet Sierra Leoneans and tell them what is happening in our country”, remarked former Leone Stars and East Lions dribbling maestro, Atto Mensah who came all the way from Amsterdam to attend the occasion.

They recommended for the President to pay an official visit to mainland Europe. “Though we do appreciate your coming sir, but please we would like you to go and tell the President that he has visited the United States, London, China, Kuwait etc. but not us here in mainland Europe. Please tell him that we want him to come and visit us here as soon as possible and not to wait until when elections are near”, they told Hon. I.B. Kargbo.