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Sierra Leone: Vice President launches New Direction magazine

27 June 2019 at 01:01 | 1883 views

The Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr Mohamed Juldeh
Jalloh on Wednesday 26th June, 2019 launched the New Direction
Government One Year Magazine at State House.

The ceremony attracted a host of government officials including ministers and heads of ministries, departments and agencies.

VP Jalloh noted that the first edition highlighted the achievements of
the Bio government in its first 100 days in office. What is unique
about the second edition of the magazine, he said, is that it impressively catalogues the government’s achievements in a story
telling form. He remarked on the magazine’s rich contents and fine analysis.

The Vice President said that the magazine "shows where we came from as a government and where we want to go as a country."

Noting that this government came to power under very challenging
circumstances while outlining the achievements made by the government
captured in the magazine, he said a key one was the launching of the country’s mid- term development plan, which he said, maps out the
government’s development agenda, which he said is the commitment of
President Bio to transform the country’s development narrative within the human capital development context from a PRSP mentality to one that is people centered.

Within that context, government’s emphasis is on economic
diversification, he said.

He spoke on the new lease of life given by the New Direction
government to basic primary and secondary education including
provision of teaching and learning materials, building of new schools,
recruitment of new teachers and introduction of the school feeding
program.

Quality, he said, will be improved with partners including
UNESCO, as well as steps being taken to tackle exam malpractices.

On the economic front, Dr Jalloh noted that in 2018, GDP was on a
downward spiral which they have managed to break and stabilize and is
now growing at a moderate 5%, with inflation under control, domestic revenue having increased and the international financial community having regained confidence in the government witnessed to by IMF’s re-engagement with the country and the granting of an extended credit
facility.

Government, Dr. Jalloh said, has rationalized expenditure with every cent now
accounted for. Financial benchmarks are being met and the infrastructure to boost
revenue collection in place.

Stating that the country spends $400 million importing food yearly, he
said diversification of the agricultural sector in order to achieve
food security by 2030 through improving the sector’s social structure
to create jobs and to gradually reduce food imports through the private sector is a key priority.

He reported that the government has transformed 52 agricultural
business centers, done over 600 kilometers of feeder roads and
strengthened pest and disease control.

Meanwhile, the government, the Vice President noted, is putting together a national agricultural transformation and investment plan.

In the energy sector, the sector which, according to him, is both economic and
social had been problematic over the years, with the government
investing in distribution and transmission with a view to making the
sector viable and reduce the government subsidy which will be attained
through new investments and the West Africa Power Pool project.

The fight against corruption, he said, has employed both process and structural approaches that include rigorously recovering stolen money
and faster prosecution of cases by the Anti-Corruption Commission ( ACC).

VP Jalloh dilated on the ongoing public sector structural reforms
including the auditing of key sectors, improved financial management and
improved transparency and accountability in the financial sector.

President Bio, he said, introduced on coming into office an
institutional repair process by putting in place structures that are
fir for purpose such as the Directorate of Science, Technology and
Innovation, the Presidential Infrastructural Development unit that
identifies strategic priorities and seeks capital, of which 22
projects are in the pipeline, and the Investment Board.

He spoke about the government meeting international benchmarks, including those for the MCC Compact, EITI benchmarks and the Scaling Up Nutrition
benchmark.

Finally, Vice President Juldeh Jalloh spoke on President Bio’s re-branding project, which, he said, is capital for the country as he travels the world showcasing
Sierra Leone which is trying to move from aid to trade and is open for
business, tourism and public, private partnership.

Credit: Satellite Newspaper, Freetown, Sierra Leone

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