President Koroma Receives IFC Delegation

President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma received today, Tuesday 3rd October 2017, a high level delegation from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) led by its vice president and treasurer Mr Jingdong Hua.

The delegation, which was accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development Foday B. L. Mansaray, is in the country to have first-hand information on how to support private sector development.

Welcoming the delegation at State House, President Koroma thanked the delegation for coming in to find ways to promote the private sector as government intensifies efforts to make it more viable. He described the new policies adopted by IFC as appropriate, and went on to highlight the impact the twin shocks of the deadly Ebola epidemic and the slump in the world market prices of commodities and iron ore had on Sierra Leone.

The president acquainted the delegation about the commencement of the second phase of Bumbuna hydro-electric project, as well as the ongoing expansion of the Queen Elizabeth II Quay, which will soon be transformed into a transhipment hub. The president also commended the delegation for the new approach to the current challenges facing government and private sector players, and assured them of government’s continued cooperation.

On his part, Mr Hua affectionately wished President Koroma happy belated birthday while outlining the implementation of IFC programmes, including the management of IFC funds.

The IFC vice president and treasurer disclosed plans by the corporation to support the private sector, and pointed out that Sierra Leone is one of the countries they will be focusing on to provide the enabling environment for private sector development. He also informed that they had held fruitful meetings with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the Governor of Bank of Sierra Leone, and reiterated IFC’s commitment to stimulate the private sector.

He further suggested that government budget should target priority areas and pledged to continue to work with government along that path.

Public Service Commission presents 2016 annual report to President Koroma

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, Wednesday October 4th, 2017//– The Public Service Commission (PSC) this afternoon submitted its 2016 annual report to President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma at State House in Freetown.

On the occasion, the president pledged to address the concerns of the PSC, assuring them of government’s continued support. He commended the PSC for the presentation on the ongoing transformational strides taking place within the general civil service structure, and urged them to continue the measures being put in place. “We must try to professionalize the civil service as much as we could,” he said, adding that the ongoing transformation of the service is being done against the background that Sierra Leone needs a very efficient civil service because government can only perform to the extent of the capabilities of the civil service. “That is why our focus on energizing the public service is not displaced and we believe the measures you have put in place are on track,” he pointed out.

President Koroma also stated that although a lot of professionals are still attracted to the private sector due to improved conditions of service, he encouraged the PSC to recruit the very best wherever they are. “We are not yet there but we will continue to make the public service more attractive to entice more people from the private sector like it’s happening in countries like Singapore.

He also lauded the efforts of the commission for the tremendous work they have done to make the civil service more active than before. President Koroma indicated that the current moratorium on recruitment in the public service should be looked into because it is also not helping the civil service in terms of capacity building.

Chairman of the PSC Dr Amadu Max Sesay apprised the president about the challenges facing the commission, including budgetary constraints. He highlighted the issue of their modern, purpose-built PSC House to accommodate a new PSC, a PSC with an oversight and regulatory mandate over the public service, saying that although the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has commenced the disbursement of funds for the project, the allocations are too small to commission even the demolition of the current building. He also mentioned the current moratorium on recruitment in the public service which, he said, “is compounding the situation of unemployment for our graduates”.

Dr Sesay went on to note that history will smile kindly on President Koroma for what the PSC chairman described as waking up the huge constitutional beast (PSC) that went into inglorious slumber for over two decades. “In some of my early writings on the PSC, your Excellency, I have employed the use of the famous fable, Humpty Dumpty, as a metaphor to capture the experience of the institution. Before you, Humpty Dumpty has a great fall. But since 2008, Sir, the President’s men have been busy at work, putting Humpty Dumpty back together again,” said the PSC chairman.

Giving an overview of their 2016 annual report, Dr Max Sesay brought out a number of issues including scaling up internal reforms, supporting human resource management in the civil service, enforcing discipline and accountability in the public service as well as fostering sector and policy collaboration in the public service. These achievements, he said, would not have been possible without a decade of astute, stable, credible, respectable, admirable and iconic leadership of President Koroma.

Five new ambassadors present credentials

Five new ambassadors from The Gambia, European Union (EU), Nigeria, United States of America and Liberia presented their letters of credence to His Excellency President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma at State House today, Thursday 5thOctober 2017, to mark the beginning of their diplomatic mission in Sierra Leone.

The President indicated Sierra Leone’s determination to continue to strengthen the economic, social and cultural cooperation with their respective countries. He also assured that Sierra Leone will do everything possible to maintain and deepen the values of participatory democracy, the rule of law and to promote peace, prosperity and security of other countries.

President Koroma also expressed profound appreciation for the timely response of these countries as well as the European Union to the August 14 landslides and flooding. Their messages of condolences and the financial and medical support provided during such trying times, the president said, reinforced their commitment, as longstanding partners in the building of a better Sierra Leone.

President Koroma also expressed profound appreciation for the timely response of these countries as well as the European Union to the August 14 landslides and flooding. Their messages of condolences and the financial and medical support provided during such trying times, the president said, reinforced their commitment, as longstanding partners in the building of a better Sierra brewerVirtually expressing similar sentiments in succession, the ambassadors assured of their commitment to increase and further strengthen the constructive relations which exist between Sierra Leone and their home countries.

In his presentation, the EU head of delegation Ambassador Tom VENS assured of EU’s commitment as a long-standing partner to overcome the challenges Sierra Leone is facing. “In a common effort with other partners, as EU we also stand ready to join you in reflections on how Sierra Leone can further develop robust disaster prevention strategies and mitigate risks,” he said.

On her part, the new US Ambassador Maria Elena Brewer expressed similar sentiments, saying that the US will work closely with other international partners to steadfastly support the country as relief attempts transition to what she referred to as “more permanent efforts to assist those displaced from this horrendous event”. She further assured of the United States’ willingness and determination to continue to support efforts at promoting democracy while increasing economic growth and investment, and through their assistance programs, continue to strengthen local governance, public health, agricultural development, responsible mining, food security and education.

High Commissioner of Nigeria Dr Habiss Ibrahim Ugbada commended the giant strides being taken by Sierra Leone under the dynamic leadership of President Koroma, adding that Sierra Leone has witnessed rapid socio-economic and political transformation which has translated into commendable massive infrastructural development. He promised to take Nigeria/Sierra Leone relations to higher heights for the benefit of the peoples of both countries.High Commissioner of The Gambia Ambassador Ingram Reginald Olufemi Peters said that the recent political crisis which hit his country and the role of ECOWAS (of which the two countries are members) as well as the personal role played by President Koroma in resolving the impasse is a living example of symbiotic relationship that has continued to flourish between the two sister countries.

Liberian Ambassador Mrs Musu Jatu Ruhle pledged to work tirelessly, in concert with officials of the Government of Sierra Leone, to further solidify the already excellent relations subsisting between the two countries and peoples. “The natural ties that bind our two peoples transcend the physical boundaries,” she stated. A quarter guard was mounted by a detachment of the 5th Battalion under the 3rdInfantry Brigade of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).

As more ambassadors present credentials…President Koroma reaffirms Govt.’s unshakeable commitment to 2018 elections

President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has reaffirmed government’s unshakeable commitment in ensuring that the March 2018 elections are more transparent and more credible than previous elections. He made this statement whilst receiving the letters of credence of six new ambassadors/high commissioners on Friday 6th October at State House in Freetown.

Those ambassadors who presented their accreditations as heads of mission are Berinder Singh Yadav (India); Andras Szabo (Hungary); Pham Anh Tuan (Vietnam); Dr Mathias Harebamungu (Rwanda); Saleh Ali Al Saqabi (Kuwait); and Mahamadou Zongo (Burkina Faso).

In his general response to the six diplomats, President Koroma said the ambassadors presented their letters of credence at a very critical moment in Sierra Leone’s history – during a very important political transition, at a time when he would be stepping down and graciously hand power over to a new president.

“We are on the verge of conducting another round of elections. Elections that would consolidate the gains and standards we have maintained in the development of our democracy. And let it be known that our commitment remains unshakeable in ensuring that the March 2018 elections are more transparent and more credible. My Government recognises that the peaceful outcome of these elections will take this country another step forward in solidifying our development agenda; it will nudge us further towards our aspiration of becoming middle-income country by 2035 and we are determined to stay on that path of progress,” he told the newly accredited diplomats.

The president pointed out that Sierra Leone has made tremendous progress due to the bilateral support and the partnership of “great friends like you,” but quickly added that “we still have a long way to go”. “This is a journey your governments have travelled with us, and today, you are here to join us cover the last miles ahead. I have no doubts that eventually, we will get to our destination,” he stated.

President Koroma also assured of Sierra Leone’s commitment to continue to fight the good fight, to restore the dignity of ordinary people, to improve the livelihood of thousands below the poverty line, to protect the rights of those fleeing conflicts, protect others from the threats of terrorism, religious bigotry and climate change. He called on other nations to work together as a global community to find lasting solutions to the problems facing the world, saying that those challenges clearly require collective energy, resources, expertise and more significantly, sincerity of purpose.