STATEMENT BY H.E. DR ERNEST BAI KOROMA AT THE LAUNCH OF THE NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE OF SIERRA LEONE BANK COMPLEX, KINGTOM 14 DECEMBER 2016

MR CHAIRMAN

HON VICE PRESIDENT

MINISTERS OF GOVERNMENT

DISTINGUISHED MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS

THE SPEAKER AND HON MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT

THE HON CHIEF JUSTICE

THE MAYOR OF FREETOWN

HEADS OF MINISTRIES, DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

MY DISTINGUISHED YOUTHS OF SIERRA LEONE

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

During the State Opening of Parliament in 2013, I made commitment to establish a National Youth Service as part of my Government’s several initiatives to address the challenges of youth employability and empowerment in Sierra Leone. Today, in marking this year’s commemoration of International Volunteers Day, I am delighted to be here to fulfill that commitment, by launching the National Youth Service of Sierra Leone. This Service will be a catalyst for youth development; it will provide our youths with opportunities to gain valuable work experience, promote self-discipline, expand their knowledge of Sierra Leone’s social and cultural diversities and help to bridge ethnic divide. All of these will no doubt enhance their sense of patriotism and promote national cohesion. The National Youth Service will also help our youths to nurture and cultivate positive work ethos which is a major challenge affecting their career development and the attainment of their professional goals.

Mr. Chairman, our country is a nation of young people and its development largely depends on how ready our youths are in terms of relevant skills, experience and positive work ethic. I absolutely believe in their potential and power to move this country forward but to do so; to achieve sustainable development, we need to provide the youths with the opportunities to fit in as we have been doing for over eight years now. They too have to be ready to seize on these opportunities to improve on their capabilities, and to make themselves suitable for the tasks that we must confront together. This is why I have always maintained and ensured that they do not only fully participate, but are also at the centre of our national development efforts. I am aware that the youths can do a lot by themselves, but their efforts at constructing lives would be better served by the scaffolds and safety nets of a national development vision, program of action and relevant institutions.

My government’s Agenda for Prosperity, the National Youth Programme 2014-2018 (A Blue Print for Youth Development) and the revised National Youth Policy of 2014 constitute our development vision and programme of action for youth development. The creation of a separate Ministry of Youth Affairs, establishment of a National Youth Commission, the appointment of a Presidential Youth Aide, the formation of a National Youth Council with its affiliate youth structures at district and chiefdom levels, and today, the establishment of a National Youth Service explain my government response in providing the institutional framework to actualize my commitment to the youth of Sierra Leone.

I have dedicated my administration to the service of the youth of this country. This is why in line with the slogan of the service “Our Service Our Future”, I urge you to dedicate your service as young people to the service of your future and to the future of our country. You must continue to be hard working and disciplined; you must continue to be committed to the development of our country, and you must continue to make a difference to your lives and the communities you live and serve.

I am encouraged that with the dedication and support of our youth, we are on the path of recovery from the challenges thrust upon us by the twin shocks of Ebola and the fall in the price of iron ore. I am encouraged by the role young people played in overcoming the national challenges of civil conflict and the Ebola epidemic; I am encouraged by the role of our youths as leading agents in upholding democracy, good governance and the rule of law. I am encouraged that our youths can and will roll the wheels of industry and productivity to move our beloved Sierra Leone to development and prosperity.

Mr Chairman and distinguished ladies and gentlemen, with this launch of the National Youth Service, the logical next step will be the mobilisation of resources to ensure that it becomes fully functional and live up to its objectives. The success of this initiative is our collective challenge; all Ministries Departments and Agencies, the development community and the private sector must rise up to the occasion and embrace this unique opportunity to promote the productivity of our young graduates. I therefore implore you to create the space to accommodate our young graduates under this National Youth Service scheme, to give them the requisite experience, to help them learn the appropriate work ethics and to enable them to contribute to the change and transformation we desire in our communities and institutions and in our country.

While my government remains committed to kick-start the operations of the service, I look forward to the strong support of our development partners and friends in moving this scheme forward.

Let me use this opportunity to thank the Minister of Youth Affairs and staff of his ministry, Board and staff of the National Youth Service, the Board and Management of the National Youth Commission and members of the NYS Steering Committee that included the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. I also applaud the Hon Speaker and Members of Parliament for the speedy enactment of the National Youth Service Act. For supporting this initiative, I wish to particularly commend our development partners including the UNDP, UNFPA, United Nations Volunteers, World Bank, Restless Development, Plan International and sector youth-serving organisations.

Mr Chairman, this is another milestone in my government’s youth development agenda and I am very pleased to launch the National Youth Service of Sierra Leone.

God bless the youths of Sierra Leone, God bless Sierra Leone.

I thank you for your attention.

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.