The Special Adviser to the President, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said, yesterday that the Sierra Leone National Carrier “will create job opportunities for the youths of Sierra Leone.”
He was speaking during the official launching of the carrier at the Miatta Conference Centre, where he represented President Ernest Koroma.
The Special Adviser said, this is a joint venture between the Sierra Leone National Shipping Company which is 100% owned by the Government of Sierra Leone and the Premuda Group which has over 100 years of experience “and is quoted on the main Milan Stock Exchange since 1917.”
Alhaji I.B. Kargbo went on to say that the country is in dire need of providing jobs for the people, “as shipping is a capital intensive and specialized area, and Sierra Leone has just begun development in this sector.”
The Chief Executive Officer of the Sierra Leone National Carrier, Stefano Rosina, in his statement, said that shipping is a crucial business for countries who are rich in natural resources like Sierra Leone, as shipping should be a significant contributor to revenue prestige and foreign exchange, in the country.
However till today, Sierra Leone has not yet benefited from shipping activities.
He went on to say that the Parliament of Sierra Leone has ratified the November 2012 SLNC Act; which grants the carrier the right to ship 40% of all Sierra Leone inbound and outbound cargoes, inshore and out-shore activities.
The carrier boss explained that they are here to work together with all shippers.
The Minister of Transport and Aviation, Vandi Minah in his statement, stated that the country is in the midst of a total transformation, and that the transport sector is part of this transformation.
In the transport sector, he emphasized, “We seek to attract reputable actors like the Premuda Group, as they seek to ensure that shipping seeks to reach the height it was and this joint venture will yield dividends”
The Minister added that his “Ministry is in full support of the joint venture and when necessary proffer criticism and it is their task to monitor the joint venture, to deliver what they have said.”
Minah commended the joint venture, adding that “if all goes well, significant values will be added to the country’s economy.”
In his statement the Chairman, National Commission for Privatization, Abu Bangura said that the national carrier is not new to Sierra Leone.
He explained that earlier, the present government attempted to introduce a national carrier by establishing the Sierra Leone National Shipping company in the 70s.
He went further to say that the vision is for Sierra Leone to benefit from shipping as it is a significant aspect of every economy and that “100% of what we do, eat and wear, is imported in the country”.
He said that the shipping business both in and out of Sierra Leone is above $3 billion a year and we are getting nothing out of it.
By Nancy Koroma