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Sierra Leone News: The promises of Pres. Bio

Highlights from the Presidential address by President Julius Maada Bio at the State Opening of the First Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone – on Thursday, 10 May 2018.
President Bio stood before Parliament, MPs, diplomats, media and guests and pronounced his promises for developing Sierra Leone and setting a “new direction” for the country.
“I am here this morning to translate my campaign promises as articulated in the New Direction Manifesto into policy actions. The underlying principles of the New Direction are Disciplined Leadership, Integrity, Efficiency, Professionalism and Delivery.”
The speech was divided into specific sections and each section below lists some of the promises from the speech.
•reduce reliance on minerals.
•diversify sources of economic growth focused on agriculture, marine and tourism
•attract and increasing investment in agriculture
•invest in mechanized commercial agriculture
•increase food crop production
•increase livestock production
•improve land management
•increase budgetary allocation to to a minimum of 10% in the next 2 years
•invest in agriculture (including animal husbandry) will be a pre-condition for holding political office
•rehabilitate feeder roads linking farming communities to markets.
Marine Resources
•reduce illegal fishing
•publicise all fisheries management information
•strengthen the capacity of the competent authority to certify fish and fishery products for export.
•construct a fish harbor with solar powered cold chain facilities
•construct or rehabilitate existing fish landing sites
•rehabilitate and develop historic and cultural sites
•establish Public-Private Partnership to manage historic sites
•designate tourist attraction areas and provide infrastructure including water, electricity and communications
•develop an improved web portal for tourism promotions
•participate in international tourist activities
Mineral Resources
•review the Mines and Minerals Act 2009 as well as Mining Lease Agreements
•enact the Extractive Industry Revenue Bill
•establish the Natural Resources Account
•strengthen the National Minerals Agency (NMA)
•allocate percentages of revenue from the mining sector to education, health and the general development of mining communities
•comply with the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) standards
Developing the Manufacturing Sector
•improve manufacturing infrastructure including cost energy sources, transport network and technology
•establish Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and Export Processing Zones (EPZ)
•promote manufacturing industries producing farm implements, schools materials and medical supplies
Fiscal Situation
•suspend all duty and tax waivers to organizations, agencies, companies and contractors excepting organisations that fall under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic missions
•implement all audit reports findings and recommendations
•develop and legislate a National Tax Policy
•strengthen Audit Service Sierra Leone and Non-State Actors in monitoring public spending
•develop a Vehicle Pool and movement tracking system
•re-establish the authority of the Public Service Commission (PSC) to recruit civil servants
•harmonize the wage structure in the public sector
Public Debt Management
•introduce the practice of annual debt ceilings for Government
•limit external financing
Strengthening the financial sector
•strengthen commercial banks
•develop Micro-Finance Institutions
•strengthen Non-Bank Financial Institutions
Improving Education and Skills training
•revert to the 6-3-3-4 system of education.
•increase contact hours between students and teachers
•eliminate the two shift system
•in September 2018, introduce Free Education from primary level to senior secondary school
•respect and support the autonomy of the National Union of Students (NUSS)
•review and make functional the Teaching Service Commission
•introduce THE BEST TEACHER Award Scheme
•provide free university education for three children of every school teacher with at least 10 years’ teaching experience
•establish Teacher Training campuses in all districts,
•introduce Students Loan Scheme that will provide loans to deserving students to access higher education
•expand school feeding programmes in all public assisted primary schools.
•re-introduce school bus systems in large urban towns
•provide basic literacy and numeracy training for adults
•establish one functional adult literacy centre in every district and later expanding to every chiefdom
•develop a national apprenticeship scheme which can provide internships
•establish in every district capital one Polytechnic Institution
•effective 2019, will cease to be the Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone
•set up a Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation to develop scientific research
•National Civic Education Programme to provide civic education
•raise the current public spending on health and sanitation to 15% as required by the Abuja Declaration
•review and implement the National Health Insurance Scheme
•strengthen Health Service Commission
•develop a comprehensive Human Development Plan to ensure absorption of trained health workers
•improve on the conditions of health workers
•develop special incentive scheme for trained medical doctors and health workers working in remote areas
•strengthen the cleaning, collection and depositing of garbage.
•equip laboratory facilities in all district hospitals with modern equipment and materials for testing and x-ray facilities
•arrange for a National Ambulance Service
•develop Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)
•promote youth engagement in agriculture through the provision of direct support in the form of finance, market information, technology and technical advice to youth
Music and performing arts
•establish a National Arts Gallery and Theatre for Performing Arts
•promote Sierra Leonean music and musicians nationally and internationally
•re-establish and develop cultural village.
•reactivate school and community sporting activities
•provide training and educational opportunities for women
•establish a Women’s Development Fund to support female entrepreneurs
•promote women in agriculture through direct support for farming and agro-processing
•provide improved facilities for fish processing and poultry
•promote female access to land and other strategic resources
•transform the Gender Directorate into National Commission for Gender Affairs
Disabled and elderly
•make public facilities disability friendly
•provide free health care for the physically challenged and the aged
•provide livelihood support to persons living with disability
•strengthen protection, rehabilitation and reintegration support for victims of sexual abuse design and launch a national programme on Adolescents and Sexual and Reproductive Health
•increase opportunities for pregnant girls and teenage mothers to have access to education design policies, harmonise and standardise laws to combat child marriage
•review and enforce laws relating to adoption, child trafficking, child labour and juvenile justice
Our workers
•review and implement the Local Content Act
•review the NASSIT Act and restructure the institution
Energy supply
•increase population access to cost effective electricity supply
•restore electricity supply to all district capitals
•invest in low cost renewable energy potential including solar, hydro, wind and biomass
•promote and implement a holistic integrated infrastructure
•conduct a technical audit of all roads completed or under construction
•address the current traffic congestion in Freetown not only by the construction of new roads but also traffic engineering mitigation measures
•complete all ongoing road projects including townships roads
•commence the planning and construction of the Bo-Mattru Road, Mano Junction-Bumpeh (Kono) Road, Bo-Matotoka Road, Moyamba-Yagoi-Mattru Road and Kenema-Zimmi Road
•devolve maintenance of township roads and feeder roads to local councils
•reform the management of the Road Maintenance Fund Administration (RMFA)
•improve ferry and sea coach services
•develop an Air transport plan
•institute policies and regulations to reduce the costs of shipping and clearing goods
•re-organise the Maritime Protection Agency
•conduct a feasibility study to convert the Nitti sea port into a commercial sea port encouraging and promoting private sector development of inland water transportation services for passenger and goods as an alternate mode to road transport.
•conduct appropriate feasibility studies for the re-institution of a National Railway Scheme.
Water supply and improved sanitation
•restore pipe borne water supply facilities in district capitals
•rehabilitate water distribution network in Freetown
•construct stand pipes in deprived communities
•construct boreholes and gravity water supply facilities in hard to reach peri-urban areas
•protect all major watershed areas against deforestation and other environmental problems
•unbundling water generation from distribution
•strengthen the maintenance capacity of Guma Valley Water Company and Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO)
Information, Communication Technology
•de-politicise NATCOM
•establish an Electronic Governance system to manage government business
•provide computers to all public libraries and promote training in use of computer in public libraries, schools and colleges
•protect legal documents in digital storage centres at remote locations
•develop IT back up services
•enhance broadband access and improve rural telecommunications
Lands, housing and environment
•implement the National Lands Policy 2015
•set up a Lands Court for land cases
•build affordable housing around the country
•enforce land use planning and building regulations
•plot all private and state lands
Environmental management
•review the EPA 2010 Act supervised by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and the Environment
•establish independent agencies for disaster management and meteorology
•develop a national programme for the regeneration of forests
•teach environmental matters in the schools, colleges and universities
National cohesion
•host a national conference on peace-building, diversity management and rebuilding of national cohesion
•create an Independent Commission for Peace and National
•fully implement the National Youth Service Scheme
Fighting corruption
•ensure accountability and transparency with National Public Sector Transparency and Accountability Initiative (NAPSTAI)
•strengthen monitoring of public funds
•establish a special Anti-Corruption Division in the High Court
Security governance for development
•ensure recruitment, promotions, transfers and deployment of personnel based on merit
•provide adequate housing for RSLAF and SLP
•mechanize and modernize RSLAF for non-traditional functions such as relief, disaster interventions, agriculture and construction
•create a National Immigration Service
•remove disaster management from the Office of National Security
Civil service
•provide strong leadership in reforms
•develop a new architecture of State governance and a national civil service organogram review the Civil Service Code and Regulations
Rule of law, promoting justice and human rights
•restore confidence in judiciary’s independence and impartiality
•make justice accessible and available for all
•train a cadre of ‘paralegals’ in rural communities
•strengthen and capacitate the Legal Aid Programme
Executive power and the Presidency
“I will lead by example, demonstrating the necessary discipline to refrain from acting unconstitutionally and scrupulously respecting the rule of law in the best interest of national development and stability. “
•review unlawful acts of the last Government by way of Judicial and Parliamentary review
•avoid the reckless use of Supreme Executive Authority and so-called Orders from Above
•examine the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Commission and White Paper
Fourth estate and civil society organizations
•repeal the seditious libel law
•support the School of Journalism and other institutions to train journalists
•encourage the private sector to invest in the media
•provide budgetary subvention to SLAJ
•enhance the capacity of the IMC to enforce the IMC Act
•review the legal and operational status of the SLBC
Thursday May, 24, 2018.

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