Marine Resources: Blessings at Stake
It has been an aged old legend that Sierra Leone is a land blessed with an array of natural wealth, diamonds, gold, bauxite, rutile, iron, and most certainly a good measure of marine wealth. Whilst it has been suggested that the natural wealth of the country is much of a curse than a blessing, apparently the only basis for such tacit opinion could be the aged old fact that the country has not been able to manage its natural resources, and as a consequence has lost out benefiting from the best parts of it all.
Management in this respect would entail lack of measures to have a centralized control of our natural wealth or the lack of the capacity to do so. Other forms of the ideal may also be established on the truth that the management system in the country is blighted by misappropriation; mass and uncontrolled corruption and greed.
Whilst such had been the case on the utilization of our resources, it is expedient to also establish that the idea of our resources being a curse rather than a blessing is a very pessimistic and bleak way of looking into the issue itself. It is more than clear that emerging signs in the current management of the country tell us that things could be much different if the correct strides are taken as in what has been done at the Fisheries and Marines Resources Ministry. It is obvious that venturing into the issue of the benefits of our natural resources, if managed in the requisite manner, could be abundant; but let us take a peek into what’s at stake for us at the Marine Resources Ministry if the current proactive moves by the Minister backedÂ by the President is continued.
The truth is, as is already established, the marine resources belonging to the country can serve as the nation’s number one revenue base, something that has never been thought of, or was never real to the people and state ever, until now that we know the Marine Ministry alone has the capacity to bring in around Le 70 billion every year. Unlike other mineral resources that could get lost completely after long years of exploit, Marine resources are always recurrent if managed in the proper way. If much is put into modalities to ensure that we get the best out of our marine resources, projections are that the government will be able to fund 50% of budget through the formidable exploit of marine resources alone.
The Marine and Fisheries Minister a few weeks back promised the people of Sierra Leone that not too far from now, all and sundry will have access to sufficient and good quality fish and at affordable rates. This is no doubt a vital complement to the long standing problem of an entrenched food crisis that has lived on with us in the country. Nutrition is a very big problem in the country as such that it hinges on the health and welfare of the country’s most vulnerable folks – children.
After health care service delivery; access to nutritious food, which also borders on the health of women and children, is a major benchmark in development strides of an underdeveloped nation. Hence there is a way we can dismiss the relevance of the proposal of the Fisheries Minister to making sure that fish nutrition becomes an active part of the diet of the people of this country.
Tourism is not left out in the issue whence Sierra Leone starts to make proper use of its marine wealth. Sierra Leonean foods are what most people visiting the country talk about, even in this barren state of the country’s marine resources.
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