As Government Increases Tariffs Bio Makes Life Unbearable For Citizens
Since the election of Brigadier General (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio as president, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge and some of the things that have come floating on it are political intimidation, unprovoked violence, human rights abuses, political cleansing and witch hunt and recently, another diamond turned into stone whilst in the custody of the Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, the attack on the Mayoress of Freetown City Council, as well as unbearable high cost of living. As for the dollar, the exchange rate is blowing through the roof under Bio’s watch.
Instead of the Bio government concentrating on tackling these very daunting socio-economic and political challenges, it is busy playing to the gallery chasing civil servants in their offices at Youyi Building as if that’s what the people elected him for.
President Bio’s counterpart in neighboring Liberia, George Manneh Weah has just given three days to the Liberian Revenue Authority to ensure that tariffs on basic commodities are reduced. So while Liberia is reducing tariffs, mindful of its negative impact during this month of fasting, Sierra Leone under President Maada Bio is increasing tariffs to put more hardship on its citizens.
It was reported yesterday that President Weah isn’t willing to leave any stone unturned to ensure that government policies and regulations are in sync with his pro-poor agenda.
Sierra Leone under our new president has increased tariffs on crude oil by 10% (30%) from 20%. The tariff on water and flour were also increased by 10% (from 20% to 30%) and 10% (from 10% to 20%) respectively. These increases are without doubt making life very difficult for the grassroots irrespective of which political party one belongs to. The rippling effects of these increases will not doubt come back to haunt this “Junta Democracy”. In fact, there are reports making the rounds now suggesting that the IMF has pressured the Bio administration (and the latter had already agreed) to remove subsidy on fuel and rice starting first week in June, 2018. What is this country turning into?
Fortunately for Liberia, according to a statement issued by the Press Secretary of the Liberian Presidency, “President Weah will leave no stone unturned in making sure that basic goods are made affordable and that the public is not strangulated by unreasonable high tariffs.” This is the kind of proactive approach any serious government should be taking at this time to address the untold hardship people are facing daily since Maada Bio assumed office.
By Abdulai Kychom
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