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Marine Minister makes case for Salone youths in New York

Marine Minister makes case for Salone youths in New York

Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Haja Afsatu Kabba, backed by MPs from the opposition Sierra Leone People Party has made a case to the Member of Parliament Permanent Representative Peace Building Commission (PBC) support to help Sierra Leone Youth emancipate from the mass unemployment blighting their existence in the country.

Minister Kabba appealed to the envoy, also to the Chair for the Sierra Leone Country Specific Configuration on the Peace-building Commission of the Security Council, to help Sierra Leone address the problems facing her ministry, in relation to job creation, which she said was vital to the maintenance of peace.

Youths in Sierra Leone, constitute a considerable proportion of the national population and they are the constituent that is largely unemployed; a scenario that poses a threat to the peace-building effort. She was therefore of the opinion that her ministry can engage youths meaningfully in the fishing industry, once they get the support from the Peace Building Fund of the PBC.

The Minister lamented that poaching on Sierra Leone’s high seas costs the economy to lose $40 million in revenue. In addition to this, she was anxious to meet certain required criteria that will help put Sierra Leone on the European Union’s list of “certified” countries so as to be able to export marine products to Europe and generate Foreign Exchange earnings for the economy.

“Fisheries,” she said, “like minerals, is the live bread basket for Sierra Leone’s economy but unlike minerals, which does not bring in quick returns, investment in fisheries yields automatic revenue-collection,” she said.

She thanked the Canadian Chair for the Sierra Leone Country Specific Configuration on behalf of the President and people of Sierra Leone for the good work they have done and are doing to help the government and people.

She said addressing poaching, for which an all-embracing ‘Joint Maritime Committee’ has been set up and approved by Parliament to involve Navy, Maritime Administration, Immigration, Office of National Security, office of the President and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, are all collaborating on to enhance security, address Drug and Human Trafficking and, money laundering.

The two parties discussed lengthily, issues of mutual interest and agreed that Sierra Leone was lucky to have Mr. Michael Von der Schullenberg as the Executive Representative of the Secretary General as he is committed, hardworking and practical.

Honourable Elizabeth Lavalie expressed support for the Minister and the President’s vision saying “I am not supposed to agree with her because I am from the opposition but, I am doing so because we aspire for a better Sierra Leone.”

She agreed with the Minister that there was need for an EU/Sierra Leone Partnership Agreement and that a microbiology laboratory will enhance the capacity of the fishing industry and increase Sierra Leone’s chances for competition. “If our people are meaningfully engaged she argued, there will be less burden on us as Parliamentarians to be meeting the requests for everything under the sun from funerals to marriages as the people will meet their own needs.”

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