Man den nor gladi!
Indeed, people are not so happy with the current state of affairs in the country. The ordinary Sierra Leonean is finding it difficult to survive these days. A family of five (on the average) is painfully living on the margins of death.
Taking into account what an average breadwinner earns per month in terms of salary or income from petty trading, what hope is there for him or her that the family will eat one decent meal per day or get quality education for the kids? If one family member falls ill and there is no money, what happens? ‘Na die!’ as Emerson would sing.
The manner in which the cost of living is escalating in the face of spiraling increases in the price of basic commodities is cause for concern.
Beyond the spiral increase in food stuff, there is the huge challenge for many parents to educate their children. The cost of educating a child these days, starting from the primary school level to tertiary is almost beyond the reach of the ordinary man. This explains the huge school drop-out rate in the country which has subsequently driven many children on to the streets of urban and semi-urban areas of the country with the attendant social consequence.
The fact is many parents can no longer afford the high cost in education. The cost is so prohibitive, that it defies every imagination.
The situation is worsened by the lack of job opportunities with the consequent social and economic demand on the poor.
Apparently, there are many university graduates roaming the streets without jobs. In addition, so many people have been put out of work in recent years through no fault of their own, thus triggering tension and adding to the growing number of beggars in the community.
We are happy that government has now put in place a mechanism to reduce this tension by reducing various tariffs at the ports. This reduction, according to the government, is to bring down prices of essential commodities in the local market including rice, sugar, flour, etc.
We however reserve our doubts as a medium simply because many influential people in society including government officials are business agents and there is nothing that will stop them from beating down the system. It has happened before. It may happen again.
To succeed in this venture, it is for the government to strengthen its monitoring mechanism and ensure that there is fair play at all levels.
We welcome the new initiative and hope it will work. People are extremely frustrated with the ‘system’. The unemployed or marginalized youths in particular have nothing to lose if push comes to shove, so to speak.
At least, let the average Sierra Leonean celebrate the 5oth independence anniversary with a little smile. That is all we ask for.
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