Agenda for Change: How Far?
If the Koroma agenda for change means that the country and state will achieve considerable financial and economic independence, then it is obvious that it means well and by the way things going, it is only fair to say the gentleman is on the right path owing the series of foundations he is presently putting in place to ensure that his dream to transform the countryâ€™s dependency to a relative self adequate one. (Photo: President Ernest Bai Koroma)
One area he has been able to do so is the institution of a modernized tax system that provides for little or no tax evasion; ensuring that the state benefits fully from the many tax potentials that laid aloofÂ and unattainable. Admittedly, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) or Value Added Tax (VAT) met with many hurdles when owing to the minimal publicity and sensitization in incurred in the beginning; but that is not a strange phenomenon as the same story abounds in all the many countries where the VAT has been introduced. The good news however is that the National Revenue Authority in the country achieved its primary target to register a maximum of 1,000 business houses for the GST has been achieved, even boasting of almost 1,500 businesses reaching the 200 million Leones threshold that have registered for far with the potential to do more. This, coupled with the fact that the sensitization dust is gradually settling with all things been equal will be a grand success for taxes have been known world-wide as the primary means for developing any country if used in the right way; a success that smacks of the Presidentâ€™s determination to ensure the country change of economic and financial dependency.
Secondly, Ernest Koroma last year in a bid to get things right in the agenda for change went the extra-mile to ensure that the country discovered it fisheries and marine potential. Now, fisheries and marine resources have turned out to be one of the biggest revenue branded areas for the countryâ€™s economy.
Every month, millions of dollars are now been collected for the exploit of our marine resources courtesy of the businesslike drive of Ernest Koroma as promised in his agenda for change. The difference is that whilst nothing was known to be benefiting the country in terms of tax and our precious marine wealth and taxes; we now record phenomenal benefits that coming from these once dead areas of our economy.
The other area that is seeing the light courtesy of state business-administration of the Koroma regime is the reforms that have been brought in Mines policies in the country. Time again, the country has been identified as one of the richest in terms of Mineral Wealth but the sad fact that accompanies this story is that the country has got nothing to show for it. The Koroma regime however is ensuring that such is never the case anymore. The days when mining companies came, exploit our mineral wealth and vanish are long gone. The Mines and Mineral policy of the current government obtains that mineral exploits have to go concurrently with the requisite infrastructural and social corporate responsibility that will show for what the country benefits from its mineral exploits.
This is not just another policy by Ernest Koroma that is meant to ink our books and gather dust on the shelves, the $160,000,000 (one hundred and sixty million United States Dollars) infrastructural project that has been commenced by the largest Iron Ore and Magnetite mining company in the country-African Minerals Ltd that will constitute the construction ofÂ over 180 kilometer of railway and road from Tonkolili District to Lungi where a Port will also be created to add to the one at Pepel is certainly a showcase as to how the president wants the country to benefit from its natural wealth vise-avis his agenda for change (running the country as a business).
So, added to the fact that the country will be opened to many businesses and investments, the President in his agenda for change is also determined to ensure that if any company operates in the country, there should be traits of its presence in marked infrastructural and economic developments as entailed in the Agenda for Change (financial independence, infrastructural and economic development).Â
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