State House Chief of Staff Meets APC/New York Chapter Executives
Speaking to a dozen Chapter officials Thursday, following his fact-finding trip to the state of Virginia to investigate about construction equipment and the feasibility of low-cost housing, State House Chief of Staff Dr. Richard Konteh said President Ernest Koroma plans to build 2/3bedroom affordable houses in Sierra Leone. (Photo: Dr. Richard Konteh, Chief of Staff, Office of the President discussing proposed low cost housing project for Sierra Leone at a recent meeting in New York)
He said after the projected low-cost housing plan come to fruition, the houses will be sold for an estimated cost of $7,000 – $10,000 per house to enable Sierra Leoneans who cannot afford the current inflated $100,000 and up home price tags in the country to become homeowners.
According to Dr Konteh, the housing project would be under the jurisdiction of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), which has already come into possession of land required for the low-cost housing scheme. The construction and implementation of the project is subject to NASSIT’s board approval.
During the hour-long briefing at the Holiday Inn Hotel at JFK Airport in Queens, New York, Dr. Konteh also divulged that his trip was triggered by an invitation from an unidentified Virginia based construction company and building equipment manufacturer.
He further stated that after a thorough examination, he is satisfied with the manufacturer’s products and technology, which he said could be beneficial to Sierra Leone’s infrastructure including the construction of high-rise buildings, hospitals, schools, military barracks and warehouses.
The discussion also focused on Sierra Leone’s development, energy sector, agriculture and country’s image to the international community. He clearly conceded that there is a pitfall in agriculture, which he intends to improve and to make sure Sierra Leone becomes self sufficient in food production and that no Sierra Leonean should go to bed hungry. He urged Sierra Leoneans at home and in the Diaspora to start bidding for agricultural contracts.
The Chief of Staff’s visit came at a time when the APC/North America branch is in disarray and plagued with factional infighting. Earlier in May, the contending factions organized two schedules for two conventions on different dates to elect a new Chair. The APC Party Secretariat in Freetown had to intervene postponing the conventions until further notice.
Still, Dr. Konteh called for party unity, civility and mutual respect for each other highlighting the common goals of the APC Party. “I know there are issues between various chapters and power struggles are developing. Many of our compatriots are frustrated, their high expectations have been unfulfilled. We all have a common vision and we are all part of the process of building Sierra Leone, so we must all work together, ” he emphasized.
Reacting to the briefing, APC New York Chapter President Samuel Koroma said the Chief of Staff came across as a very reliable and trustworthy individual – a man who does what he says and he exemplified that attitude when he met with his Chapter.
“So far as the president, I am impressed and the entire New York Chapter is also impressed with his actions. I believe in due time if he pursues whatever his aspirations are he would excel. And for the most part, I want to add that Mr. Conteh has presented himself as a credible individual and these are the type of politicians that the Diaspora is crying for from Sierra Leone, he has integrity, he is honest.”
Dr. Konteh became an honorary member of the APC New York Chapter and paid his dues in full at the end of the meeting, Koroma said.
Dr Konteh, a former minister of Trade and Industry from 2010 – 2013 was appointed Chief of Staff in the Office of the President during the last cabinet reshuffle on January 4, 2013.
By Dennis Kabatto
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