President Koroma on the path of sustainable development
As Sierra Leoneans prepare to celebrate their countryâ€™s 49th Independence anniversary next week, there has been great debate about the lackluster development in the country before the coming of the peopleâ€™s president, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. The snail pace of development in those days was a major concern to the teeming population. In many quarters, however, the prayers were for Sierra Leone to have a leader who is result â€“ oriented.
God Answers Sierra Leoneans
It seems as if the prayers of the people have been answered. Since he assumed the mantle of leadership in the country in September 2007, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma embarked on ambitious programmes aimed at building a better Sierra Leone for the benefit of all its citizens. His government is paying particular attention to the development of the vital socio-economic sectors including agriculture, energy, human resource development, education, health, private sector, infrastructure, good governance, to name but a few.
What the majority has been out to confirm since his inauguration was the depth of his commitment towards reversing our country’s downward economic trend, uplifting the deplorable state of its infrastructure, and his non-negotiable approach towards sustainable security.
But perhaps, with much-needed and fairly assessed REASONABLE TIME, latest developments would have come to reveal that we might be in for more than we bargained for. Those of us who have lived long enough to witness the catastrophic false starts of former presidents of Sierra Leone would generously â€“ no strings attached â€“ climb the highest alters and declare President Ernest Bai Koroma as blessings to the nation.
The SLPP Era
Few months after the devastating war, road infrastructure in the country received spanking investment from donors and the international community for a major rehabilitation road network, but little was done in road rehabilitation and construction in the country, considering the quantum of financial backing by donors and the international community to see the country rededicate itself to sustainable development.
President Koroma Making Vast Difference
Under President Koromaâ€™s leadership, the All Peopleâ€™s Congress (APC) party has transformed its economic policies to meet what the president particularly envisioned as â€œthe agenda for changeâ€. Now, with the ideals of agenda for change, the president is anxious of extending infrastructure development countrywide to exceed the ephemeral SLPPâ€™s development it embarked upon in its ten years in power. The extent of roadsâ€™ rehabilitation work carried out in some strategic areas in the country, notably the Sierra Leone-Guinea Highway, Bo-Kenema Highway and the Peninsular road are indications of the roadsâ€™ infrastructural build up to meet the presidentâ€™s agenda for change.
President Koromaâ€™s 31 Months in Office
Slightly above 2 Â½ years in power, President Koromaâ€™s government has shown glaring glimpses of coming to terms with its promises to develop all the fabrics of society, including electricity nation wide. The major achievement in development is the completion of the phase one of the Bumbuna Hydro Power that has salvaged Freetown and its environs in perpetual darkness. Though power supply to the communities continues intermittently, the illuminating rays of Bumbuna have added a great deal of impetus to the presidentâ€™s steely determination and changing face of the country in sustainable development. Bumbuna is also creating a leeway for the countryâ€™s proletariat to provide jobs for the average Sierra Leonean.
For the past few years, however, the president has commissioned a number of roadsâ€™ rehabilitation works in different parts of the country including the Freetown-Conakry Highway. The construction of the highway is a major step in the right direction to boost regional integration. Now, the recently commissioning of the 30 billion Leones road rehabilitation in different communities in the western area are signs of glint of hopes of the presidentâ€™s appetite for developing a viable road network, particularly Freetown to attract tourists and investors.
For the past years, the educational sector has been stunted by high cost of fees, text books, uniforms and extra-curricular charges. This state of affair has seen the dwindling standards of school going children or students. Timely, the governmentâ€™s respond to reverse the ugly trends of the educational sector, with the introduction of free education for primary pupils, is a blessing in disguise. The new system would spur parents and pupils up to brace the challenges of education and, perhaps help to raise the standard of education in the country. All these developments go to show how President Koroma two and half years in governance has determined his ability to turn Sierra Leone around politically and economically for sustainable development.Alhaji Jalloh, Information AttachÃ©, Sierra Leone Embassy, Saudi Arabia writes in New York, USA
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