Reckless & Wasteful Spending – BIO Worse Than EBK
In spite of his bogus talks in the run up to the March, 2018 elections, during which he lambasted the Koroma regime for its reckless spending on oversea trips, wage bills and other public expenses; a situation he promised to curb when elected, President Bio is now seen acting contrary to his promise after being elected into office as he has now surpasses his predecessor, former president Ernest Bai Koroma in terms of the recklessly spending of tax payers monies on oversea trips and other expenses.
When he was declared winner of the presidential runoff election in April this year, president Bio and his SLPP government were all over the place lambasting the Koroma led government of not leaving any money in our national coffers and that the country was highly indebted to the point of collapse. He therefore immediately issued executive orders including the suspension all duty waivers, the establishment of a Single Treasury Account and a host of other measures to ensure that government get the needed resources to run the affairs of the state; a move that he said was to stop the leakages. President Bio was also seen through his Press Secretary, updating members of the public about the number that forms part of his delegation on oversea trips in a bid to demonstrate transparency and accountability; a move that was very commendable.
However, since his extravagant trip to Qatar which exposes his government’s recklessness in terms of public spending and during which a member of his delegation, London Jet, , was seen lavishly spending money on wrist watches and useless materials using state resources although the Press Secretary was quick to dissociate president Bio’s delegation to him stating that he was only given a lift and never part of their delegation, the once commendable act of updating the public on his delegation has abruptly stopped for reasons still unknown.
Since the update stopped, Bio’s overseas trips has been bloated with huge number from members of his SLPP cabal who most times are irrelevant or have nothing to offer for their inclusions on his trips. Notable among them was his trip to China, where he took along 30 members in his delegation which allegedly cost Sierra Leone a whopping one million dollars of our tax payers’ money to cover for the expenses. This was also confirmed by the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, who was quoted to have said in a press conference, held at the Ministry of Information and Communications that he was ready to spend one or two million dollars to get forty million dollars as was the case with their trip to China. This he said in reference to questions posed by journalists about the cost of their extravagant trip which they alleged that the Chinese government gave forty million dollars to Sierra Leone; an allegation believed by many Sierra Leoneans to be totally untrue.
It could also be recalled that president Bio and his SLPP members were lambasting the Koroma government for spending too much on wage bills especially on ministers and other political appointees and promised to stop that when they take up power. But unfortunately and contrary to what they promised, the wage bill for ministers and other political appointees under the SLPP government has way surpassed the Koroma regime; a situation that has landed them in conflict with the IMF.
And finally, he has broken all travel records of former heads of states by being the president with the highest delegation ever to the UN General Assembly as he allegedly took along with him a whopping 175 members in his delegation which will cost nothing less than three million dollars to the state.
The spate of recklessness of the Bio’s government in terms of public spending after bogusly claiming to stop leakages, now definitely overstepping its bounds. Many people now believe that has stopped general leakages and opens personal leakages.
As at press time, all effort by this medium to have the financial secretary to comment on the number of people on Bio’s delegation to U.S.A proves futile as he blatantly refused to neither pick our calls nor respond to our messages.
By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara
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