Debate on President Bio’s Speech Ends in Sierra Leone Parliament
Members of Parliament have last Wednesday concluded the debate on President Julius Maada Bio’s speech during the second session of the fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone.
In his statement, Hon. Francis Kaisamba of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party [SLPP] who moved the motion for the commencement of the debate said it is normal that such speeches delivered by the President subjected to debate in the well of Parliament. He therefore said, President Bio’s address on May Thursday should not be an exemption adding that President Bio has catalogued what his Government within one year in office. He said President Bio started by addressing the imbalance economy with bloated expenditure, super sealing revenue collected and external debt at the highest peak of US 1.5 billion.
He further entreated that the Extended Credit Facility [ECF] was suspended by the International Monetary Fund [IMF] as a result of economic mismanagement by the past administration adding that the country’s economy inherited by the Bio’s administration was in shambles. He discussed that in one of his executive orders; President Bio placed a ban on sporadic tax waivers and ordered that all revenue collected be deposit into the consolidated revenue fund [CRF] through National Revenue Authority [NRA], Government has been able to pay salaries without recourse to bank drafts.
However, the MP observed that despite fiscal reforms, there still remains daunting challenges in the world market price of the Iron Ore and dollarization in business.
Hon. Bash Kamara of the All Peoples Congress [APC] maintained that with fifty two pages and two hundred and sixty five paragraphs state addresses and forty pages and one hundred and forty nine paragraphs last year and commended the President for choosing a competent health minister.
Hon. Bash Kamara said the President made two contradicting statements about the elimination of the two shift school system which he said, has not implemented.
Hon. Mustapha Sellu of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party [SLPP] admonished colleagues that the country cannot talk about development without strengthening the economy as according to him the Government has made significant strides in the area of economic growth.
“We must commend President Bio for such gains”, he said adding that Sierra Leone is the only country where the opposition prays and fasts for the ruling Government to fail woefully. He talked about the ten billion collected monthly with eighty six percent of revenue spent on salaries and mentioned that the SLPP is ruling the country without any domestic debt.
Hon. Paul Sam of the Coalition for Change contributed that as a party, they are ready to support Government and praised President Bio for appointing a robust Minister of Economic Planning and Development in the person of an internationally acclaimed administrator, Dr. Francis Kaikai to implement the eight planning economic strategies. He said subsidies given to primary schools are meager and urged Government to consider increasing them whilst he also called on Government to revamp the Iron Ore sector and forget about the ‘gron dry syndrome’.
Honorable Abdul Karim Kamara of the APC stated that Government must ensure that it pays salaries on time and maintained that the single account system was initiated by former President Koroma for which he said should be given accolade.
He continued that the removal of tax waivers has driven investors which he said, is the most reason why the ‘gron dry’. On the recent concluded Bintumani Conference, he said it was not timely and that the people were not adequately informed about the entire arrangement of the conference. According to him, it was more of talking session instead of making position papers and argued that the free health care was implemented by former President Koroma with no cost attached to it, unlike the free education scheme introduced by President Bio’s administration.
On his part, Honorable Foday Lamin Kabba of the APC commended President Bio for implementing some of the projects initiated by his predecessor.
By Amira Tatayea Bangura
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