The Almighty Sierra Leone Telecommunication Company (SIERRATEL) and The Sierra Leone Postal Services Limited (SALPOST) used to be the pride of Sierra Leone in service delivery but have crumbled down the drain to their unexpected lowest standards that really need some interventions.
Sierratel was formed as a government entity to provide affordable telephone services to the nation. It has in no doubt been the only gate way for all sorts of communication in Sierra Leone – meaning all companies do pay for this gate way. In the past years, Sierratel was a business giant in Sierra Leone from the late 1980s to early 1990s making meaningful economic contribution to the government. The first action that started crippling it was the establishment of an open line to homes and commercial premises which led to massive corruption among workers. Those connected were misusing the international line, no proper accountability from senior workers and payment of staff salaries became problematic. So, the ill managed company gradually turned out to be the centre of staff strikes and corruption. This continued till the wake of mobile companies in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s to 2000. Covered by the gate way mobile lenders from Sierratel, the mobile companies toppled Sierratel and became more powerful to this moment. The imperative question one may ask is - what has really killed the Almighty Sierratel, is it the mobile companies’ revolution or lack of innovation?( the giver to become the great loser).
After allowing customers or subscribers to the mobile companies to be loyal and develop trust in them, it became difficult for Sierraratel to wake up from its long slumber and catch up with the 100 meters ahead mobile companies. To leap-frog now, build confidence in the millions of mobile subscribers in Sierra Leone has been a herculean task for the one time pride of Sierra Leone telecompany.
One may suggest among other things as a way forward that added to the cheapest rates, Sierratel which operates both land and mobile telephone services must design strategies like the sim and credits paid for but the mobile phone itself free. Also seasonal raffle draws and other sales promotions should be done.
The Sierra Leone Postal Services Company (SALPOST) on the other hand was formed to ensure effective and efficient delivery of mails, other parcels, information packages (normal and classified) both internal and external. It had a good structure and did well in the 70s and 80s but started declining in the wake of the new media technology known as Internet. This was because the internet provides website, email, facebook (social media) facilities that could easily replace the services SALPOST could provide.
With innovation however, SALPOST could have still survived and maintained its expected service delivery especially the hinterland document services in the country. There are certain documents that still need the services of SALPOST both local and International that go beyond international facilities. With facilities and well coordinated programs, SALPOST can still make its contribution to nation building. Why have DHL, Red Coat and others are still surviving and making inroads to the happiness of the public, staff and most important their owners/Managing Directors? All this is because of well coordinated programs and dedication. The idea is centred on sober arrangement with the Airlines for prompt delivery of international mails to their respective destinations. For local mails around the country, SALPOST should have small and good vehicles with dedicated staff who will not give flimsy excuses to deliver parcels on time. The above are just few examples of numerous services SALPOST should offer this nation.
Nevertheless, since SALPOST has lost direction of what to do to keep the Institution above the water, it is imperative that government inject and render it some innovations to salvage the deplorable and ridiculous condition of SALPOST.
The first move government can do towards this is to like the US A transfer the issuance of all passports to SALPOST whiles the Immigration concentrate on the real enforcement of immigrants and other duties. If passports issuance is done by SALPOST, that will wake up and make it fulfil all other functions. Added to the revenue SALPOST will generate for government, it will also become more viable and be a pillar of the Agenda for Prosperity. Immigration on the other hand will then be steadfast in checking for residential permits, expert rate fee, work permits and other documents around our bothers, in the cities and other big towns. The effectiveness and efficiency of this enforcement body (Immigration) can then be achieved and appreciated, hence a contribution to the Agenda for Prosperity. What out for more in the next edition in trying to salvage the situation of SALPOST.
POLITICIZING A NATIONAL TRAGEDY FOR WHATEVER REASON IS CRUEL AND UNGODLY
Some of the articles being written by Sierra Leoneans on this Ebola disaster are very unfortunate, especially coming from people you would want to call "educated" , because of the letters behind their names ( Though we know that paper qualifications and education are two different things ). The writers are not expressing any sensitivity to the suffering of our people. This Ebola issue is becoming a political theatre for callous and godless people to expatiate their political proclivities. It is a shame, but also, it is tragic.
I continue to share the grief and sorrow of all citizens hailing from Kailahun. May God intervene once again and deliver the region from evil. They are a hardworking, progressive and productive people. They provide a very significant amount of the food products and cash crops that help to feed our nation and also bring in hard-earned foreign exchange and revenue. They have also provided some of the brightest minds in the nation, people who have contributed immensely to the development of the nation. They are very good and progressive citizens, as well as being among the most peaceful and law-abiding people in the country.
However, because they live by Sierra Leone's borders with Liberia and Guinea, the inhabitants of Kailahun are vulnerable to many dangers. If there is war or an outbreak of any pestilence or deadly disease in our neighbouring countries, they will suffer first, given the heavy volume of cross-border traffic, cross-border human interactions and trade between them and the people of Liberia and Guinea . In all African countries, people who live by the borders take the brunt of unfortunate spillovers of wars, transnational crime and sicknesses from the other side. We have seen it in Central and Southern Africa. We have seen it in East and North Africa. The rebel war and the ongoing Ebola plague hit Kailahun first because of her location on our borders with Liberia and Guinea . Nobody deliberately planted the Ebola virus in their midst.
On Tuesday 19 August, Sierra Rutile and its major shareholder Pala Investments donated one billion Leones to help Sierra Leone in its fight against Ebola. The cheque was presented to the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma by Sierra Rutile’s CEO John Bonoh Sisay, Non-Executive Director of Sierra Rutile, Alex Kamara and Mike Brown, the Managing Director of Pala Investments.
Speaking on behalf of Sierra Rutile, John Sisay said: “We recognise the severity of the ongoing Ebola epidemic and hope that our contribution will strengthen Sierra Leone’s efforts to beat this disease. The crisis has affected the lives and livelihood of many Sierra Leoneans and Sierra Leonean businesses and we will continue to feel the socio-economic repercussions well after the virus has been contained. We make this donation as a gesture of good faith and also to show how deeply concerned we are by the impact of this disease on our country.”
19 August 2014, Freetown: The Parliamentary Press Gallery Executive which was elected into office on 18 August 2012 to run the affairs of members has formally come to an end.
President, Elias Bangura, on behalf of the outgoing executive, thanked members for the confidence reposed in them to run the affairs of the Gallery, a task which they carried out to the best of their ability: the successes registered were only possible through the commitment and cooperation of members, including the Office of the Clerk of Parliament, and Members of Parliament.
I had told you to close the borders with Guinea. I had told you to ‘put boots on the ground to man all official and unofficial crossing points’. I had told you following the outbreak of Ebola in that country in February, but you ignored my advice. Now look at the crisis we have in our hands. Had you listened to my advice we would not be grappling with this crisis.
Now, I am offering new pieces of advice, please take them seriously. This is the emotion-evoking message Tink Salone is strenuously trying to send out to the government in its most recent press statement.
In the name of Allah the Most Beneficent the Most Merciful
Indeed all praise is due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His assistance, we seek forgiveness from Him, and we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our own selves and the evils of our actions. Whoever Allah guides, none can lead astray and whoever He leads astray, none can guide. And I bear witness that none is worth of worship except Allah who has no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.
The most truthful word is the book of Allah, and the best guidance is that of Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The worst things are the innovated ones (those that are not in accordance with the practice of Mohammad and his companions) and all innovations lead to astray and all astray lead to the hell fire.
This is indeed another very sombre epoch in the history of our beloved country which we all keep crying that our good and merciful LORD intervenes in His might to rid this nation of. In this piece I shall endeavour to deliberate on what I shall consider disjointed and misguided signals in this sub regional fight against Ebola; especially our Sierra Leonean anomalies and aberration.
The Minister of Health, about two weeks ago seemed to have realized her and the government’s mistakes in our initial response to this outbreak. The sensitization efforts were beefed up in all the media and through various governmental actors, NGOs, youth and community based outlets. And after the death of Dr. Khan, his assistant and many health workers, a frenzied clarion call was made to the WHO and the international community to hasten to our aid.
The Office of the Clerk of Parliament wishes to acknowledge Government’s release of the Constituency Development Fund to finance activities to enable Members of Parliament perform the leadership role at the constituency level in line with His Excellency the President’s directive in the State of Public Emergency proclaimed on 30th July, 2014.
A recent statement from the Leadership of Parliament expressed concern at the slow pace of international response to this crisis and gratitude to those partners who have offered their support. It called on all persons, institutions and communities to cooperate with public health authorities in fighting the outbreak. A few days ago, Parliament also passed the Public Health Amendment Act, 2014 to allow for enforcement of new public health regulations.