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.
2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul
The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th IPRA conference in Turkey, at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th IPRA conference in Istanbul to serve a second term of two years.
In Sierra Leone, the notion of corporate social responsibility has always been associated with the private sector. No wonder some people see the active involvement of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) in corporate social activities as strange, and many have opined that a tax collecting body should not be engaged in corporate social responsibility activities.
However, the impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on corporate image is immense, even for tax collecting bodies. The perception that tax collectors are monsters vigorously bent on collecting people's earnings with no care for the environment or the vulnerable in the community they operate is evolving. Indeed, many revenue authorities in Africa are today socially responsible.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) in an article in its website argues that "the nature of Revenue Collectors' mandate makes them the hill of the nation such that whatever they do is mirrored and echoed by many".
Press freedom has come under severe attack in West Africa as security agencies, particularly the police, appear to be on rampage against journalists and media workers. In a space of 38 days (January 5-February 12, 2017), 30 media workers have been arrested, detained and/or assaulted by security forces, prompting fears that the gains that have been made in recent years on press freedom and freedom of expression could be eroded.
The 30 victims, made up of 15 journalists and 15 media technicians, were arrested, detained and/or assaulted in 10 separate incidents in four countries namely Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Togo. Nigeria recorded six incidents, Cote d’Ivoire recorded two incidents while Guinea and Togo recorded an incident each.
In Nigeria, seven journalists were arrested and detained during the period. In Cote d’Ivoire, six journalists were arrested and detained in a single incident while one journalist each was affected in Guinea and Togo, bringing the total number of journalists affected to 15. In respect of the other media workers, nine staff of a newspaper printing firm were arrested in single incident. In Cote d’Ivoire, six technicians working with the state-owned television station were also arrested in a single incident.
Dr. David Tam-Baryoh: A New Broom in Sierra Leone Politics
Dr. David Tam-Baryoh is a household name in Sierra Leone, mostly because of his“Good Governance” popular radio programme called monologue. In fact the programme has become sopopular that most people prefer to call the presenter “Mr. Monologue”. Recently Mr. Monologue said in two or three of his programmes that he would be going intopolitics. It looked like a joke the first time he said it. But after saying it over threeor four times it is no longer a joke.
So Dr. David Tam-Baryoh is going into politics in 2018. Those who are very closeto him will tell you that this is a fact. The Doctor has made up his mind. Afterdiscussing and editing serious national issues on newspaper pages and on the airwaves for almost twenty five years, hehas decided that he cannot achieve much for the people behind the microphone and the pen. He now wants toengage into something that will make a direct impact on the lives of Sierra Leoneans.
And the Doctor thinks politics is the best way to do this, if we look at politics as“the authoritative allocation of scarce resources within a nation state.” He wants tobe part of the allocation of Sierra Leone’s scarce resources.
Precious Minerals, Public Trust and Government’s Openness
By late 2001, the Anti Corruption Commission arrested then Sierra Leone's transport and communications minister, together with his wife, “for involvement in illegal diamond mining” in Kenema district. Large quantum of illicit diamonds had been found in their possession, according to a BBC report at the time.
With some diamonds said to have been smuggled out of the country by the minister, the incident happened at a time when the rebel war was raging and the key perpetrators- the RUF were also seriously involved in illicit mining and smuggling. The minister was later jailed in 2003 for two years for illegal possession of diamonds.
Amongst other factors, Sierra Leone’s civil war was fuelled mainly by diamond, specifically “conflict diamonds”- those diamonds that originated from territories controlled by rebel forces (UN definition).
The Legal Aid Board’s Alternative Dispute Resolution on Tuesday, 7 March 2017 resolved a long standing dispute in respect of a property on Newcastle Street, in Kissy, Freetown between one Mr. Solomon Samba Mansaray and his seventy-seven year old elder sister Madam Marian Kamara who is in the country on holiday from the United States of America.
The two who had not been on speaking terms were reconciled. Both promised to work together in the interest of peace in the family. In this vein, Madam Marian Kamara agreed to cancel a U$ 400 debt owed by Mr. Mansaray.
While the tension between the two had been lingering several years,Mr. Mansaray decided to report the matter to the Board in Freetown when he got information that Madam Marian Kamara was planning to sell theproperty. The owner of the property who is the sister of both parties had died over a decade ago without leaving a will.
The Legal Aid Board office in Freetown was stretched to the limit following the storming of the office by desperate students ofthe Njala University seeking the intervention of the Board to secure the release of their colleagues who had been arrested and held in police cells around the city.
On a normal weekday, you would expect at least forty people crammed in the Freetown office to seek the services of the Board. The situation on Thursday, March 23 was characterized by mild chaos as too many students wanted to visit the office to provide updates on students arrested by the police.
The team of Legal Aid Board staff comprising Bankole Morgan and Anthony Karim Kamara negotiated the release of five of the six students detained at the Central Police Station. One was not released because of an alleged inflammatory statement to bring the city on its knees.
U.S. Africa Command Launches a 33-Nation Maritime Exercise: Sierra Leone Maritime “Full Speed Ahead”
During March 23-31, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) issponsoring “Obangame Express”, an in-port Command Post exerciseand at-sea maritime exercise designed to enhance maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.The exercise includes 33 partner nations, as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
The exercise is designed to improve cooperation andinformation sharing, and to refine tactics, techniques and procedures among participating nations.
The “Obangame Express”exercise will be based on realistic modern-day scenarios such as piracy, illegal fishing and hijacking. During the exercise,Maritime Operations Centers (MOCs) will be challenged to recognize illicit acts and share trackinginformation with other MOCs throughout the region.
The winner of the Pride of Australia Award, Ansumana Usman Koroma popularly known as AUK has called on all Sierra Leoneans within and outside Sierra Leone to support and fully participate in both the ongoing voter registration that has started March 20 to end April 19 2017 and the forthcoming nationwide civil registration process slated April 24 to June 11 2017.
AUK who is a Political and Policy Analyst working in Australia said the mass registration of every citizen is a very important process in the development agenda of the country. He therefore appealed to all Sierra Leoneans to put politics aside and understand that the process would help government consolidate citizens’ data and enhance effective service delivery and improve monitoring of government programmes and policies.
He stressed that the national civil registration authority is created to promote a greater sense of nationalism and common identity.