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.
Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), today announced her intention to appoint Abebe Aemro Selassie as Director of the IMF’s African Department. Mr. Selassie succeeds Antoinette Sayeh whose departure was announced previously. He is expected to begin his work in this capacity on September 19, 2016.
“Abe brings a profound understanding of the challenges facing Africa, having worked closely with policymakers from across the region for much of his career. His proven ability to provide intellectual leadership, track record of building collaborative relationships, analytical depth, and warm collegiality make him ideally placed to lead the IMF’s work with our membership in sub-Saharan Africa. Having had the opportunity to work with Abe over the last five years, I have been struck by his sound judgement, integrity, and commitment to teamwork,” Ms. Lagarde said.
This piece is not a tribute but a message and lesson for all practicing journalist.
Death is a necessary end it comes when it would come. The end of a female popular journalist, Manjia Parkinson came at 42 years in July 24, 2016 with a big blow to family friends, media colleagues and her family. When I listened to the numerous glowing tributes at her vigil in the Bo City Hall and the Winners Chapel International Church, Bo branch from Rose Konima Stevens, Princess Gibson, IbrahimBatiloMattia, Dan Parkinson and others representing the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WIMSAL), the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), the Family, and the Government of Sierra Leone ably represented by Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. Cornelius Deveaux, I decided with spiritual emotion to title this story, “ The American Born Journalist”.
Many beautiful names were given to the late woman by friends and colleagues in the media but I listened to the tribute given by her elder brother, Dan Parkinson that he used to call her during their teenage days ‘American Born’, a name that eventually saw her in America, and returned home with smiles from the White House, and then said to myself what God has destined no man can change, and the voice of man is the voice of God. In Latin, we say: “Voxpopulivox dee”.
The fondly name by Parkinson never fell on thorns or the way side but with the grace of the Almighty.
Citizen engagement is crucial to sustaining democratic governance. It allows for openness in decision making process and ensures trust and public confidence.
Participatory democracy, according to Aragone`s et el, is a process of collective decision making that combines elements from both direct and representative democracy (A theory of participatory democracy based on the real case of Porto Alegre. European Economic Review 2008)
Sierra Leone pays greater attention to public engagement and citizens’ participation in governance both at the central and local levels of government. At the local level, it is clearly manifested in the local councils, which serves as efficient, or as expected, conduit for ensuring proper service delivery and community participation at the local level.
President Ernest Bai Koroma, during a two-day National Conference on Community Engagement and Convergence in Freetown on 31 August 2016 underscored the role participatory governance and citizen engagement can play in enhancing service delivery across the country.
Sierra Leone First Ltd will like to congratulate and welcome the new Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on his recent appointment. For such a young man and supposedly part of the middle class, a class that should be driving positive change, we sincerely hope he will muster the strength of heart and courage, as a man of pedigree should, to fearlessly deliver on his mandate.
In 2012, myself and my team at SLIEPA, put together a concept for the establishment of an Export Development Fund (please google Export Development Fund Sierra Leone). This fund was intended to not only develop and diversify the export base, but to also wean this country off donor support - a huge burden on our development partners. It was also intended to drive value addition, provide finance (or seed capital) for local SMEs and lay the solid foundation for the eventual industrialization of the economy. We spent the better part of two years going through the motions of lobbying ministries, parliament and statehouse for it's adoption. In 2013, the then Minister of Finance captured it in his budget speech for fiscal year 2014.
A six man delegation from the Independent National Commission on Human Rights in Liberia jets in to under study the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL).
The delegation among other areas of study will enquire in to Inter- departments coordination and reporting, requirement for achieving ‘A’ status, International Protocols andtheir ratification as national instruments, networking with other institutions of government responsible for human rights as well as CSOs, fund raising with donor organizations and the Commission’s role in the implementation of the TRC.
The Liberian Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) came in to existence in 2005 in accordance with Article XII of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) endorsed in Accra, Ghana, to sell the end of the Liberian civil crisis in 2003. The CPA called for the establishment of the INCHR to monitor conformity with human rights as well as promote human rights education throughout the various sectors of the Liberian society, including rural and urban communities, schools, the media, the police and the military. It further obligated the Commission to work together with local Liberian human rights civil society organizations, international human rights organizations and relevant UN agencies to monitor and strengthen observance of human rights in the country. The INCHR was also set up in line with the Paris Principles.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Saturday 10th September, 2016, conducted random checks on West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) Centers across the country. The move was part of the Commission's focus to improving integrity in the Educational Sector.
Following the Commission's intervention, in coordination with the Police and Education Officer, Kono, two pupils, (names withheld) at the Koidu Secondary and Experimental Secondary Schools, Koidu City, Kono District, were caught with cell phones containing model answers to the 2015/2016 WASSCE Mathematics examination paper. Our initial investigation has revealed that these pupils had gained access to the Mathematics questions prior to the Examinations from social media.
The Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles has discussed a proposal fortraining and counselling for prisoners at a meeting with staff of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) on Friday, 23 September 2016. Ms. Carlton-Hanciles was meeting with staff of YWCA for the first time after the two institutions agreed to work as partners.
Ms. Claire Carlton-Hanciles saidthe Board wants to tap into the experiences and expertise of the YWCA to transform prisoners so that they do not revert to crime when they return into mainstream society.
She wants to see prisoners trained in skills like dress making, food processing and home decoration. ‘We want you to train women and children prisoners in livelihood skills and to also provide counselling services to them,’ she said. ‘Ex-prisoners face daunting challenges because they do not have any sustainable source of livelihood. We want to see how we can smoothen the transition into mainstream society for ex-prisoners. ’
Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom has expressed his disappointment over those clamouring to lead the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) instead of focusing of maintaining the President’s legacy and called on the President to use his services to upload some of these politicians.
In a direct message to the President, His Excellency Edward Mohamed Turay declared: “Your Excellency you have an individual who is not an apprentice but a professor in politics. My professional cabal is ready and willing to off-load some of these politicians sooner than expected.”
He said the President has work so hard and all he needs is people to help him accomplish his mission, and wants the President to know that, like himself, a lot of people will “stand for you, by you and always around you.”
The High Commissioner believes politicians focusing on succeeding the President at this point in time are not doing anything good to the President other than undermining his good legacy.