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.
The National Revenue Authority under the current leadership of the hardworking Commissioner General, Haja Kallah Kamara was established through an Act of Parliament, the NRA Act of 2002 with core mandate of assessing and collecting revenues on behalf of the government. It is also tasked with an addition responsibility, which is to facilitate trade, border control and management. Report states that this is why the revenue collection body modernized procedures and processes over the years in order to enhance effectiveness and efficiency in revenue collection.
Since the opening of the Gbalamuya Joint Border Post in 2012 and the establishment of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) in 2014, it has enabled customs officials of Guinea and Sierra Leone to operate under one roof and has significantly reduced the burden and time to transport goods.
Investigations conducted by the press states that the Gbalamuya Customs Post has contributed immensely over the years in raising trillions of Leones for the government.
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.
Climate Change: An Impact Assessment in Sierra Leone
“Climate change poses a serious challenge to the attainment of the Development Goals. Changing rainfall and climate patterns and rising sea levels will exacerbate existing economic, political and humanitarian stresses and affect human development in all parts of the world. This is especially true for countries that rely heavily on climate-vulnerable sectors such as agriculture, water resources, forests and biodiversity to maintain and improve the living conditions of their populations. It is therefore important to manage climate change risks as part of our development approach.” EPA-SL Report 2016, National Climate Change Secretariat: Mainstreaming Climate Change Guidelines into National Development Planning.
This story is specifically on the impact of Climate Change in Sierra Leone and what is being done about it as captured in the above quotation from a report published by the Environment Protection Agency- Sierra Leone (EPAS-SL.) The writer posits that if all the information provided by the various official and private respondents during the interviews he conducted were true, then the story, which takes into account the writer’s own personal observation over the past forty five years, would unfold as he has recounted here.
A stream in Wayeihun village in Nomo Chiefdom, Kenema District, is the community’s main source of water supply (Photo by: James Mattia)
Ebola has come and gone leaving in its trail devastation of unimaginable proportions. More than 14,124 Sierra Leoneans were infected and 3956 were killed, including nurses and doctors. The economy was not spared, as businesses - small and large - suffered hugely, with some even closed down. Hundreds of survivors, widows and orphan children are still struggling to regain their normal livelihoods.
As the country tries to rebound from the outbreak, the lessons learnt mean that health institutions and communities should now be equipped with the necessary knowledge and experience to prevent and control similar outbreaks and other health epidemics to lessen the impact on society. Yet, remote communities in the provincial areas are still vulnerable, more so communities along the Gola Forests catchment areas in Kenema and Kailahun districts, Eastern Sierra Leone, which are practically inaccessible because of their rough terrain and hence lack access to essential services like health and clean water supply.
Today (16-08-2016) Youth of Kabala, Koinadugu District who were staging a peaceful demonstration over the government's decision to relocate a Youth village that had been promised the district since 2014, were met with extreme Police violence and some of them paid with their lives.
According to our sources from the township, Police officers called on the scene to control the protesters, fatally shot youth and injured a few others. This resulted in a rampage that led to the loss of more lives and burning down of houses.
We in the Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) strongly condemn the recent police attack on innocent protesters and the police brutality both during and in its aftermath.
For effective implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS), which is the nation's blue print, compass or direction in the fight against graft, the Anti-Corruption Commission had instituted Integrity Management Committees (IMC's) in every government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as in the local councils. Since they had been in existence for some time now, the need to further strengthen the operations of the IMC's could not be over-emphasized. Hence the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Secretariat in an attempt to strengthen the IMCs organized a meeting at the ACC's Regional Office at Mena Hills in Makeni, on Monday 15th August, 2016.
Presenting on the significance of the IMC's in the Implementation of the NACS, the Manager of NACS Secretariat, Patrick George said the establishment of the IMCs' has fostered collective efforts in the fight against corruption, as the IMCs' are there to address systems weaknesses and corruption opportunities within their institutions.
He furthered that, this approach is very appropriate, for the fact that the IMCs' are very familiar with the corruption related issues threatening the effectiveness of their ministries, departments and agencies.
The Sella Development for Education and Progress (SeDEP) last Sunday 14th August 2016 has inaugurated its new executive. The Chairman of the occasion Mr. Ahmed S. Kargbo while making his statement recalled on the challenges faced by the organization when he was president.
He furthered expressed delight and thankful to God on its present status of the organisation.
In his statement, Mr. Alimamy T. Bangura, former President of SeDEP who is now serving as adviser to the president encouraged the new executive to be committed to push the organization to another level.
"Don't ask what the organization has done for you; ask yourself what you have done for the organization," he quoted the late American Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.
A thirteen-man high powered delegation mainly executives of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party have on Tuesday August 9th, 2016 arrived in the United States of America “to hold consultations with our members in this part of the diaspora and consolidate ourselves and work jointly and cohesively with the guiding principles of it’s by - laws and the APC constitution and get a functional executive.” Said Amr. Alhaji Osman Foday Yansanneh, National Secretary General.
Led by Hon. Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray Deputy APC Chairman and Leader, other members of the delegation include Amr. Alhaji Osman Foday Yansanneh, National Secretary General, Alhaji Mohamed Dondondo Bangura National Organizing Secretary, Madam Fatmata Binta K. Stevens NAC member, Hon. Balogun (Logus ) Koroma National Elections Coordinator and Diaspora Coordinator, Hon. Momodu Alieu Pat Sowe Regional Chairman west , sheik B. Sillah Chairman APC Bo- District, Hon Allieu Turay Western Region Assistant Secretary ,Hon. Bai Mamoud Bangura President APC Youth League, Hon. Elizabeth Mans President APC Women’s Congress, Hon. Amadu Fofanah MP Constituency 109,Mr. David Fornah Personal Assistant to the National Secretary General and Mr. Bailor Stevens Member APC.