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.
New World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone, Mr. Pamindar Brer, on Friday 13 November expressed frustration regarding the high cost of mobile tariffs, even when the country has moved from satellite to fibre optic.
Speaking to a cross section of newspaper editors, many issues were discussed on which the Bank is currently engaged in as its support to the Government and people of Sierra Leone, whom he praised for their resilience during the ebola crisis.
He said USD126 million has been provided by the World bank to Sierra Leone to help in its post ebola recovery – an amount that should be mainly used to strengthen the health sector.
On Monday November 2, 2015, member organisations of the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), made up of the nine most prominent free expression rights advocacy organisations on the continent, joined the global press freedom community to mark the UN-designated International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
AFEX is made up of the Centre for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP) in Liberia; Media Rights Agenda (MRA) in Nigeria; Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA); Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in Ghana; National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in Somalia; Journalists en Danger (JED) in Democratic Republic of Congo; Human Rights Network of Journalists (HRNJ-U) in Uganda; Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) in Uganda; and the West African Journalists Association (WAJA) in Senegal.
Here are brief highlights of activities carried out by AFEX members to highlight the need for countries to protect journalists and to punish crimes against journalists as a way of fighting impunity.
THAT DEPLORABLE HOUSING CRISIS OF OUR MILITARY PERSONNEL
In spite of the increment made by the Government of Sierra Leone to allocate about twenty million United States Dollars for the construction of new military barracks across the country, personnel of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) are still complaining over what many describe as “deplorable housing crisis” especially during the raining seasons.
Speaking to The Voiceless Sierra Leoneans on condition of anonymity at the Wilberforce military barrack, one RSLAF Personnel informed that since he enrolled in the military on 4th April 1988, much has not been done to salvage the current housing crisis the military is faced with. He added that, “When I was recruited the morale of the military was exceptional and housing was never a problem as we were all provided an apartment together with our families.”
According to him, those glorious days degenerated with no end in sight, noting “our bosses are not sincere as what they write on papers and say on radio is not what they do.” He said the Ordinary Ranks are hugely suffering the brunt of the housing problem, adding that the salary is not encouraging as it cannot provide them affordable and accessible housing. He went on to say that the available houses in town especially Freetown is expensive and they also need to take care of their children. He said they are worried and frustrated at any time we approaches the raining season. He said most of the houses, apart from the officers’ quarters, leaks and the Estate Department has neglected its duties due to insufficient funds.
He noted that most of the Non Commissioned Officers and their families at the Wilberforce Barracks used “Down the Gutter” to attend to nature because the houses are without toilets. He added that the place called “Down the Gutter” is used for three purposes namely: As toilet, laundry and bathing.
“A new airport will not be beneficial for the people of Sierra Leone” my take
Firstly I would like my readers to know that I am not one of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s and his APC government media handlers. But as a lover of peace and development for my motherland called Sierra Leone, I always like to put the records straight for prosperity.
In view of that when I read the story in connection with the new airport issue from oneof the Sierra Leone online newspapers, “ThisIsSierra Leone” publication of 25th November 2015, written by one Nyamacoro Sarata Silla,I was covered with feverstraight.And I took some time to recover from the fever of “a new airport will not produce food for Sierra Leoneans” in the country statement.
However, I thank God it was not an Ebola virus fever because I was not a Sierra Leonean Ebola virus disease that does not want to see human beings earthly survival. Like how some enemies of development Sierra Leoneans Ebola virus deadly diseases that do not want to see good development in the country. Because of bad-heart, hatred, jealousy, personal grudge, especially when their kith and kin are not in control of State House.
Ahead of the 2015 population and housing census, Statistics Sierra Leone and its international partners on Monday 30 November briefed President Ernest Bai Koroma on its preparedness to conduct the census. The housing and population census is scheduled to take place from 5th to 18th December, 2015.
President Koroma thanked the institutions involved in the census process for their great efforts and stated that he will continue to urge the general public to fully participate in the census to have correct data on the population and other sectors. He pointed out that the data collected will help in policy direction and in the disbursement of funds.
The president emphasized the need for enhanced sensitization and awareness raising, particularly in remote areas, and called on paramount chiefs to be fully involved in order to reach remote areas. He thanked development partners for their financial and technical support towards the conduct of the census and assured of government’s support and commitment to live up to its responsibility.
Residents of Allen Town Community, Calaba Town and beyond have expressed dissatisfaction over the distribution of water supply bystaff who are supposed to secure the facility.
According to them, since the rehabilitation of the facility in 2012 by Angelique International, an Engineering Procurement and Construction Firm from New Delhi, India, they are not enjoying the water facility which they used to enjoy compared to the time the dam was not rehabilitated.
Speaking to this medium about the current water crisis that has hit the communities, Lucy Lebbie a house owner said before the rehabilitation of the facility (dam) they used to get water supply 24 hours.
The office of the Ombudsman Monday 30 November, 2015, presented its annual report to President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House, Freetown. The report is a two year report covering 2013 and 2014 activity years.
The Office of the Ombudsman receives and examines complaints from members of the public who feel they have been unfairly treated by certain public institutions or authorities.
Receiving the report, President Koroma thanked the office of the Ombudsman for the great work done particularly when the Ombudsman has an additional responsibility of chairing the ongoing Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) - going through numerous reports and position papers. He described the report as not just timely, but an indication of commitment, and assured that the challenges facing the office will be addressed.
The former head of state of the republic of Sierra Leone and leading flagbearer aspirant of the SLPP, Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio has assured women in London that his commitment to women is not a lip service.
Speaking at the launching ceremony of his women support group in the United Kingdom named “Julius Maada Bio Women’s Wing – UK”, on Saturday 28th November 2015 at the prestigious Lancaster House, the leading flagbearer aspirant of the SLPP expressed his appreciation to the women from different professional backgrounds who have come together to support his candidacy. Formally launching the group, Rtd. Brig. Bio informed the audience that it will be an unpardonable mistake to make if we only confine women to the kitchen.
Rtd. Brig. Bio also reminded his audience that as a clear evidence of his commitment to women as equal partners in development in the 2012 presidential election he was proud to have nominated a very outstanding woman as his running mate.