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".
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.
A Tribute To A "COMRADE" Ambassador Ibrahim Bakarr Kamara (Orsoya)
Yes, our "Comrade" has gone! And it's hard to accept it. But whether he had died some years ago or his death had occurred in Kuwait, we would still have grieved our brother,friend, dad and husband, Amb. Ibrahim Bakarr Kamara, aka Orsoya. Yes, we would wish it would have happened as late as possible. For a heart that loves, it is hard to accept the death of a dear one.
On transit in Paris, at CDG airport, on my way to Freetown to pay my last respects to a brother, friend, senior colleague Ambassador and a "special comrade", I felt compelled by my inner voice to pay a tribute to a fallen hero, Ambassador Ibrahim Bakarr Kamara, affectionately known as "Orsoya". Our last telephone discussion, focusing on the bilateral frameworks of some of our infrastructure project financing, was about 4 pm UAE time on Tuesday, February 8, a day before the tragedy struck. Going by that privileged conversation, nothing by any shred indicated that a week later, I will be writing a tribute to his colourful legacies.
Ambassador Sumah reiterates Africa's call for speedy reform of the UN Security Council
Sierra Leone's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Adikalie Foday Sumah, has assured the Co-Chairs of the Security Council Reform Intergovernmental Negotiations of the support of the African Group of Permanent Representatives in moving the process forward in a membership-driven manner,towards achieving the widest political acceptance of a comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council..
Ambassador Sumah was speaking on behalf of the African Group during the Informal Meeting of the General Assembly on the intergovernmental negotiations on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters in New York,on Monday 6th February 2017.
31 January 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Today, Heads of State from across Africa adopted a Declaration on Universal Access to Immunization in Africa, in which they endorsed the Addis Declaration on Immunization, a historic and timely pledge to ensure that everyone in Africa – regardless of who they are or where they live – receives the full benefits of immunization. The endorsement was issued during the 28th African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
While Africa has made impressive gains over the last 15 years toward increasing access to immunization, progress has stagnated, and the continent is falling behind on meeting global immunization targets. One in five children in Africa still does not receive basic life-saving vaccines and, as a result, vaccine-preventable diseases continue to claim too many lives. Measles alone accounts for approximately 61,000 preventable deaths in the African region every year.
The Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles has told the senior officers of the Sierra Leone Police that the correctional centers and cells around the country continue to be full despite the fact that the Board provided legal services to twenty-six thousand (26,000) clients in 2016.
She expressed the concern while addressing the Executive Management Board of the Sierra Leone Police at their weekly meeting at the headquarters of the force on Wednesday, 15 February 2017.
She lamented the police are detaining some suspects for far too long. She urged the police to admit suspects to bail after completing investigations and to avoid imposing stiff bail conditions.
L.A.W.Y.E.R.S’ 20 years of Serving Society by Protecting Women and Girls Through the Law
On a traditionally romantic day on 14th February, 1997, when most successful women were busy cracking their brains on how to get the best from their partners, a small group of young female lawyers in Sierra Leone came together to form L.A.W.Y.E.R.S (Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social Justice), a clear demonstration of their love and care for the country’s most vulnerable group of people.
Answering to the call of the socio-economic, political, environmental and legal injustices facing Sierra Leonean girls and women following the more than decade-long civil war (1991-2002), the group today- 14th February 2017- marks 20 years of defending, protecting and promoting the rights of girls and women across Sierra Leone.
Women and children, mostly girls, suffered the brunt of the war. Thousands were abducted and raped systematically.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone Sunil Saigal has said Sierra Leone has a history to conduct free and fair elections and that there is no reason why the next elections should not be free and fair and free from fear.
He made this statement on Tuesday February 14 at the UNDP office in Freetown during a courtesy call with him by the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL).
The UN Resident Coordinator further stated that the coming elections would be one that would be held without the political oversight of the UN Peacekeepers. Because of that, he stated that “that places the responsibility on the government, the democratic institutions and the people of Sierra Leone”.Placing further responsibilities on government, the UN Resident Coordinator said it was up to government to organize and create the enabling environment, provide election security for electorates to vote, and for candidates to campaign freely.