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Sierra Leone

Guinean tourism director meets with Burkinabe counterparts

The Patriotic Vanguard - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 1:58am

PV Staff

The Director General of the National Tourist Board of Guinea, Mrs. Kade Camara, met with her Burkinabe counterpart, Mr. Aimé Ouedraogo, Director General of the Burkina Faso National Tourist Board (photo) and Mrs.Ouedraogo Ilboudo, Director General of Tourism Promotion and Development, Wednesday in Conakry, Guinea.

According to a report from the Guinean Tourist Board, the discussions were mainly focused on partnership between the two institutions, as well as the promotion of tourism as a lever of growth and economic development on the African continent.

Both Guinea and Burkina Faso have a rich cultural heritage and wonderful sites ideal for tourism. In fact the the huge tourism potential of West Africa has remained largely untapped.

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone: More girls than boys in basic education

The Patriotic Vanguard - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 1:50am

By Our Reporter

At a recent international conference in Freetown in which he represented President Bio, Vice President Juldeh Jalloh (seen on the right in photo) spoke highly about the enormous progress being made by Sierra Leone in the field of education and the education of girls.

The conference attracted participants from several countries and its main theme was gender equality through education, which was clearly one of the reasons Sierra Leone was chosen as host.

Sierra Leone, he added, has employed 8,000 more female teachers, with more girls than boys in basic education. 22 percent of the budget of the country goes to education, he revealed.

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Canada offers strong support to Finland and Sweden

The Patriotic Vanguard - Mer, 18/05/2022 - 5:55pm

PV Staff

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered what he called strong support to the decision of Finland and Sweden to pursue NATO membership in a statement from his office in Ottawa today.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Alliance is one of the most powerful entities in the world.

“Canada strongly supports Finland and Sweden's decision to pursue NATO membership. As a close friend and security partner, Canada will support Finland and Sweden through the accession process, including against threats to their security.

“Canada will continue to support the principles that have kept the countries on both sides of the Atlantic safe, free, and prosperous for over 70 years.

“Finland and Sweden are the Alliance's closest and most active security and defence partners. They share the Alliance's commitment to upholding the rules-based international system and are committed to the principles of state sovereignty and territorial integrity. Their militaries are highly qualified and capable, and we have full confidence in the ability of both countries to integrate rapidly into NATO.

“Canada has long been a champion of NATO's Open Door Policy for any European country in a position to advance the commitments and obligations of membership and contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area. It is Finland and Sweden's sovereign right to choose their own security arrangements, and we wholeheartedly endorse their application without reservation. We underscore that NATO is a defensive Alliance and does not seek confrontation, nor pose any threat to any country,” Trudeau said in the statement.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed similar sentiments in London today.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened severe reprisals on any other European country joins NATO. He has attacked Ukraine because of that country wants to join NATO.

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone: Loans for students now available

The Patriotic Vanguard - Mer, 18/05/2022 - 5:19pm

By Our Reporter

The parliament of Sierra Leone Tuesday carried out two actions that that will have a significant impact on the country.

One is the approval of the nomination of the first CEO of the new Student Loan Scheme and the second is the making into law the National Investment Board Act. This Board is headed by Dr. Marda Mustapha. The CEO for the student loan scheme is Mr. Paul Joseph Amara.

This is the first time student loans are available for university students or prospective university students in Sierra Leone.

It is part of the promises made in the manifesto of the current government when it was seeking power in 2018.

Parliamentarians hoped the scheme will be sustainable and targeted on poor and needy students.

The mandate of the National Investment Board is to encourage and assist genuine investors to do business in the country in an atmosphere of ease, safety, efficiency and professionalism.

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Senegalese writer Mohamed Mbouga Sarr

The Patriotic Vanguard - Lun, 16/05/2022 - 5:32am

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr (born 20 June 1990) is a Senegalese writer. Raised in Diourbel, Senegal and later studying in France, Sarr is the author of three novels as well as a number of award-winning short stories. He won the 2021 Prix Goncourt for his novel La plus secrète mémoire des hommes (lit. 'The Most Secret Memory of Men'), becoming the first Sub-Saharan African to do so.

Early life
Mohamed Mbougar Sarr was born in 1990 in Dakar, Senegal. The son of a physician, he grew up in a large Serer family in Diourbel. He completed his secondary studies at the Prytanée militaire of Saint-Louis. He moved to France to study in CPGE (classe préparatoire aux grandes écoles) at the lycée Pierre-d'Ailly [fr] in Compiègne. He later studied at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS), where his research focused on Léopold Sédar Senghor. Sarr began writing more and pursued fiction, opting not to finish his thesis at the EHESS.

Career
Sarr's short story "La cale" (2014), about the slave trade, was awarded the Prix Stéphane-Hessel. His debut novel, Terre ceinte (2015), describes life in a fictional Sahelian village under the control of Islamist jihadi militias. In 2015, it received the Prix Ahmadou-Kourouma at the Salon du livre of Geneva. It was also awarded the 2015 Grand prix du roman métis by the city of Saint-Denis de La Réunion, as well as the 2015 Prix du roman métis des lycéens. In 2021, an English translation by Alexia Trigo, titled Brotherhood, was published by Europa Editions.

At the 2017 Jeux de la Francophonie, he received the bronze medal in the literature category for his short story "Ndënd".

His second novel, Silence du chœur (2017), a portrait of the day-to-day life of African migrants in Sicily, received the prix littérature monde at the Étonnants Voyageurs [fr] festival in Saint-Malo. It also received the Prix du roman métis des lecteurs of Saint-Denis de La Réunion in 2018.

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr entering Drouant in Paris to receive the Prix Goncourt on 3 November 2021.

In November 2021, he was awarded the Prix Goncourt for his novel La plus secrète mémoire des hommes (lit. 'The Most Secret Memory of Men'). Sarr won in the first round of voting, by six votes against three votes for Sorj Chalandon and one vote for Louis-Philippe Dalembert. He is the first person from Sub-Saharan Africa to win the Prix Goncourt. At 31 years old, he is also the youngest Goncourt laureate since Patrick Grainville won in 1976. The novel was also shortlisted for the Prix Femina and the Prix Renaudot; and longlisted for the Prix Médicis.

Wikipedia

Note from Editor: Here is Sarr in an interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjhlBAZ0VnI

Categorie: Sierra Leone

At CoM2022, experts address effects of Russia-Ukraine crisis on Africa

The Patriotic Vanguard - Lun, 16/05/2022 - 3:29am

The ECA Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA) in collaboration with the Angolan Government and the United Nations Resident Coordinator's Office in Angola held a side event at the margins of the 54th session of the ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to offer African countries a platform for dialogue, exchange of ideas and experiences on the actual and potential impacts of the Russia-Ukraine crisis on African economies.

The side event aimed to stimulate reflection on the impact of the crisis on the sustainable development of African economies, share experiences and perspectives on how to mobilise resources to counter the shocks of COVID-19 and Ukraine Crisis.

SRO-SA Director, Eunice G. Kamwendo, noted that African countries are most affected by the pandemic and the combined impact of the COVID-19 and the Ukraine crisis are likely to further aggravate liquidity issues constraining recovery. She reminded that as a region Southern Africa contracted the most out of all the sub-regions in Africa due to Covid-19.

“According to estimates by the African Development Bank (AfDB) the region's GDP contracted by as much as 6.3% in 2020, compared to a 2.1% recession for the rest of Africa,” said Ms Kamwendo.

She pointed out that Africa faces a high risk of food insecurity because Russia and Ukraine are major global suppliers of agricultural commodities such as maize, wheat, oils and fertilizers. “The two countries, combined, provide 30 per cent of the world's wheat and barley needs; supply nearly one-fifth of maize globally, and account for over half of the global market share in sunflower oil, among other commodities.”

According to estimates by the African Development Bank (AfDB) the region's GDP contracted by as much as 6.3% in 2020, compared to a 2.1% recession for the rest of Africa
The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Zahira Virani added that the war in Ukraine is forcing Africa to revisit its strategies. “Angola is leading the side event because Angola is in a unique position of facing adverse impacts and opportunities at the same time”. She said the African Continental Free Trade Area provided a great opportunity for intra trade and new markets for the country.

Angola Minister of Economy and Planning, Mario Augusto Caetano Joao, informed the meeting that to counter shocks Angola has engaged deep reforms and changed its business model by prioritizing local production and diversifying from focus on oil production to heavy investments in agri business, fisheries, and transport to give the country a comparative advantage.

“Ten years ago, Angola's oil dependence was 43% and now oil dependency is only 20% showing that the investments are bearing fruit and the country's economy has stabilized despite the crisis”.

Southern Africa participants benefited from the exchange of experiences from East Africa. Hon. Amos Lugoloobi, Uganda Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development encouraged Southern African countries to increase local food production to prevent the dependency on wheat. He gave an example of his country which has increased the production of its staple food and products such as bananas, maize, cassava, palm trees and potatoes.

Mr Lugoloobi noted that Uganda is a net producer of its food supplies and export to neighbouring countries. The country has also embarked on increasing the production of sunflower oil to counter rising prices and be self-sufficient and able to face shocks.

On policy responses to the Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting listened to three other presenters: Dr. Yamungu Kayandabila the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Tanzania; Mr. Marcos Souto, IMF Country Director in Angola, Dr Eklou Attiogbevi-Somado, Manager for Agriculture and Agro-Industry for West Africa, African Development Bank and Mr. Mtho Xulu, President of South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The meeting, moderated by Joseph Atta-Mensah from ECA's Macroeconomics and Governance Division, closed with an interactive Question and Answer session involving the panelists, journalists, and representatives of member States African member States, who reiterated to ECA the importance of the annual Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (CoM) as a platform that allows stakeholders to debate key issues of relevance to Africa's development.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

Categorie: Sierra Leone

President Bio accuses former APC government of thievery

The Patriotic Vanguard - Lun, 16/05/2022 - 1:29am

By Our Reporter

Supporters of the past All Peoples Congress (APC) government have always insisted that that the current Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) government did not initiate the numerous projects it is completing or has completed in the country. They insist that it was their government that initiated these projects and the current government merely completed them.

But at the commissioning of a very important bridge that links the Western Area and many parts of the country, the Magbele bridge, now renamed the Alimamy Dura III bridge, President Bio said APC did nothing but merely misappropriated the funds provided by EU for the construction of the bridge. A reliable source has even stated that a EU staff member in Freetown has confirmed this.

APC activists on social media have vigorously denied this but there is no official statement yet from the APC leadership.

SLPP sources say they will soon commission another important bridge, the Mabang bridge which will link the Western Area to Moyamba district and other areas in the south of the country.

President Bio also presented a long list of development
projects in the Port Loko district undertaken by his government within the last four years.

Here is the speech by President Bio:

https://statehouse.gov.sl/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Statement-by-His-Excellency-Dr-Julius-Maada-Bio-President-of-the-Republic-of-Sierra-Leone-at-the-Commissioning-of-the-Magbele-Rokel-River-Bridge-14-May-2022.pdf

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Information Ministry to sue political attackers

The Patriotic Vanguard - Sab, 14/05/2022 - 2:19am

By Our Reporter

The Ministry of Information and Communication in Sierra Leone has announced, in a press release Friday, plans to sue opposition party members that physically attacked the Ministry's Western Area Coordinator Alpha Saidu Bangura (photo) on Thursday.

There is a video on social media showing Alpha Saidu Bangura being attacked by individuals clad in red, the APC party colour.

Unconfirmed reports say senior members of the APC party were present during the attack but failed to intervene.

The attack happened at the Kissy Road cemetery in Freetown where Zulai Cooper, a prominent APC member and former Deputy Minister of Health was being buried. Alpha Saidu Bangura is related to the deceased.

The All Peoples Congress (APC), the main opposition party, has not yet responded to the MIC press release.

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Freetown Mayor in hot water

The Patriotic Vanguard - Gio, 12/05/2022 - 6:13pm

By Our Reporter in Freetown

The Mayor of Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, Yvonne Aki-Sawyer (photo), seems to be in hot water as the Anti-Corruption Commission has just released a report accusing her of misappropriating thousands of dollars belonging to the Freetown City Council.

She allegedly set up an illegal delivery unit through which she siphoned council funds via foreign trips, allowances and other payments. She will very likely be charged to court.

Yvonne has always had a difficult working relationship with some members of her own staff and the the Local Government ministry since she was elected in 2018. She has always denied past allegations of corruption and has not yet responded to the latest allegations from the ACC, which has some of the best investigators in the country.

She was probed by Parliament not too long ago. The parliamentary committee investigating her is yet to report to the public.

Categorie: Sierra Leone

President Bio responds to opposition criticisms

The Patriotic Vanguard - Gio, 12/05/2022 - 4:37pm

PV Staff

President Bio's speech at the State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday sounded like a robust response to the heavy downpour of criticisms from the opposition.

The Sierra Leone opposition has for several months now been accusing the current SLPP government, known as Paopa to its supporters, of doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING since they assumed power in April 2018.

They say the people of Sierra Leone are starving, with the prices of food and other items going up every day and they blame the government for it , they say there is no free education in the country, that the health system has broken down. They affirm there is no human rights and free speech, that the new bridges and roads were all the work of the past government, not the current government. They also say nobody should be arrested for insulting or defaming others because it is all part of freedom of speech as they understand it. They accuse public officials of stealing government money and paying themselves huge salaries while the people die of hunger even though that salary structure has been in existence for decades and was implemented by the past government whose party is now the main opposition party.

In his address President Bio presented his government's record after being in power for only four years. He spoke about widespread changes in the educational, health, sports, human rights and justice sector reforms and other sectors. He spoke of massive rural electrification and improvement in agriculture and fisheries and the road networks initiated by is government. He dilated on reforming the salary structure of all public workers to make it more equitable and just. He also spoke about the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on the economy not only in Sierra Leone but around the world. His list is long.

Who is speaking the truth? It is now left with people of Sierra Leone to determine.

Click on the link below to read President Bio's speech:

https://statehouse.gov.sl/presidential-address-on-the-occasion-of-the-state-opening-of-the-fifth-session-of-the-fifth-parliament-of-the-second-republic-of-sierra-leone-chamber-of-parliament-freetown-tuesday-10th-may-2022/

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Canadian embassy reopens in Ukraine

The Patriotic Vanguard - Mar, 10/05/2022 - 7:33pm

By Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Canada

Canadians are united in our support for the remarkable people of Ukraine who are so bravely resisting Vladimir Putin's war of aggression. We know that in standing up for themselves, the people of Ukraine are standing up for democracy and international law—and we stand with them.

This weekend's visit was a key opportunity for Canada to further underscore that unwavering support.

We visited Irpin to witness firsthand the awful destruction of Russia's attempted occupation, and to hear first-hand from the heroic people who defended their community.

The Prime Minister raised our flag to mark the re-opening of Canada's embassy in Ukraine.

Ukraine will continue to need both immediate and long-term support to win against Putin. Canada will continue providing that support, including military and financial assistance as well as removing tariffs on Ukrainian exports for one year.

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone bids for UN Security Council non-permanent seat

The Patriotic Vanguard - Mar, 10/05/2022 - 12:17am

His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio Monday launched Sierra Leone's bid for a seat in the non-permanent category of the United Nations Security Council, UNSC, for the period 2024-2025, again since the country's first inning 51 years ago.

In his statement, President Bio recalled that in just eight years after Sierra Leone became a member of the United Nations, it had the singular honour for the first time to be elected to serve on the organisation's most powerful deliberative body, the Security Council.

“These two unforgettable years of Sierra Leone's tenure in the Council from 1970 to 1971, served as bold footprints that continue to define our nation's commitment to its international obligations and its unflinching support for a multilateral rules-based world order to advance and sustain global peace and security.

“Fifty plus years after our 1970-1971 tenure on the Security Council, we are once again presenting Sierra Leone's candidature for a seat in the non-permanent category of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2024-2025,” he said at the presentation of information, education and communication and promotional items for the country's proposal.

President Julius Maada Bio also reiterated that as a nation, they had always continued to play their part as a responsible member of the international community, adding that at various times, Sierra Leone had proudly contributed troops and police to peace support operations so that others might enjoy the peace the country was now experiencing.

“Sierra Leone can today proudly boast of its credentials as a successful model of peacebuilding and post-war state reconstruction. We owe it to the global family of nations to share our experience and lessons in peace-making, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

“Also, given the centrality of Sierra Leone's role as Coordinator of the C-10 on Security Council reform, we will continue to canvass, mobilise and promote support for the Common African Position. We will unequivocally affirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations System, which will significantly contribute to upholding the principles, objectives and ideals of the UN Charter for a fairer world, based on universalism, equity and regional balance,” he said.

In a welcome statement, the Director General of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Prince Cole, said he was extremely happy about such a history-making event, adding that the bid for Sierra Leone to seat in the non-permanent category of the UNSC for the period 2024-2025 would be held in the General Assembly of the United Nations in June 2023.

He further noted that Sierra Leone would once again be on the verge of ascending the global stage, especially as the sole African candidate for the position.

“I am pleased to inform all that Sierra Leone is running with a faith, blessing and support of not only our sub-regional organisation, ECOWAS, but also with the support of the continent as an endorsed candidate of the African Union,” he concluded.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David John Francis, said the event was historic because Sierra Leone was returning to the UNSC, the world's most important body for the maintenance of global peace after more than 50 years.

Prof. Francis maintained that the position in the UNSC would give Sierra Leone the perfect opportunity to tell the country's success story as a country of resilience, hope, and a country that successfully transitioned from war to peace, a country no longer defined by its past, but a country of recent beacon of hope and for Human Capital Development.

“Sierra Leone has maintained an evidence record of support for multilateral rules-based world order, that is why Sierra Leone is increasingly elected or appointed to global leadership organisations such as President of the United Nations Women Executive Board; President of the Arms Trade Treaty, to name but a few.

“We are running under the theme: Partnership, Multilateralism and Representative Approach to Sustained Global Peace and Security. It is our firm desire that this endeavour will contribute significantly to re-brand Sierra Leone,” he concluded.

State House Media and Communications Unit

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Public Education on Public Education: Salaries of Teachers (2014-2022) - facts and distortions

The Patriotic Vanguard - Ven, 06/05/2022 - 10:49pm

Public Education on Public Education: Salaries of Teachers (2014-2022) - facts and distortions

By Dr. David Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Sierra Leone

My greatest pleasure and challenge as a public servant has been how to bring people along with governance decision making.

Last week, I asked a hypothetical question on air. If you were a Minister and you had additional $80,000 per year to invest in the education sector, what do you do? Would you recruit 11,000 Grade 5 teachers or would you increase the salaries of those on payroll now by 30%? Or how might you do both?

I didn't provide an answer but I was misconstrued by people who thrive on misinformation. By the way, one of my Harvard college essays I still have was as a freshman I was asked to answer the hypothetical question of what I'll do with $1m. And this is a question people ask like in this excellent report by Center for Global Development (https://www.cgdev.org/blog/how-much-should-governments-spend-teachers). These are not questions being asked just in Sierra Leone.

Anyway, back to data on teacher salaries- between 2014-2022, our government provided increments to teacher salaries twice and compared to a previous baseline, large leaps including for Grade 1 teachers who are unqualified. Just this April, we have upgraded additional 1,000 + teachers by completing their reassessments. We will add additional 1,200 teachers to the payroll in September bringing it to about 13,000 teachers replaced and newly added since 2018. We provided over 300m to teachers on the Best Teacher Awards.

We have re-started the Trade Group Negotiation Agreement meetings. You want to know some of the things we as employers are considering in the 15 chapter document? Parental leave- no, not maternal leave... but holistic Parental leave. The impact of this is huge for families and something other countries aren't thinking.

The thing is when people are bent on misrepresenting you, they will not do whatever you do or say. They wish they can silence you. But you can't silence facts and progress. So they call you arrogant, disrespectful, not listening... and abuse your parents and threaten your family. As a young person, I have experienced all of that this week... why? Because I speak up and share information and bring along the public. Because I believe governance and leadership must be inclusive and participatory.

These are among the toughest times we face as elections are around the corner. I see other parties releasing pay systems they can't even breakdown beyond the first level. What do these parties have planned for your children? Remove FQSE? And do what?

And for the record:

Yes, we understand that teachers have concerns.
Yes, we are in conversation with disgruntled teachers as have always being.
Yes, we are negotiating with SLTU.
Yes, we are aware of issues between some teachers and SLTU.
Yes we have improved teacher conditions.
Yes we use data and evidence to plan.
Yes we engage the public constantly.
Yes, the opposition politicians are playing with the sentiments of the people.

All those things are true and Yes, we expect our teachers and our children to be in school learning.

Yes, and...

Finally, no matter my true sentiments and my explanation, some people have misrepresented me to anger people. If anyone is angered by what they believe I said to be disrespectful, I am sorry. For anyone who wants to silence me, I am sorry, I won't be nor can I be silenced. We owe it to the people to give them the truth. I am sorry, I am not a politician who can lie to the people. Our governance approach is to bring citizens along. Nothing have I ever said haven't been done.

As I have said over and over and over again, I am named after Ticha Lahai. No misinformation can tarnish our excellent relationship with teachers.

Finally finally, I kindly urge all parents to send their kids to school. I thank all the amazing teachers who have been going to school even with these uncertainties. And I invite those who've been at home whether now or from before to please go to class. You are doing it for your children, not me, not President Bio. Don't follow detractors, many of whom are living overseas and working three jobs to make ends meet. They want to hurt our country so let's not let them.

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Death of Junior Tumbu

The Patriotic Vanguard - Gio, 05/05/2022 - 8:19pm

By Muctar Koroma

One of Sierra Leone's most popular football stars, Mohamed Lamin Conteh ( also known as Junior Tumbu) has passed away in Kenema City, east of Sierra Leone, after a short illness.

Tumbu (photo) played as an attacking midfielder for East End Lions and for other clubs abroad. He was part of the Leone Stars squad from 1994 to 2002.

He was popular for his dribbling skills and ability to inflict damage on the opponent.

Junior Tumbu was part of the Leone Stars technical team in Cameroon for the 2022 AFCON tournament. Until his death, he was working as a coach in the Eastern region.

Categorie: Sierra Leone

ACC commissioner in Rwanda

The Patriotic Vanguard - Gio, 05/05/2022 - 1:11am

By Francis Ben Kaifala, Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Sierra Leone

I am representing Sierra Leone at the General Meeting of the Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in the Commonwealth in Kigali, Rwanda.

I love representing Sierra Leone, and presenting our amazing story of exemplary reforms, commitment and results in the fight against corruption.

They are in awe that in these four years, Afrobarometer confirms corruption prevalence reduced from 70% to 40%; that MCC Score jumped from 49% to an excellent 83% after 4 years galloping back-to-back passes; that Sierra Leone jumped 15 places upwards in Transparecy International's Corruption Perception Index; that all indexes show an upwards trajectory and that we continue to expand the frontiers of our fight without fear or favour.

That which is measurable, is doable; so I reminded them that we are winning; and because of it, we will keep fighting like we are losing until this land prospers!

Categorie: Sierra Leone

President Bio celebrates International Labour Day with Sierra Leone workers

The Patriotic Vanguard - Mer, 04/05/2022 - 4:28pm

His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio Tuesday joined colleague employees in the country to commemorate May Day or International Labour Day, urging workers in Sierra Leone to ensure fairness at their different workplaces.

Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Labour Congress, Max Conteh, thanked the President for gracing the occasion and all workers and affiliate unions that had committed to nation-building, saying that the conference was intended to solidify their strength to demand fairness at their places of work, using their collective efforts.

He, therefore, called on employers to treat their workers fairly in terms of wages, salaries, and other conditions or benefits in return for efficient service delivery and wealth creation. He further urged the government on the need to review the country's labour laws, which, he said, were too old to meet the current challenges of the labour market.

“Your Excellency, notwithstanding the challenges we face as a nation, the Labour Congress appreciates you and your government for providing the leadership within the context of the New Direction. We commend the government for allowing dialogue with the Sierra Leone Labour Congress to find a lasting solution to the issues around welfare maximisation. May God Bless Sierra Leone,” he concluded.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Honourable Alpha Timbo said that the celebration of May Day was an important milestone in the history of the Sierra Leone Labour Congress, adding that International Labour Day was being celebrated the world over to commemorate the struggles and sacrifices of workers, labourers, and the working class.

He also stated that the President of the nation should address and motivate workers of all classes for their relentless efforts in advancing development of the nation, adding that workers continued to face challenges. He, therefore, called on employers to work with their employees, so that terms and conditions were always determined on a regular basis.

“Despite the challenges of the Coronavirus on economies and the recent war between Russia and Ukraine, the New Direction government has increased the number of workers on the wage bill. More teachers, more nurses have been recruited. As the Labour Minister, I am proud to say that this government has done a lot in terms of salary increment and other facilities for workers. We will continue to work with other employers for dignified conditions of service for our workers,” Minister Timbo assured.

In his statement, President Bio said he felt honoured to be part of the celebration, simply because he was a worker too and that indeed he was an employee of the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

“I was employed on the 4th of April 2018 for a period of five years and eligible for another five years to steer the mantle of leadership of this great nation. Sadly, for me as a worker, I don't have anywhere to complain about salary increment or improved conditions of service and I cannot even go on strike,” he stated.

He noted that the issues raised by the Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Labour Congress and many of the concerns affecting workers had always been similar but assured that in a meeting last week with the leadership of the labour unions they agreed to strengthen cooperation.

“However, on the issue of salaries and wages for workers, it is important to note that since 2018 to date my government has made 30% salary increment for teachers, 50% salary increment for Military, Police, Fire Force and Correctional Services; 50% salary increment for workers at ONS and CISU; 25% salary increment for workers at Audit Service, Anti-Corruption Commission and Statistics Sierra Leone; and 75% salary increment for university lecturers and workers.

“In 2019, my government also increased the minimum wage from Five Hundred Thousand Leones (Le500,000) to Six Hundred Thousand Leones (Le600,000). I know workers always want more salary increments but what we have done so far should give workers hope that this is a government that cares and a government that is fair. Let me also state that preparations for the establishment of a Wages and Compensation Commission are at an advanced stage,” he said.

He further disclosed that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and its social partners had conducted at least two reviews of some of the labour laws of the country and for the first time two significant bills had been drafted.

“The Labour Bill, 2022: This will be an Act to consolidate and repeal the Factories Act, 1974; General Law (Business Start-up) (Amendment) Act, 2007; Regulations of Wages and Industrial Relations Act, 1971; Employers and Employed Act Cap 212, 1956; Workman's Compensation Act Cap 219 and the Trade Union Act 1944.

“Overseas Employment and Migrants Bill, 2022: This will be an Act to provide for the regulations of overseas employment, to provide for the establishment of a safe and fair system of migration, to provide for the protection of the rights and welfare of migrant workers and members of their families and to provide for other related matters.

Credit: State House media

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Vice President calls for peace, stability and development

The Patriotic Vanguard - Lun, 02/05/2022 - 11:23pm

Contributed

Delivering an Eid Mubarak message to Muslims and the nation today (May 2), the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh (photo) appealed to one and all to pray for peace, unity, stability and development in the country.

VP Juldeh Jalloh also called for prayers for President Bio and the government. He remarked on this being the first time in two years that Muslims have gathered in such large numbers to celebrate Eid Mubarak, stating that Covid-19 has been disruptive globally.

He informed the audience that Sierra Leonean pilgrims will join other Muslims from across the world to perform the Hajj this year and wish all Sierra Leoneans and the Muslim Umah around the world a blessed Eid.

"We pray that the Almighty Allah accepts our prayers, fasting and grant our dear nation Sierra Leone the blessings of the Eid," he concluded.

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Tribute: Ambassador Jonathan Arthur Derrick Leigh

The Patriotic Vanguard - Lun, 02/05/2022 - 1:09pm

By Bai-Bai Sesay, Managing Editor, Independent Observer, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

After more than three decades in the field of journalism, it is only natural to look back and honour those who helped along the way.

Ambassador Jonathan Arthur Derrick Leigh (pictured), who died on Saturday 9th April 2022, was a major influence on my career and those of many journalists at the Independent Observer Newspaper.

After the death of Sorie Sudan Sesay (May his soul rest in perfect peace), today is my second time to pay another tribute to a brother I have worked with for many years.

‘Orsoh' as we commonly call ourselves, is a man hard to forget. I believe his soul is with us.

To many, he was a dear friend. To all of us who worked with him especially at the Independent Observer, he was our hero.

In his life, Joe Leigh lived a life of piety, wisdom and knowledge. We loved Joe Leigh but the Almighty had his plans.

The late Ambassador Jonathan Leigh. is a veteran journalist who dedicated his life in representing the underprivileged through journalism and writing.

Through his media experience, he set up the Independent Observer newspaper in 1997 where I and late Sorie Sudan Sesay joined him.

I first met the late man when he was a sports reporter. During my days with him at the Independent Observer, he always ensured that I sat with him during the layout of the newspaper so that I would have first-hand experience in the knowledge needed for me to later succeed.

My days were busy and hectic and I was only able to relax at the end of the day, or when I'm out of the country. Today, I thank God for that.

Journalists can attest to the fact that the late man always attended SLAJ's Annual General Meetings (AGM). He was always committed to the ideals of the association and his great death will be seriously felt by his colleagues both at home and abroad.

Joe Leigh was one of the few journalists his colleagues admired a lot because of his dedication and hard work to the journalism profession.

News of his death hit me like a hammer on the chest. He was such a massive personality, such a burning force, and the idea of him lying lifeless feels like a massive injustice as well as a big loss. But indeed good things never last, as shown by the sudden death of Brother Jonathan Leigh. That is why the death of Joe Leigh is not only a big loss to his family, to SLAJ, but also to the entire nation and beyond.

Brother Jonathan Leigh, rest in peace and may Allah Almighty guide you in eternity. Insha Allah

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Canada: Statement by the Prime Minister on Eid al-Fitr

The Patriotic Vanguard - Lun, 02/05/2022 - 1:08pm

Statement by the Prime Minister on Eid al-Fitr

May 1, 2022
Ottawa, Ontario

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Eid al-Fitr:

“Tonight at sunset, Muslims in Canada and around the world will celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

“After a month of fasting, charity, and spiritual reflection, Eid al-Fitr is a time for community and celebration. One of the most important holidays in Islam, it is an opportunity for families and friends to gather and pray, feast, and spend quality time together. While the past two years have been challenging for us all, we have found inspiration in the values that are at the heart of Islam – generosity, peace, compassion, and gratitude – which will continue to help us as we recover from the pandemic, and move ahead with optimism and hope.

“Eid al-Fitr is also an opportunity to recognize the important contributions Muslim Canadians have made, and continue to make, to our country. Across Canada, Muslims demonstrate service and kindness, by donating to charity and supporting important causes. Diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and we will continue to take action to combat Islamophobia and hatred in all its forms, including by appointing a special representative to combat Islamophobia. Together, we will keep building a better, fairer, and more inclusive world for everyone.

“On behalf of our family, Sophie and I wish a blessed and peaceful Eid to all those celebrating here at home and around the world.

"!عيد مبارك

“Eid Mubarak!”

Note from Editor: Watch and listen to Prime Minister Trudeau by clicking on the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqaWxg-QxZI

Categorie: Sierra Leone

Canada and the EU stand shoulder to shoulder

The Patriotic Vanguard - Dom, 01/05/2022 - 8:44pm

By Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Canada

Canada and the EU stand shoulder to shoulder in defence of our shared prosperity, of democracy, and of the people of Ukraine as they fight for freedom and democracy.

Valdis Dombrovskis and I discussed this and more at the IMF Meetings today.

Categorie: Sierra Leone