Our sea port is now ready to handle the nation’s economic growth – says president Bio
Speaking at the official launching of the expanded Freetown Terminal Port at the Queen Elizabeth Water Quay last Friday, 23rd November 2018, president Julius Maada Bio said that the newly expanded port is now capable of handling the nation’s economic growth.
Construction work in expanding the port was carried out by Bollore Transport and Logistics Company.
Delivering his keynote address, President Bio spoke in both French and English about the positive impact of the French in Sierra Leone.
He said that the French are currently contributing greatly in the economy of Sierra Leone, naming – Total, Air France and Bollore as leading French businesses in the country.
President Bio assured that Sierra Leone is open to business and credible investors. “Bollore is a good partner,” he said, and “as a government we are committed to ensure that credible businesses thrive in Sierra Leone.”
President Bio spoke about his flagship education programme. He stressed that Sierra Leone has invested greatly in education.
The President requested Bollore to create internship programme for Sierra Leonean university students to be trained in the new facilities built by Bollore.
In his earlier remarks prior to the President’s statement, the Country manager of Bollore Transport and Logistics in Sierra Leone – Fabjanko Konan, confirmed that the twenty-four months construction project has produced an expanded Freetown Container Terminal has been built on and used two hundred and seventy feet (270) meters of the quay area, thirteen (13) meters draft, 3.5 H new yard, power plant of 6 MWA, one million tons of sand, over forty thousand (40,000) tons of cement, over 10 000 tons of steel and 2.5 million paving blocks.
He said that Bollore is aware of the importance of the port to the country’s economic growth, and that Bollore is committed to working with the government of Sierra Leone for the development of the Freetown Sea Port and Sierra Leone at large.
“Our commitment to contribute to the country’s development has gone beyond simple business as we are partners with the Government in this venture. I have the pleasure to announce to you that the government is 20% stakeholder in Freetown Terminal Ltd,” Fabjanko confirmed.
Cyril Bollore – CEO of Bollore, said Bollore is a family inheritance that has been in existence for over one hundred and ninety-six (196) years now. He said he is proud to be at the launching to represent the seventh (7th) generation of Bollore.
He spoke about the activities of Bollore globally, whilst thanking the President for the trust bestowed in Bollore.
Cyril Bollore further thanked the staff of Bollore Transport and Logistics and the people of Sierra Leone for their collaborative work in ensuring that the project comes to reality. He said, “despite the money, if the people of Sierra Leone do not collaborate, we will never succeed.”
Minister of Transport and Aviation – Kabineh Kallon said that the transport sector is pivotal to the growth of the economy of any country. He said that through the improvement of the port, the government will stand to enhance economic growth. He said that the port expansion has now opened Sierra Leone to global trade.
Also speaking at the official launch of the expansion of the Freetown Terminal Project was the Chairman of the National Commission for Privatization (NCP) – Umaru Napoleon Koroma, who said that the re-alignment and rehabilitation of the Queen Elizabeth II Quay is one of the successful projects undertaken by NCP.
He spoke about the importance of social corporate responsibility and the need for communities around the expanded project to benefit. He said that the event is a manifestation of the Government of President Bio’s readiness to embrace genuine investment in Sierra Leone.
The General Manager of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA) Dr. Alusine Fofanah recalled the status of the port before its rehabilitation. He said that before the rehabilitation, the SLPA had huge manpower that was irrelevant. He said, however, business in the port has greatly improved; and that productivity has greatly increased now, than it was before privatisation.
Our thanks to The Sierra Leone Telegraph for the above online news
National Revenue Authority to claim unpaid arrears from fishing companies for fines, local discharge
As at the end of December 2015, arrears for fines and local discharge from four fishing companies were said to have not been collected by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) amounting to USD$135,942 and Le522million (Le522,841,333).
The 2015 Auditor General’s Annual report revealed that it seems as if the debt collection system was not robust as the Ministry was unable to collect the full amount of fines and local discharge fees within the year under review. From Le522million owed by various fishing companies only Le145million (Le145, 390, 200) was paid leaving a balance of Le377million (Le377,451,133) outstanding and furthermore there was no evidence that the fines of USD$135,942 was recovered from the companies.
At the end of the audit, it was recommended that the Permanent Secretary should ensure that stringent and robust mechanisms are put in place to collect arrears within the financial year and evidence of recovery forwarded to Audit Service Sierra Leone within 30 days of receipt of the report. However, before embarking on investigating these issues, Budget Advocacy Network (BAN) organised a debriefing meeting on the outstanding audit recommendations from the Audit Report with support from Christian Aid.
An interview conducted with the MFMR Principal Accountant Festus Kuyembeh, on the arrears which have accumulated since 2010 to the time of the audit, he explained was as a result of fishing companies that were fined and the Ministry will ask them to pay half and the balance will be paid through a monthly instalment plan. Kuyembeh on 30th August, 2018, said that as a result of the accumulated arrears, the National Revenue Authority (NRA) has taken over the collection of the unsettled payments from the companies.
The demand notes for the four fishing companies namely Danyu 26287/88 (JIFU), Marapa 803, Okeky Agencies Ltd and Sierra Fishing Company (Rong 19/20) were presented to NRA for appropriate action. According to the Ministry, Sierra Fishing Company contended that they have made some payment of which no receipt was obtained from the Ministry as it was made directly to the bank. “We never knew about it until we sent a letter to remind them of their arrears, those payments were confirmed when I requested for the bank statements, the variance has been corrected as the money has been transferred to the CRF” said Kuyembeh.
The Ministry on 17th January, 2017 wrote letters to these companies informing them about the balance payment in respect of fines levied for the arrested vessels and local discharge attached to the various companies. The NRA has confirmed to the Ministry that the companies have agreed to honour the balance payment of arrears due as provided by MFMR. Okeky confirmed to the Ministry that they have received letter from the NRA and they have agreed to pay. The previous amount owed by Sierra Fishing Company was Le699million (Le699,982,347.84) for local discharge fee for Marampa since 2012 as it stands now they are to pay Le355million (Le3555,983,818.78). Danyu fine levies is totalled at USD$88,300.46 and they have paid USD$43,254.33 with an outstanding balance of USD$45,046.13. Sierra Fishing company debt for license authority from 25th April 2013 sum up to USD$140,393.33 and they have paid through several instalments equivalents to USD$87,663.90 leaving an outstanding balance of USD$52,729.43.
The liability of Okeky Fishing Agencies before the beginning of the audit was Le33million (Le33,357,515.00) after verification it was reduced to Le22million (Le22,967,315) and at the time of the interview with the Fisheries Ministry in August 2018 the amount now due for Okeky is Le21million (Le21,266,115) as their last payment was 6th June, 2017. The Ministry according to Kuyembeh will not be going into payment plans with fishing companies when they are fined, “we are giving any chances they must pay upfront if not we will not renew their licenses” he said. However, outstanding issues from previous Audit Report observed that of the total arrears of USD 240,000 (approximately Le,1,030,000,000), the USD equivalent of Le.614,969,498.27(60% of total amount) for the year to 31st December 2014 was still outstanding.
The Permanent Secretary was asked to ensure that stringent and robust mechanisms are put in place to collect arrears within a minimum down time to limit such occurrences. The amount involved is recovered from the fishing companies and forward evidence of recovery to the audit office. However, the Auditors said that there is no evidence that the Ministry has recovered the arrears related to the previous audit. However, Kuyembeh insisted that this issue in the previous audit has been resolved but the ASSL maintained that the issue is yet to be implemented.
Our thanks to the Sierra Leone AWOKA for the above online news
Illegal fishing costing Sierra Leone US$ 50 million annually
Annually, Sierra Leone is losing an estimated US$ 50 million to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
This, according to Sierra Leone’s newly-elected President Julius Maada Bio, is one of the critical challenges in the fisheries sector coupled with limited accessibility to the international market.
President Bio, who was addressing the 5th Parliament of Sierra Leone during the State Opening, said one of the key objectives of his ‘New Direction’ administration is to create a profitable fisheries industry that will contribute significantly to socio-economic development through sustainable management and utilization of the country’s marine resources as well as conserving the environment.
“My administration will focus on improving marine resource governance and sustainable management of fisheries, reducing illegal fishing, improving the quality of marine products and developing fishing infrastructure,” he said.
In April 2017 four illegal fishing cases were discovered during a joint surveillance mission conducted by Greenpeace and authorities at the Sierra Leone Fishing Ministry. Two Chinese and one Korean vessels were arrested for infringements of Sierra Leone fishing legislation, including possession of or using of illegal fishing nets.
Ahmed Diame, Greenpeace Africa Oceans campaigner, described what happened as an evidence that West Africa needs to strengthen its fisheries management.
“The region’s marine resources are being depleted at alarming rates, mainly due to too many boats competing for too few fish, and high rates of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” said Diame.
This ongoing activity, he further said, is a threat to millions of people in the region who depend on the oceans for their food.
In Sierra Leone, President Bio said his government will focus on establishing an enabling legal and regulatory environment to combat illegal fishing as well as implementing an effective and sustainable surveillance systems.
His administration, he said, will also take measures to promote the attractiveness of fish products to European Markets through training in basic hygiene practices and sanitary operating procedures, rehabilitating existing laboratories for improving fish quality and strengthening the capacity of the competent authorities to certify fish and fishery products for export.
At Funkia, a predominantly fishing community in the west of the capital Freetown, fishermen continue to complain about the decline of fish stock and how they feel threatened by the foreign vessels near shore areas affecting their trade.
Abdul Mansaray lamented that most days they would go out to fish and return without any catch to not only their displeasure but the many fish mongers who depend on them for their daily sales.
“The situation is becoming serious,” he noted, “we keep complaining about these foreign vessels and their bullying and illegal activities but nothing seems to be done by the authorities.”
Meanwhile, amongst his many promises, President Bio also said he will construct a fish harbor with solar-powered cold chain facilities as well as rehabilitate the already existing fish landing sites.
On the statement of the President, Abdul said they are hopeful that things will get better with the new government as they look forward to the full implementation of their plans for the fishing sector.
The new President had noted that retailing of fish products is largely the business of women, and accordingly his administration will facilitate micro-finance support for women engaged in fisheries.
Sierra Leone has an abundant fish resources with an Exclusive Economic Zone of over 155 km and a coastline of 560km.
According to a report by the World Bank, the sector employs an estimated 36,000 people, 30,000 of whom are artisanal fishermen,1000 industrial fishermen and about 5000 Inland/Aquaculture fisheries.
The fishing sector contributes almost 10 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
Our thanks to the folks at www.stopillegalfishing.com for the above online news.
New Maritime Boss Vows To Boost Sea Safety
The newly appointed Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration, Dr. Sarah F. Bendu has vowed to promote sea safety and regulate the maritime sector in accordance with the law.
Members of the Sierra Leone Parliament from both the opposition All People’s Congress and the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party and the National Grand Coalition hailed Dr. Bendu during her approval and they described as the pioneer of road safety in the transport sector.
Taking over as the new Maritime boss at colorful ceremony at the Maritime Headquarters, Government Wharf, Freetown Dr. Bendu said that safety precautions have always been her utmost concern and coming from road safety to sea safety makes her work easier.
“I am more committed to continue with the opportunities I have met here and I will improve on the weaknesses so that we can be able to move on the agenda of the President which is geared towards making Sierra Leone a better place for all. I thank God for giving me the chance and made the President to believe that I have what it takes to make that much desired change. My new job here is going to be a challenging one which I am willing to adapt to as time goes by and with your positive support we should always live by the words of our National Anthem which call for unity in every aspect of life”, Dr. Bendu said.
She promised to ensure the safety of all passengers plying the high seas and to see that all boats operating are in good working order. Doing this she said, requires the Maritime Traffic Regulators to be dedication and sacrifice in the enforcement of the law.
The outgoing Executive Director Dr. Alhaji Wuror Jalloh said that his fifteen years of service as Head of the Maritime Administration, has been a worthwhile experience as he was able to boost the human resource capacity from thirty three to two hundred and twenty two employees.
He described Dr. Bendu as a sister who is coming to continue the good work and legacy of a brother that is always willing to offer any assistance to a sector where he is well knowledgeable about.
He thanked the Maritime Traffic Regulators for instilling the laid down policies of the administration. He called on the new boss to look into the legislative angle such as conventions and other international laws governing the sea so that, they can be ratified in order for the Maritime Administration to be able to enforce laws on any international vessels when they flout them.
Mr. Jalloh admonished Dr. Bendu to have a good working relationship with the Sierra Leone Ports Authority, Ministry of Transport and Aviation, the Office of National Security and all stakeholders that are important in the day to day administration of SLMA and moreover, the workers she inherited as they have been instrumental during his term.
The incoming Board Chairman, Mr. Umaru Barly Dumbuya said that the symbolic handing over ceremony has been the best in recent times. He expressed his appreciation for having a person like Dr. Bendu who has much enthusiastic effort in achieving every set goal. He promised to use his international experience so that the best could be achieved towards promoting the maritime administration.
The Deputy Director of SLMA, Alpheus Cole said that receiving a result oriented woman like Dr. Bendu in any institution is a blessing. He gave a brief background about the formation of the SLMA in 2000 with the aim of protecting the maritime environment. He said that the Government Transition Team report gave the outgoing boss a good score which their incoming mother Dr. Bendu will be able to tap into and continue the aims and objectives of the Maritime Administration.
Our thanks to the Sierra Leone Global Times Newspaper for the above online news.
Government To Tackle Illegal Fishing
The Government of Sierra Leone has made a commitment towards the fight against illegal fishing which continues to cause sub-regional member states millions of United States dollars yearly.
Speaking over the weekend on behalf of His Excellency the President, Julius Maada Bio at the 20th Conference of Ministers of the Sub-Regional Fishing Commission (SRFC) at Bintumani hotel Aberdeen, Freetown the Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh called on member states of the SRFC to renew their efforts to tackle illegal fishing in the region and make the sector more attractive to investors.
Dr. Juldeh Jalloh said that the fishing sector in Sierra Leone contributes 20 percent of the GDP, adding that despite the importance of the marine fisheries in the economic development of the country, the sector is still below expected performance level to trigger the much needed economic development for the nation and that calls for collective proactive measures from member states to curb illegal fishing which has been an impediment for the growth of the sector.
The seven member countries; Sierra Leone, Guinea, The Gambia, Senegal, Cape Verde, Mauritania and Guinea Bissau, had a three days discussion on the challenges in the fishing sector and how they could overcome them together.
“We hope with renewed effort of the SRFC and the concerted action from individual countries coupled with support from donor and technical partners, we should be in a better position to adequately address these issues to enable us build a solid basis for the emergence of a prosperous blue economy. This underscores the importance of this nature of meetings that provide the spaces to discuss Strategic Plans geared towards strengthening the governance of the sector in all its facets including environment aspects as well” V.P Jalloh said
Dr. Jalloh referred to the fishing sector as an opportunity where government can increase revenue as well as an outlet for job creation and they as government are ready to invest resources in strengthening strategic partnership with sister countries and development partners to put fishing governance on a sound footing.
“I want to encourage you to expand that opportunity. We are in this together and we believe together we can shape our common future to build a viable fishing platform in the region”, he added.
Welcoming the guests, the First Lady of Sierra Leone, Mrs. Fatima Bio called on investors to support the government in improving the fish sector which also provides the cheapest nutrition.
The Cape Verdean incoming Chairman of the conference of Ministers of the SRFC, Mr. Julio Herbert Lopes said that the fisheries sector and maritime economy face new challenges that need common approach to increase their resilience in tackling the issues in the fishing sector. Mr. Lopes emphasizes on the need for good management with a vision and strategy that would create new mechanisms in safeguarding the marine resources. “Considering the changes in our international transaction plan, there is a need to strengthen our synergy and demand requirement”, he said.
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Mrs. Emma Kowa Jalloh said that fishery sector is key under the New Direction developmental programs and that is why the government has put a premium on fisheries, to help develop the country.
the outgoing Chairman of the Conference of Ministers of the SRFC, , Mr. Fredrick Loua, who doubles as the Minister of Fisheries Aquaculture and Maritime Economy of Guinea, thanked FAO, World Bank and other organizations for supporting their fishing sector at a time when the sector was going through unprecedented number of crisis in the past.
Our thanks to the Sierra Leone Global Times Newspaper for the above online news.
Sierra Leone Hosts Sub Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC)
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources yesterday hosted the 19th Ordinary Session of the Coordinating Committee of the Sub Regional Fisheries Commission at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown.
The meeting brought together seven countries; Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone to look into how they can promote the objectives of the SRFC members in the fishery sector.
Chairing the program, the Deputy Minister of Information, Solomon Jamiru said that having a forty eight hours meeting with regional members to discuss successes and challenges in the fishery sector is paramount towards the generation of revenue in order to boost the GDP of sub region member countries.
He thanked the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Mrs. Emma Kowa-Jalloh for her effort to generate the sum of forty eight Billion Leones in a short period of time which has added more pride to the feathers of the President’s cap.
The Director of Fisheries, Mrs. Kadijatu Jalloh said that with all the challenges, the SRFC was able to tackle illegal fishing in some aspect, conduct a joint research on migrant fishermen, and promote the course of member states.
The outgoing Chairman who is a Guinean, Amara Kamara Kaba said that the SRFC has been instrumental in handling disputes among member states through safety and security levels.
He expressed his appreciation for the level of regional support from member countries at a time when things were not favorable for his chairmanship.
The incoming Cape Verde Chairman of SRFC, Carlos Evora Rocha said since 1986 when the SRFC was set up, they have been facing lots of challenges in the harmonization of policies and laws to ensure that the fish resources from member states are managed well for all.
He reechoed his commitment to improve on the IUU monitoring, surveillance, training of sub-regional team and the implementation of scientific research to ensure the standard of the SRFC member states.
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Mrs. Emma Kowa Jalloh said that over the years, diamond used to be the only known mineral for Sierra Leone but now the fishery sector has added another value and created a revenue base for the growth of countries Gross Domestic Products.
The Minister said that she is optimistic that the outcome of the session will see the formation and implementation of strong pillars that will push for the success of the SRFC forward.
Members of the SRFC are expected to discuss and approve a five year master plan which aims to address the challenges of the SRFC. The meeting will be climaxed on the 27th by the Conference of Ministers 20TH Ordinary Session.
Our thanks to the Sierra Leone Global Times Newspaper for the above online news.