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As Economic Development Ministry continues its nationwide engagements…

Port Loko Embrace Mid-Term National Development Plan 

September 10, 2020

By Amara Alpha: Strategic Communications Unit, Ministry of Information and Communications 

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The Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) on 7th September 2020 concluded its decentralization of ownership of the Medium Term National Development Plan exercise in Port Loko district. 

In her opening remarks, the Resident Minister North-West who  doubled as chairperson of the occasion, Haja Isata Abdulai Kamara, described the event as historic, saying it was the first time the people in that part of the country were actively involved in putting together the country’s development plan. 

She catalogued some of the development strides of the New Direction administration of President Bio in just two years including the Free Quality Education which every Sierra Leonean irrespective of political affiliation benefits from, improved electricity and water supply, national cleaning exercise, car wash, fisheries, agriculture, entrepreneurship, internship and other programs geared towards job creation for young people, salaries for Mayors and  Chairmen of Councils,  salary increase for Paramount Chiefs and teachers, recruitment of 3000 medical personnel,  5000 teachers,  1,000 police personnel, 300 female soldiers, etc. She noted that Port Loko is rising under the New Direction of President Bio. 

Minister of Youth Affairs, Mohamed Orman Bangura, spoke on Cluster 6 of the Medium Term National Development Plan which caters for the young people of Sierra Leone, adding that most of them are currently benefitting from technical training with support from UNDP through the Ministry of Youth Affairs while 70 boats are being constructed by his Ministry to create jobs for 1400 young people in coastal/riverine communities as others working in Youth Farms across the country continue to enjoy support from government. 

Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, stated that having missed out on three industrial revolutions, President Bio is insistent that as a country we do not miss the fourth Industrial revolution – digitalization – that is why the Ministry of Information and Communications is working assiduously to ensure that all Sierra Leoneans enjoy good quality internet service in the four corners of the country, citing Cluster 3. 5 of the Mid-Term National Development Plan that talks about enhancing competitiveness locally and internationally. 

According to the Information Minister, when President Bio was addressing Parliament he mentioned the E- Governance system that will enhance efficiency in service delivery. He pledged to provide internet connectivity to strategic places in Port Loko and other provincial headquarter towns. 

“I want to talk about the SLBC because the last time I visited Port Loko I was informed that it was not properly functioning. SLBC is now on satellite link which puts it on a better footing and we are now getting praises from all over the world for a job well done.  President Bio’s government is committed to improving communications in every inch of the country,” he assured. 

Madam Manty Tawallay, the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs reiterated President Bio’s determination to fight rape and SGBV (Sexual and Gender Based Violence) in order to protect women and girls in the country. 

“Men should take greater responsibility of their children and early marriage must stop in our various communities,” she implored, adding that there are now One Stop Centres in Government Hospitals in six districts to help victims of SGBV while Sexual Offences Courts have been set up to expeditiously try rape cases to give justice to victims. “We also have the 116 free line for victims to reach out to service providers for help.” 

In his keynote address, the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr Francis Kaikai, thanked colleague Ministers for gracing the occasion and doing a good job in their respective ministries. 

“We are moving around the country because we want our people to understand and own the Medium Term National Development Plan as well as the developmental strides President Bio’s government has made in the past two years,” Dr Francis Kaikai explained, underlining that President Bio believes in the process and that planning is very necessary and budget fixing should be decentralized. 

He urged his audience to own and be actively involved in the implementation, coordination and monitoring of the Plan, and appreciated the efforts of committee members in Parliament for their hard work while reminding other sectors that this is the year of delivery of the New Direction government. 

Dr Kaikai also used the occasion to stress the importance of the upcoming Mid-Term Census, emphasizing that citizens participation in the process is very necessary.  

Other Ministers, Paramount Chiefs, Civil Society Organizations,  Youth Leaders, MPs all made meaningful contributions. 

The launch of the Mid-Term National Development Plan which Port Loko stakeholders declared to own climaxed the occasion.