November 20, 2017 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Presidential aspirant for the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) past Saturday engaged civil society activists, development partners, the media and diplomatic community on his national police agenda titled: “The New Direction: Policies to Address Critical Development Challenges in Sierra Leone.”
The forum was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Freetown, where the SLPP presidential hopeful, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, highlighted key priority areas of his government, if elected as president.
He said the policy dialogue was tailored around improving the standard of living of Sierra Leoneans amidst development challenges which have besieged the country for decades, adding that the forum was an interactive platform for him to share with his audience critical development challenges facing Sierra Leone and how he intends to address them as president.
“This forum is not about the SLPP manifesto but rather an opportunity for us to interact with critical minds so that they can contribute to this document. We will take this exercise to different levels so at the end of the day it will serve as a working document for my government. The SLPP has enormous respect for education reforms in the country, and if elected president I will re-define the education of this country,” he said.
He spoke on a possible reform at the University of Sierra Leone and its constituent colleges, mainly in the area of organisation and governance, promoting accountability and monitoring standards, reforming the curriculum, providing services to students, re-thinking funding, and orienting higher education to national development priority areas.
Mr. Bio further promised to provide quality universal primary and secondary education to strengthen the human resource base of the country.
“In an SLPP government, issues around youth employment, management and utilisation of natural resources, human capital development, eliminating hunger, fighting corruption and improving accountability, healthcare, agriculture, infrastructure are key priority areas for sustainable development of our country. It is not enough to employ youth in political offices but rather it is significant to create an enabling environment where they will have access to their needs and create more jobs. We will not only provide free education for school going children but also provide reformed and reliable healthcare services that will cater for lactating mothers, school going children and the aged,” he said.
He concluded that his government would review the Mines and Mineral Act of 2010 and revisit mining contracts to the best of international standards for the benefit of Sierra Leoneans.