January 10, 2018 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Mayoral candidate for the National Grand Coalition has vowed to transform the city of Freetown into an industrial area, where job opportunities will be provided with some areas rehabilitated.
Samuel Itam was selected two weeks ago to represent the party as mayoral candidate in the March 7th, 2018 election.
Mr. Itam had told Concord Times that he would use his first 100 days in office to examine systems and institutions that are not working, in a bid to strengthen them.
“Systems and institutions have not been strengthened enough because they have not been equipped sufficiently to provide the services that people so badly needed,” he said.
He stated that when he shall have been voted in as Mayor of the Freetown City Council (FCC), he would ensure that everything they embark on as council would be sustainable, “because people need to see that projects are consistent, good and will last over time.
“I envisage that within a couple of years under my tenure, we will have pretty much clear idea of where we want to go as a city. We want to make Freetown an industrious place, expand and provide job opportunities, rehabilitate areas so that it becomes a place to live in and prosper, strive and not one to suffer,” he said.
Because between 20 and 25 percent of the total population are petty traders, hje spoke about his intension to dialogue with them regularly to know their constraints in a bid to solve them.
He added that engagement will also be done to educate traders as to why they should not trade in certain parts of the country, with alternatives suggested.
According to him, if the right, quality and efficient services are delivered on a timely basis, people of the municipality would see reason to pay their taxes, as well as have confidence in what the council does.
“The Freetown City Council has no reason to be poor. People are not paying what they are supposed to pay for services rendered,” he added.
Asked as to why he left his well-paid job at the IMF to join politics, the season economist stated that he had resigned his job since 2007 as a result of the urge by late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to serve.
“Actually, l left my job in 2007 because of the urge then by late President Kabbah to serve. I don’t regret leaving my job at the IMF. I am completely retired and ready now to serve my country. I have seen what is going on in Freetown and believe I could do something, which is why I decided to enter the ring,” he said.
“For the institutions that are weak, I am going to make sure that they are strengthened, those that are broken; we repair them and those fit for modern city, we establish them. We will work together to equip them fully to deliver the good we want.”
He boasted that his chances are clear and that: “I believe I will win despite me entering the race for the first time against the two dominant political parties. People see me as someone who wants to change things and not reap them of their money and resources.
As a season economist, Mr. Itam has a wealth of experience- both nationally and internationally, having worked in various areas, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where he served and rose to the rank of a member of the board of Directors, supervising twenty African countries, including Sierra Leone.
He was born on February 17, 1952, and obtained his Bachelor of Science in Economics at the Queen Mary College, University of London in 1974 and a Master of Science in Economics at the London School of Economics in 1975.
He then joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington in 1975, serving in various capacities as: Economist – African and Asian Department; IMF Country Resident Representative in Bangladesh; Senior Economist; and Deputy Division Chief for South-East Asia & Pacific Department. He resigned in 2007.
Samuel Itam is a member of the Royal Economics Society, United Kingdom, as well as a member of the American Economic Association.