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Opposition lawmaker urges revival of Rokel Commercial Bank

December 6, 2018

By Jariatu S Bangura

Lawmaker representing the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC), who doubles as member of the Appointment and Public Service has on Tuesday, 4th December, urged the newly approved Board Chairman of the Rokel Commercial Bank (RCB), Buffy Bailor, to revive the potential of the bank as a state owned institution.

“Rokel Commercial Bank is one of the state owned banks and according to the Minister of Finance, the bank is a potential profit making institution. I do believe that the reason for your appointment is to make the difference. Make sure that the potential of that bank be revived at the shortest possible time, give life to it” Hon. Daniel B. Koroma urged.

Hon. Koroma maintained that the potential of the bank was being killed by the current management and urged the Finance Chairman in Parliament to summon senior officials of RCB within the shortest possible time to give detail report on it status and to find ways on how to revive its name.

Hon. Koroma of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) said while quoting the Minister of Finance that, out of the 15 state owned enterprises, only 5 are making profit for the country.

“Another thing that baffles me also is that, Union Trust Bank is operating on a manual basis and is making huge profit, whilst Rokel Commercial bank is operating digital but cannot make profit for its people,” he observed.

He commended the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank for doing well but urged that the same be done at Rokel Commercial Bank.

He also urged the nominee going to National Mineral Agency (NMA) to make sure that the processing of secondary production of the country’s minerals be done in the country so as to add value to it.

“Iron ore and rutile are taken from this country and a little is given back to us, which is making us poorer every day. NMA needs to do more to make sure that these minerals are processed in the country. I am also urging the president to give more powers to NMA,” he said.

Hon. Koroma also urged board members going to the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) that the current rate of the top-up cards and data bundles from all the mobile companies be the same as in Liberia.

“I am urging you all that in the next one year, ensure that the prices are reasonable. We are tired of suffering from these mobile companies. I am citing Liberia as an example because it is part of the Mano River Union, so is our country and theirs is 500% low than ours,” he said.

Hon. Koroma noted that if they fail to stabilise the prices of the top-up cards, parliament will take stringent actions against them and the Chairman of NATCOM.

On his part, opposition Whip, Hon. Hassan A. Sesay, said the nominees should know that they should work for the interest of the country and not for self.

He said the interest rate at commercial banks must be looked into if the country wanted to stimulate growth, thus noting that there was need for banks to think of reducing the rate.

“Let us have more encouragement on loans. Excessive rate of interest are levied on the private sector, and we need to encourage them. The banks need to create an enabling environment for the people to have access to loans with lesser interest,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Appointment committee and Leader of Government Business, Hon. Sidie Tunis, said all the nominees were qualified and expressed confident that they will perform as expected by the president.

He assured that the new chairman of the Rokel Commercial Bank is a highly qualified individual and do hope that in the next three months, he will effect change at the bank.

Speaker of Parliament, Abass Chernor Bundu, said they have no doubt that the nominees will make the difference once they were approved, thus urging the Chairman of RCB to take the necessary actions to revive the institution.

The other nominees that were approved include: Ms. Yeama Sarah Thompson, and Biah Yormah Idriss to serve as Commissioners- Right to Access Information Commission.

Meanwhile, Hon. Jusufu Barry Mansaray, Joseph Abass Sannoh, Paul Square and Robert Kondema Kargbo  were approved as board members of the National Telecommunications Commission.

Alphan Tejan Kella was approved as Pharmaceutical Specialist- National Medical Supplies Agency, while Alhassan Kamara was approved to serve as Civil Society Representative at the National Medical Supplies Agency.

Robert Sheku Abdullah was approved as board member -Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and Sahr Foh Matturi to serve as board member-National Minerals Agency.