September 19, 2018
A delegation comprising lawmakers from Britain visited President Julius Maada Bio yesterday at State House, where they commended him on his initial steps since he was elected President in April this year.
Head of delegation, Honourable John Mann, said as lawmakers they were impressed with the astute leadership qualities already shown by President Bio, noting that the new government was on the right path, especially in the area of education and as well expressed optimism for improvement in other sectors.
“We are aware of your free quality education, which is a laudable venture, and we anticipate that there will be development in other sectors as well. We are delighted about your democratic values and how our two parliaments have cooperated. We recognise the significance of democracy here and the closed tie between our two countries,” remarked Hon. Mann.
The British lawmaker also congratulated President Bio on his victory in an election he described as democratic and credible, adding that his victory showed was indicative of how far the country has developed democratically. Man stated that the British parliament was delighted with the strengthening of cooperation with their Sierra Leonean counterparts.
Another member of the delegation, Angela Rayner, MP, also praised President Bio for his leadership style and what he has achieved so far. “We are very impressed and excited to see what you have done,” said the female MP. As the UK Opposition Spokesperson for Education, she commended President Bio for his vision on free education.
On his part, President Bio thanked delegation for their visit to the country. He said the composition of the present parliament was a strange one but that his government has adapted quickly because of its level of inclusion. He assured of his determination to work with the opposition for the betterment of the country, noting that the new government was fully committed to peace, democracy and inclusive governance.
President Bio disclosed that his government inherited a nearly bankrupt economy which is rendering the development process very challenging and that he had to institute tough revenue generation drives, one of which was the single treasury account, which he added has helped support government’s priority programmes.
“Despite the poor economic climate we inherited, we have been able to start our major programmes through robust revenue generation. As a nation, we want to lay a solid foundation that will enable sustainable development. In doing so, we have figured out education as our flagship programme because we want our citizens to be part of the development process and that is why we are providing free and quality education for our kids,” he said. President Bio also expressed his commitment to economic diversification and to addressing other social challenges.
Also, President Bio spoke tough on addressing democratic accountability and fighting corruption. He said that corruption was very pervasive, and that it was depriving ordinary people of basic amenities. He said that his government was using the rule of law to hold people to account and nobody would be victimised unduly, adding: “We have to address corruption and I am very committed to doing that”.
Meanwhile, President Bio reiterated his commitment to the fight graft following the ranting comments by of a relatively unknown UK MP Neil Coyle in a series of actions observed say are geared toward smearing Sierra Leone and the new government.