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Kingho Railway and Port Lease Agreement ratified

May 12, 2021

By Jariatu S. Jusu

Members of Parliament yesterday unanimously ratified the Railway and Port Lease Agreement signed between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Kingho Railway and Port Company Limited.

According to the Minister of Mines and Minerals Resources, Timothy M. Kabbah, the agreement will create job opportunities for Sierra Leoneans, while the labour laws will strongly be considered, as they will be working together with the Ministry of Labour to monitor the process so that the laws would not  be flouted.

He said the duty waiver for the mining company will still remain as there have been no changes in the law, adding that the infrastructure of the railway was constructed with 25% share from Africa Minerals.

He stated that the Mines and Minerals Act gives the Minister the sole right to cancel the mineral rights and indicate to the investor to give an inventory of the machinery and fix assets, and, as well, suggest the way the government and the company choose to dispose of their asset.

He reiterated that there has been no existing law that covers the rail and port hence it was good that the Chinese and the Government of Sierra Leone were able to acquire those assets at Port Loko.

He expressed his sentiment to the investors and all those that were involved in the agreement for the construction of the railway before the legislation of the mining law.

He added that the new agreement will give lot of opportunities to other sectors to make use of the infrastructure with a wider diversification of the economy.

He opined that the Government of Sierra Leone did not cancel the Shangdon’s mining license, rather it was Shangdon that indicated that they were going for administration due to the recession in the iron ore price.

Opposition All People’s Congress Leader in Parliament, Hon. Chernoh R M Bah, commended the minister for negotiating good agreement on behalf of the people of the country, but stated that there were no rails between Feregbenya and Pepel.

He said there was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Government of Sierra Leone and Shangdon, hence parliament should make request for such to be sent to them for a re-look since they are the custodians of enacting laws and ratifying agreements on behalf of the people.

He agreed that the agreement between Africa Minerals and the Government of Sierra Leone was monopolistic, but noted that there was a condition which they were encouraged to go by-to construct the railway from Feregbenya to Pepel.

He said it was fortunate now that the issue of signing an agreement for the railway has been reverted to the government for corrections to be made. 

Leader of Government Business, Hon. Matthew S. Nyuma, commended the ministry for trying to kill the power of monopoly in the mining sector and also the safety measures put in place for  local employees.

He said there were good measures already in place to address several issues for the benefit of Sierra Leoneans, noting that it was good for the rail and Port agreement to be purely based in West Africa rather than China or Europe as done in other cases.

“It is good that producers, traders and agricultural activities would be given the opportunity to be involved as it will help the people living within the operational site of the delivery points. It is also good that the maintenance work is being given to the licensee as we in this country lack maintenance culture,” he said.

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