April 8, 2019
By Jariatu S Bangura
Members of the Information and Communications Committee have demanded the swift uplifting of the Sierra Leone Postal Services (SALPOST), Sierra Leone Telecommunications Limited (SIERRATEL) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) for the development of the country’s communications and postal services.
The lawmakers observed that the Sierra Leone Postal Service was going down the drain all in the name of privatization, with nothing tangible being done since the National Commission for Privatization took charge of it.
One of the members of the committee, Hon. Veronica K. Sesay, stated that SIERATEL, SALPOST and NATCOM are national companies and that they should not be neglected.
“SALPOST is gradually falling and pupils can no longer get any information about it. DHL is now booming than the Sierra Leone Postal Services and we continue to pay them with tax payers money. Post offices in the province are there, but not functional. They are dying and you need to go and do thorough check so that the facilities will be viable for use. The issue of cybercrime is a cause for concern and women are mostly being targeted ,” she said.
Hon. Hassan A. Sesay said all the plans by the Ministry of Information were positive, but that the committee would have to cross check all information provided and conduct oversight.
He said digitalizing the postal services was far left behind as time was no longer enough for the ministry to do such.
Deputy Opposition Leader, Hon. Ibrahim Been Kargbo, said SALPOST needed a robust action for it to be revitalized rather than it being privatized.
Also, Hon. Kathrine Zainab Tarawally said a few month ago, the postal services office in Makeni was renovated, but that the landlord requested for his payment and that was yet to be ascertained as to whether the payment has been done.
She said the mobile phones of SIERRATEL were nothing, but mere carcasses as they were of no use as at now.
In his response, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Augustine Sheku, said they were currently working on the indebtedness of SALPOST to all it landlords and also on the verge of removing it from the list of the National Commission for Privatization.
He said they wanted to transform the postal services to a better one and that they were also working on decentralising it to the provinces.