By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Head of Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility at Orange Sierra Leone, Kamal O.S Abass, has told journalists that within the period of 2017 to 2022, the company paid over Le285 billion old Leones tax to the government.
He further disclosed that they have spent over Le17 billion old Leones on the corporate social responsibility with the six years period they have spent in the country.
“Orange has been present in Sierra Leone for only six years, yet it has already stamped its CSR footprints across the country with an ambition to drive socio-economic development. We have launched the Orange Foundation under 3 Pillars namely Health, Education and Culture. In the last five years, our total tax contribution has amounted SLE 284 Billion and while our CSR contribution amounted to SLE 17 Billion,” he disclosed.
He was speaking during his presentation at their quarterly media engagement that was held at their Hill Station head office in Freetown.
He presented that Orange Sierra Leone is one of the leading telecommunications operators and service providers in Sierra Leone with over 373 employees across the country as at 31st December 2022, noting that Orange Sierra Leone was the first telecoms company to incorporate a mobile financial services company, Orange Mobile Finance (SL) Limited.
He said they also incorporated the Orange Foundation in 2019, which is dedicated towards meeting the socio- economic needs of the society in which it operates, stating that the strategic objective of the Orange Sierra Leone is to become responsible Corporate Social Investor, guided by their Corporate, social, and environmental commitments.
He re-echoed that Orange Telecom stance on fraud is inevitable and that by harnessing a zero tolerance to fraud, a company is more likely to prevent its occurrence.
He said zero tolerance to fraud is a culture that comes from the top and exists throughout Orange as an organisation and that it was designed to tell their employees and those doing business with them that they uphold the highest ethical standards and that nothing less can be tolerated.
He said Orange Telecom is committed to protecting the environment and that they acknowledge the potential environmental impact their operations may have on the environment, stating that the purpose of their environmental programs is to ensure reduction of their carbon footprint, environmental compliance and ensure protection of the environment.
He said the business needs are primarily to contribute towards achieving the group’s ambition of Net Zero Carbon by 2040 and to ensure compliance to environmental laws, national and international standards relating to the environment.
He said in 2022, their CSR and Foundation contribution amounted to NLe 12milion and that they remain proud of the positive social impact they are making in the communities within which they operate.
He said their work can be apparently be seen from their CSR activities across the country and that they continue to give value to their communities with the aim of generating a positive impact as part of their social responsibility to lead the future.
Also presenting, Memunatu Sesay at Orange Foundation Department, said the foundation officially kicked off the second phase of the digital school kits project, in which they provided 25 tablets, 1 raspberry p, 1 laptop and more to primary schools in Sierra Leone.
She said they previously rolled out to ten Freetown primary schools in 2022 and have kicked off the donation again in 2023 , and a total of five schools have received the donated kits and a further three will get theirs as part of Orange customer perception rollout.
She vowed that they will continue to cater for the less privileged and offer digital solutions to societal problems.
She said through Its philanthropy wing, the Orange Foundation in March launched their 6th ultra- modern FQE ECD School construction by Turning of the Sod at Sarguehun Town, Imperri Chiefdom, Pujehun District, Southern Region under the distinguished patronage of President Julius Maada Bio, who symbolically did the turning of the sod alongside the CEO of Orange SL, the Hon. Ministers of Basic Education, Minister of Information and other high level government officials.
She continued that, the ECD Schools Orange Foundation is constructing across the country to provide foundational/nursery learnings for kids between the ages of 2-4+ years and as education, is part of their core pillars and that Orange SL Foundation will continue to positively impact the lives of their vulnerable people and communities.
Edward Kamara from Orange Network Department, said Orange continues to invest in Sierra Leone to contribute significantly towards the economic development of the country and as a result, they have commenced the deployment of their 200km underground fiber from Freetown to Bo to link key nodes from their data Centre in Freetown to their Bo data center with an approximated value of about 20 million Euros.
He said their fiber will serve as an additional redundancy to the national terrestrial fiber and that they embarked on the project to deploy underground fiber to ensure reliability and security and ensure the standard of QOS to their Customers.
President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasralla said Orange has played and continues to play greater role in the development of journalism in the country in the last five years, especially in the area of education and financial assistance.
He said the relationship between Orange and the media has come a long way with mutual respect and understanding.
He said orange has supported journalists educationally by giving out scholarships to journalists to study masters and PhD programs at FBC.
He said to ensure SLAJ do fact checking and provides credible information during the elections, Orange has provided SLAJ with free unlimited internet access, noting that Orange has helped lots of media house with advert that and other assistance.