July 16, 2018
By Rachel Horner
After ten years of excruciating financial pain and reckless management of the economy, Sierra Leoneans woke up with new dreams filled with bright hopes on April 4, 2018, when His Excellency Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio was declared President of Sierra Leone and duly sworn in. From afar you could hear the joyful sign of relief at the splendid swearing in ceremony at the plush Radisson Blue Hotel.
As we settle down for the first 100 days of President Bio, let us review the work his government has accomplished:
Economy and Revenue mobilization
President Maada Bio started with an executive order which enhanced the full operation of a Treasury Single Account (TSA). All monies collected were instructed to be in a single account to prevent loss of revenue. Today, the revenue mobilization drive has increased from Le 6.5bn to Le 20bn per day! This enabled government to pay monthly salaries and other public expenses without overdraft. The New Direction adopted a prudent fiscal and monetary policy and stabilized expenditure.
The new administration also issued an executive order banning luxurious travels, fancy workshops, and unnecessary expenses thereby saving the tax payers billions of Leones.
Hope is back! The declaration of Free and compulsory Education in Sierra Leone up to senior secondary received loud applause. This September, the New Direction will welcome hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leoneans in schools across the country for free.
The SLPP New Direction has also eliminated application fees in all public universities and colleges. On this, the government estimates to spend Le 5.6bn
Health and Sanitation
President Maada Bio has enhanced the Free Healthcare. And putting plugs on leakages, improved service delivery is now the hallmark in all public health centers across the country.
The return of the national cleaning exercise is a major accomplishment. Freetown and other cities face several health hazards. The outbreak of Ebola and frequent cholera epidemic in the past taught us to clean and keep our environment safe. It might be expensive to clean but beneficial to live in a healthy and clean environment.
Fight Against Corruption
The fight against corruption is not a political witch-hunt. It must be supported and carried out as a legitimate crusade. President Maada Bio pledged to fight corruption and close the leakages. The Governance Transition Team (GTT) report has set the stage for a better conversation in the fight against corruption.
The appointment of new Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) boss is indicative that President Bio’s is desirous of fighting graft with tenacity.
He has also sanctioned reforms within key state institutions such as office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, NASSIT, NRA Police, RSLAF, ONS, etc.
Administration and Foreign relations
Within three months, he formed a full cabinent and made other appointments. So far, his appointees are the best we have seen.
Unlike former President Koroma who was locked in Sierra Leone for the first two months, President Maada Bio had a good start in his foreign relations. He met the Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, the Qatari leader, President Buhari, and has made diplomatic shuttles to Senegal, Guinea and Liberia. He has also assumed the Chairmanship of the C-10 (Community of 10 in the reformation of UN Security council on behalf of Africa).
Energy and Power
With a rocky start due to a reckless contract signed by the former government, President Maada Bio negotiated a better deal with Turkish Powership for robust electricity supply to the nation’s capital, Freetown.
He placed a temporary ban on the export of timber and made reforms which later allowed government to have better export opportunities.
Although there are few challenges, the new administration is poised to overcome them and make life better for Sierra Leoneans.
The New Direction is making things happens.
Wake up my people! The New Direction will transform Salone from abysmal darkness to transcendental light!