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Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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The week that was with Alfred Koroma

 It’s a new week. Since we don’t know all that’s going to happen in this week, we clearly have some sense of what happened last week.

Sierra Leone Parliament was again on the headlines for all the wrong reasons. An outrageous bill proposing salary increment for Members of Parliament; 40 thousand dollars vehicle and medical allowance leaked out to the public.

 One month salary recess allowance for MPs and opportunity for them to fly on business class for all international travels together with Le 250,000  sitting allowance per each sitting are all part of MPs demand in the bill, dubbed as ‘Parliamentary Welfare Act, 2022.

 But after a striking public criticism, the legislative House issued a press release distancing itself from the dark and dystopian Bill.

Civil Society Organization, Campaign for Human Rights Development International (CHRDI) described the proposed Welfare Bill as ‘disgraceful’ and a total disregard to the majority of Sierra Leoneans; further defining MPs demand as lack of respect and honesty to the voters. The organization reiterates its stance against the bill, calling on Parliament to withdraw the proposal with immediate effect in the interest of the public. You can read more on this on our website.

As anticipated, fuel price shoots up again

From the sad Leone Stars’ defeat on Thursday evening, citizens bust into another mind-boggling news of the fuel increment. As global oil prices keep skyrocketing with a declining supply, fuel pump price hits Le18, 000 per liter in Sierra Leone.

The pump price has increased from Le15, 000 direct to Le18, 000; immediately affecting a further hike in public transportation fare. PRA blames the price hike on international factors which include refined products at a predetermined price set at Global Market and cost of importation; shipping cost and premium.

The increase in the price of the petroleum product has occurred amidst stagnant salaries of workers, rising inflation and high cost of living in the country. This is expected to mount more pressure on the Government that came to power on a whirlwind promise but almost becoming unpopular as a result of too much   hardship inflicted on citizens by the global economic crisis.

Still on Mid-Term Census reactions:  CSO slams politicization of the census; FCC doubts accuracy of the result

In a press conference on Monday last week, Human Rights Defenders Network (HRDN-SL) told journalist that linking the census to elections is not in the interest of the security and development of the country, totally condemning the politicization of the Mid-Term Census provisional result.

The Mid-Term Census, conducted to address the challenges of the 2015 census and generate credible population and housing data midway between 2015 and 2025, encountered series of challenges during the data collection process. World Bank withdrew its technical and financial support and opposition political parties’ called on their supporters to boycott the process, making the country’s first Mid-Term Census unpopular.

However, HRDN-SL commends the work done by Statistic Sierra Leone for providing what it referred to as a ‘detailed picture/data of social and living conditions of Sierra Leone’ and largely blamed the outcome of the Census on the bad politics practiced in the country.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Freetown City Council (FCC), Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr has written the Statistician General, expressing deep concern over the accuracy of the Census provisional result, backing her doubt with data inconsistent with the Mid-Term census result.

The provisional result of the census indicates that the population of the capital city, Freetown (Western Area Urban), has decreased by 42.5% from 1,055,964 in 2015 to 606,701 in 2021.

 “As the Mayor of Freetown, I am extremely concerned about the accuracy of this data and the significant additional development challenges that would result from the adoption of inaccurate data in respect of Freetown’s population,” Aki-Sawyerr said, calling on Statistics Sierra Leone to urgently review the provisional results of the census for Freetown.

But Statistics says the first ever digital mid-term population and housing census covered a significant landscape of the entire country. More on this was published on Concord Times’ Tuesday and Thursday editions.

President Bio’s Kenyan state visit

On his visit to Kenya, President Bio signed bilateral agreements with the Kenyan Government on range of issues to help the country address its social problems and boost up international relations with Kenya. He signed a Defence bilateral agreement for security and Defence Corporation which includes exchange and training of military personnel, cooperation on joint defence productions as well as increased technology transfer. The Information attaché to the Sierra Leone High Commission in Kenya, A.B Dakowa wrote more on this story.

The agreement will also seek opportunity for the emergence of youth-focused cooperatives, political and diplomatic consultations, wildlife conservation and tourism development, pooled purchasing systems to aggregate demand and lower costs of trade through economic scale, Dakowa wrote.

Also in this roundup, a crowd of protesters converged in front of Sierra Leone main electricity building on Friday morning in protest against the consistent power cut in the capital city. The angry protesters stood in front of the building for some minutes chanting in chorus ‘we want light; we want light. We tire wit blackout’

The protesters are from the Sumaila Town. The community is reported to have gone a month without electricity supply from EDSA. Prior to the day of their protest, the angry residents spoke to Sky Times Newspaper, expressing dissatisfaction over the failure of EDSA to supply them electricity.

One of the residents, Mohamed Mansaray, a welder told Sky Times that lack of electricity has affected his welding business, putting strain on his family.

Even as I type these lines, I do so with power supply from my office generator. Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone is in constant blackout. The problem of inadequate electricity distribution remains constant since the beginning of this year. Sumaila Town is not alone in the crisis. Many communities in the city go days, sometimes weeks without electricity supply.

To put things in perspective, we must bring the past to the present. This is why the week that was exists to re-update your memory about the previous week as we begin another one.  This page previously known as ‘Last Week Roundup’ has now been changed to the week that was.

That’s all we have for today. See you next week Monday for another edition on the same page.

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