March 10, 2020
By Frederick V. Kanneh
Newly appointed Chairman of the Sierra Leone Timber Association, Alhaji Bah, has in a meeting held at Hastings Air Field assured timber workers and investors across the country of sanity in timber trade under his administration.
In his keynote address, Chairman Bah said he was aware of certain activities taking place in the timber sector that have the tendency to bringing the name of their association into disrepute.
He said that among other things, he was aware that labourers have raised concern over the price for loading and offloading of timber containers and trucks.
He also added that he was aware of the urgent need of functional clinics at the different sites, where first aid treatment will be given to workers in case of any accident while carrying out their duties.
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“My administration will from now to next week Monday engage all the investors in the timber sector in order to reach an agreement that will increase prices for loading and offloading of timber from trucks and containers. Plans are on the way to have clinics for first aid treatments, so I want all of you to stay focused on your duties as your welfare is my almost priority,” he said.
However, Alhaji Bah condemned the act of looking investors as strangers and the urge by some youth to steal from them during transaction, adding that his administration will fall heavily on anyone caught in the said act.
He stated that the relationship that should exist between investors and workers should be that of win-win, but not the ones that have the tendency of scaring them away.
He continued that his administration was in full cooperation with the Chief Executive Officer of the Lead Way Trading Company, Babadie Kamara, because it was only under his mandate as licensed agent that timber trade has taken place for more than four months consecutively without any ban.
“Thousands of people do survive through this trade. Even the government benefits from taxes paid by the licensed agent. If that is the case, then, we should take it seriously,” he said.
Chairlady of the association, Haja Saffie Konneh, said the association under the leadership of Alhaji Bah will give utmost priority to tree planting.
She added that since the slogan for their association says, “cut one plant ten”, they were ready to taking the lead to make sure that trees were not only cut, but should also be planted.
“We want to be the ones that will be given the contract to plant trees because we do the cutting, so we know exactly where to plant,” she said.
She also stated that harvesters of timber across the country have on several occasions expressed their dismay against the past leadership of timber association for allowing Chinese nationals to go into the bushes as harvesters.
The founding father and national coordinator of Sierra Leone timber association, Alhaji Alpha Konneh, assured all workers in the meeting that timber trade would be a win –win business.
He added that the association will always stand for unity in the timber trade, and that they were ready to work in the interest of the country.