Information Directorate, Youyi Building, Freetown - The Ministry of Information and Communications has held its first weekly press conference under the New Direction at the Ministry’s conference room, on Thursday 31st May, 2018. Affirming the ministry’s position as the official machinery to inform, educate and entertain the public, the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Solomon Jamiru Esq pointed out that President Bio was elected by the people of this nation under the platform of new direction, which offers hope, trust and goodwill for a prosperous Sierra Leone.
He threw insight on the President’s address to Parliament, citing that this will serve as a roadmap for good governance, disciplined leadership, professionalism and delivery. He made mention of the Executive Orders, some of which have already been executed. These include the suspension of duty wavers, except those falling under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Missions; the regularization of the single treasury account in conformity with the Fiscal Management and Control Act 2017; moratorium on export of timber logs and other expenditure control measures. The Deputy Minister also highlighted plans to provide budgetary support to the Sierra Leone Association of Journalist (SLAJ). He then made mention of the courtesy call made by SLAJ in which he promised to create an enabling environment for journalist to practice their trade without fear of intimidation.
The Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Swaray reiterated the call of H.E the President for regularity and punctuality in government business. He told newsmen that President Bio’s meeting with Permanent Secretaries and Professional Heads of Department immediately after his swearing-in-ceremony was to build confidence and trust among Civil Servants, describing them as delivery vehicles for the implementation of government policies. He stressed that even whilst he was awaiting Parliamentary approval, he took time to address burning issues at the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), were workers have gone on strike, leaving both radio and television stations switched off.
The Minister then made mention of his visit to the provinces, where he led a delegation to conduct needs assessment of the various divisions within the Ministry. He pointed out that plans are afoot to engage key players in the telecommunications sector, to address pertinent issues dealing with improved service delivery, improved internet connectivity, accessible and affordable mobile phone services. He then highlighted President Bio’s trip to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the purpose of which was to strengthen bi-lateral ties between the two nations.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Jacob Jusu Saffa pointed out that the executive orders issued out by the government were aimed at tackling the imbalances in government expenditure. He also cited restrictions on public spending and the enforcement of the retirement age at 60 years, which were all geared towards revenue mobilization.
According to Jacob Saffa, the rational is to tackle wastages in a bid to meet expenditure requirement. He noted that the government has restarted negotiations with the International Monetary Funds (IMF) as the proposed credit to Sierra Leone was suspended since the previous government could not meet the benchmark set by the IMF. According to the Minister of Finance, the government is having a constructive dialogue with foreign donors especially to review government contract.
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Information Directorate Public Relations Team