Compiled By Alpha Bedoh Kamara
Former President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has informed President Dr. Julius Maada Bio that contrary to negative electioneering and post-elections propaganda, he has assumed the highest office in the land at a time when the country is already on course towards achieving the national aspiration of becoming a socially-stable, middle-income country by the year 2030.
Former president Koroma’s statement was released on Monday by the Office of the Former President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The 36-page handing-over note to President Dr. Julius Maada Bio includes, the former president imploring his successor that it is his hope that the Notes “I have prepared, may be of assistance as you take up the mantle of providing leadership for Sierra Leoneans of all tribes, all regions, all religions, all political beliefs, all ages, all gender and all other demographics which sometimes seem to divide citizens who share a common destiny within one Nation…”
President Koroma talked about the devastation caused by the Ebola crises and how the economy was affected, “Your Excellency, I want to commence my Notes with reference to the Ebola outbreak and concomitant collapse in price of our exports like Iron Ore. The Presidency under normal circumstances, come with so many challenges. However, it is difficult to find the words to describe the depths of despair I faced as President of Sierra Leone during the Ebola Crisis from 2014 to 2016. As compatriots, we went through unquantifiable human pains with massive socio-economic losses in all spheres. An evil virus devastated the three countries in our sub-regional basin at a time Sierra Leone had been described as amongst the fastest growing Economies in the World. Accordingly, Sierra Leone was the worst hit economically. Official World Bank data informs that the total impact of the Ebola crisis on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone was 2.8 billion dollars but Sierra Leone alone lost almost 2 billion dollars. Guinea lost $600million and Liberia lost $300million. The comparatively huge loss of almost $2,000million by Sierra Leone is because we had attracted much foreign direct investments which all dissipated when the Ebola outbreak coincided with global fall in prices of our export commodities like Iron Ore…”
President Koroma also noted that Sierra Leone is “on course for the 2030 aspiration“.
“…Your Excellency, contrary to negative electioneering and post-elections propaganda, the truth is that you have assumed the highest office in the land at a time when our country is already on course towards achieving our national aspiration of becoming a socially-stable, middle income country by the year 2030. This is owing to deliberate steps undertaken by my Government to counter Ebola, minimize the burden of poverty on the populace and implement wide-ranging reforms to ensure Sierra Leone remained very competitive on the global front. My Government was unique in that it was intensely pro-Poor and at the same time, Transformative in its outlook, policies and activities; all implemented with efforts on promoting good governance and respect for human rights…”
“…My Government’s unprecedented development strides are reflected in Sierra Leone now having a much bigger economy than when I took over in 2007. Back then, the monetary value of Sierra Leone’s economic and business activities was estimated at five trillion leones. By 2017, this is now estimated at 30 trillion Leones. In 2007, the Annual Revenue generated within Sierra Leone was 500 billion leones; today it is 4 trillion (4,000 billion) leones. Foreign Direct Investment has grown tremendously from 288 billion leones to five trillion (5,000 billion) leones. We have also increased our international reserves from dollar equivalent of less than 600 billion leones to the current amount which is the dollar equivalent of 4 trillion (4,000 billion) leones.
Your Excellency, the last ten years have seen a remarkable overall growth in spite of the major exogenous shocks including the global financial crisis of 2008-09, the food and fuel price crisis during the same period, the collapse of international commodity prices, including our major export, iron ore, and the outbreak of the terrible Ebola epidemic. Over this last ten years, we have used this unprecedented growth in resources to invest in social services and infrastructure more than at any other time in our country’s history. My Government’s direct development expenditure on roads, energy, health, education, tourism, communication, information technology and other areas has been way above what it was in 2007. In 2007, the expenditure on direct development was 60 million dollars; By 2013, we were now able to spend 280 million dollars on direct development projects. Last year, the sum of 274 million dollars was spent on direct development projects. This is an 357% increase over the last ten years and has resulted in a visible and tangible increase in access to health services, education, electricity, clean drinking water, roads, agricultural services and information communication technologies…”