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NOTICES & DOCUMENTS  

Statement by His Excellency the President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma At the Presidential Retreat on the Agenda for Prosperity
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Mar 19, 2013, 17:00
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Statement by His Excellency the President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma

At the Presidential Retreat on the Agenda for Prosperity

 

Courtesies:

 

Many of you here present will recall that on assumption of office in 2007, I invited Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Heads of Government Agencies and other stakeholders to a retreat at Bumbuna where I outlined my priorities for my first term in office.Following the Bumbuna Retreat, we firmed up the aspirations of our people into the Agenda for Change.

 

We made significant progress in the implementation of the Agenda for Change, particularly in road construction and rehabilitation, provision of electricity, expanding agricultural productivity, promoting good governance and our flagship project: the provision of Free Health Care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five.We have made strong economic growth in the last five years and increased employment opportunities. We are seeing significant increases in foreign Direct Investments and our economic growth rate is the highest in the sub region.We have passed landmark legislation promoting womens rights, and strengthened the Anti-Corruption Commission.

 

His Excellency President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma

 

No doubt, the progress we made is visible for all to see, but challenges still remain. This is why, when the country turned 50, I set up the Sierra Leone Conference on Development and Transformation, wherein Sierra Leoneans were challenged to look at how far we have come and how together we can chart the way forward for the next 50 years. One key outcome of the conference is the aspiration for Sierra Leone to become a middle income country by 2035. Drawing from the aspirations made known during the conference, and determined to continue the transformation unleashed by the Agenda for Change, my Party and I, campaigned on the platform of ensuring greater transformation; we vowed to do more when re-elected; and we committed ourselves to implementing an Agenda for Prosperity.

 

With this retreat, we are continuing the process of firming up the promises we made during the elections; we are moving forward with the aspirations for the nation to become a middle income country; we are using the Agenda for Prosperity as the first five year road map towards achieving this goal.

 

However, if we are to become a middle-income country by 2035, we have to address the challenges. We must do more to bring down the poverty levels, reduce unemployment amongst youths, and continue with the transformation in the health sector to further reduce infant mortality rates.

 

We must do more to promote the rights of women and youths; we will do more to protect the common man and woman from the difficulties of transformation; we will do more in our fight against corruption; we will do more to attract foreign direct investments.

 

There is no retreat. I belong to a political tradition that marches forward with action, progress and commitment. Our governance record speaks for itself. Within a very short time, we have improved our ratings on international indices such as CPIA, Transparency International and the Mo Ibrahim Index. We will not relent; because in everything we do, action, progress and commitment are our guiding principles.

 

That is why we will be completing all on-going roads, energy and water supply projects. We will promote value addition to our primary products in agriculture and mining; protect the vulnerable and expand and sustain the Free Health Care initiative. We must reform our system of education in order to meet emerging needs in the labour market. We must create decent paying and sustainable jobs for our youth. We must identify, articulate, design and implement flagship projects; we must build anew airport and airport city; build a national railway system; we must complete the Lungi bridge; establish multi-million dollar centres of excellence for youths; build affordable housing estates; and focus on science and information technology and agriculture.

 

As we all know, Sierra Leone is blessed with abundant natural resources. This time around, we want to ensure that the revenues from natural resources are properly managed and are utilised for the benefit of present and future generations. To that end, we will be establishing a Transformation Development Fund from the proceeds of our natural resources.

 

It is important to note that we must all put greater emphasis on committed and regular collaboration and coordination among all MDAs. For example, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, our universities, technical centres and the private sector should collaborate strongly in the area of curriculum development and professional training. For job creation we must emphasize collaboration between the ministries of Youth, Labour, Tourism, Mineral Resources, Marine Resources, the private sector and other appropriate agencies. No single entity can do it alone. The issue of protecting my empire that nobody should come in, must stop. An agency can take the lead, but it cannot do it alone. Government will provide overall leadership, but we know we cannot do it alone. The Agenda for Prosperity is a call to action for everyone; it is an agenda for drawing out the best in all the sons and daughters of this great republic; it is an agenda for patriotic engagement, positive commitment and transformational action; it is a compelling call for a change in our mindset.

 

We must all be engaged in effective monitoring of the programmes, projects, and policies articulated in the Agenda for Prosperity. Ministers and stakeholders will form coordinating committees to ensure that Pillar and Sector objectives are constantly monitored and achieved. The targets we set in the Agenda for Prosperity will be directly aligned to the Performance Contracts that I will sign with Ministers. My election as President was an act of performance contract signing with my employers, the people of this great nation. I must fulfil the objectives of my employment. All of us must fulfil the terms of our employment if we want to keep our jobs; Let me warn you that no one is indispensable and no one will be allowed to derail the Agenda for Prosperity. I will not allow it; this Government will not tolerate it; and the people of this country will not approve it.

 

After todays meeting, the technical committee will finalise the relevant sections with the Ministers. But please note that, all what we will say here today, will not be finalised without the buy - in of the wider population. Therefore, I am expecting the Technical Committee of the Agenda for Prosperity to hold nationwide consultations with the wider public, including Parliament, Civil Society Organisations, Religious Groups and Private Sector operatives. As a democratic government, we cherish the views of the people who are the target beneficiaries of our programmes and projects. The peoples inputs into policy formulation and implementation will promote a progressive debate that is vital to the success of the Agenda for Prosperity.

 

I cannot end this statement without calling on all civil and public servants to rise to the challenge, think more creatively, produce ideas and innovations that will enhance service delivery and push for greater coordination and cohesion across government. Business as usual will no longer be accepted; rewards and sanctions will be applied on the basis of the performance management processes that are now in place.

 

We are still on track to launch the document in April after which we will start the great work of mobilisation of resources to actualise our dreams. I am sure with the commitments and determination which we have, worked with, the Agenda for Prosperity will be realised.

 

I look forward to a very successful engagement with you during the period of good meeting that will set the pace for wider public consultations on this all important national issue.

 

God bless us all,

God Bless Sierra Leone.

I thank you for your attention.


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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