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NEWS : Breaking News  

Sierra Leone's Former Finance Minister reacts to President claiming credit for 'Doing Business' ranking
By John Benjamin
Sep 14, 2008, 19:10
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I am indeed pleased to know that the reforms we initiated in 2005 as a party are now bearing fruits which our country will benefit from. I was part of the team, that included my very capable colleague Dr. Kadi Sesay, the then Minister of Trade & Industry, who carefully thought out the reforms in areas that hindered doing business in Sierra Leone, got cabinet approval and thereafter got the legal changes done.
 
We hope and pray that the current APC government in now taking undue ownership of our successes, will not fumble in the continued implementation of these reforms so that the real benefits, of what we sought for our citizenry, will get felt throughout the country.
 
The time we undertook those reforms was a critical time just before the elections and our insistence on pushing those reforms through, cost us a lot of support from powerful groups like the Sierra Leone Bar Association who even undertook a one-day unprecedented strike against our Government to make us unpopular. The lawyers, who were ironically backed by the then-opposition now ruling Sierra Leone, were strongly opposed to us trying to make it easier for people to register their businesses without having to use the services of a Lawyer. Today, we are all reaping the benefits of our diligent service to our Nation and the facts clearly show that the results of our hard work will now impact positively on our economy.

Of course, by undertaking to push through those "drastic" changes that offended powerful groups, we were laying a solid foundation for creating an enabling environment for genuine businesses to take off and thrive in our motherland. I am so proud to have been a member of the team that brought about these reforms.

John Oponjo Benjamin of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)

Let me end by calling on my brother Ernest Bai Koroma not to be satisfied with just sitting at State House and trying to take the credit for this clear-cut achievement of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP). If better is possible, then good is not enough. Being ranked 156th worldwide means, we still have a long way to go even though we are now tops in West Africa. I am confident and very sure that if our party, SLPP was still directing the affairs of Governance in Sierra Leone, we would have avoided most of the economic failures that the Ernest Bai Koroma led ruling All People's Congress has suffered in Sierra Leone. The SLPP would have carried out and implemented more reforms over the last one year that would have even further improved upon our rankings as a country that encourages a good business environment.

It is not enough for Ernest Bai Koroma to sit at State House and issue out Statements taking credit for what is not due to him or to his Government. It is time for President Koroma to seek inspiration from the laudable examples of the erstwhile SLPP Government, put his shoulders to the wheel, engage whatever sensible economic and business minds he has around him, (if any at all) and collectively push to take Sierra Leone further upwards upon the solid foundation that our SLPP led Government built in post-war Sierra Leone; a tangible foundation that is now the recipient of local and international acclamation.


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