From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, President Koroma Joins Leone Lodge PLC on other historic construction sites identifications in Bo &Kenema;
By Augustine Samba
Jul 13, 2010, 17:14

In line with his determination to encourage private sector development in the country, President Ernest Bai Koroma on Saturday 10th July 2010 formed part of a high level delegation to once again launch the construction project of Leone Lodge’s serial hotel facilities in Bo and Kenema in the South and East of the country respectively.  The ground breaking ceremony also attracted thousands of local personalities in the two provincial cities.

Addressing the audiences in Bo and Kenema President Koroma expressed his wholehearted elation to have been given the honour and opportunity to lead Leone Lodge’s delegation to grace that historic ceremony. “My joy and happiness is borne out of the fact that Leone Lodge is a commercial venture initiated and owned by indigenes of Sierra Leone which is in complete tandem with my desire and call for indigenous private sector involvement in our economic activities geared towards national development,” he said, adding that such are ventures that propel the propensity to develop the country.

President Koroma gives his joyful speech

He informed that it was a unique opportunity to see a private sector project such as Leone Lodge with an endearing intention to foster development and create employment facilities with the focus on the provision of affordable lodging for both local and foreign wayfarers, a laudable move he emphasized that would boost the tourism industry.  “Infrastructural development and the beautification of Sierra Leone’s landscape should be the sacrifice of today’s generation so that others will benefit tomorrow,” he further stated.

The president recalled how he was impressed by the first glimpse of Taiama Lodge constructed by Mr. Wilfred Sam King along the Freetown Highway on his way from Njala University early this year from the conferment of degrees and other academic awards.  “I was attracted to the beauty and architectural designs of the lodge so I told my driver to enter the compound to enquire of its ownership, and to have a thorough observation of the facilities,” he disclosed, adding that he was particularly inspired by the use of local materials to construct the lodge of such high class and international standard.  He said the sooner he arrived in Freetown he summoned the proprietor Mr. Wilfred Sam King and other Sierra Leonean entrepreneurs, including bankers, NASSIT, engineers, architects where he congratulated him and asked others to replicate his initiative in every district in Sierra Leone. “My call yielded immediate dividend as it resulted to the establishment of Leone Lodge by the Private Sector,” he explained. 

President Koroma with Leone Lodge Executive at Bo Site

President Koroma called on all Sierra Leoneans, especially those in the private sector to come together and emulate Leone Lodge’s initiative and develop the country.

In conclusion President Koroma implored Leone Lodge Board to speed up with the construction of the first phase of lodges at Rogbere, Makeni and other places to be completed before the country’s 50th Anniversary next year.

On behalf of Leone Lodge Board Members, Mr. Joe Demby thanked President Koroma for always leaving his busy official schedules to honour their invitations. He commended Mr. King for such an initiative which has now assumed a national face. He said the project was intended to foster development by enhancing infrastructural growth by Sierra Leoneans themselves. “We have to be self reliant, create an avenue for employment in the private sector,” he impressed, adding that Leone Lodge Project is in fulfillment of the president’s Agenda for Change, especially in the areas of infrastructural development and job creation for the local communities.

Leone Lodge Kenema site

In his contribution, Mr. Abu- Bakarr Multi-Kamara who is also a Leone Lodge board member posited that their initiative is geared towards uniting the people of Sierra Leone.  “This will surely encourage Sierra Leoneans and other nationals to tour the country without scratching their heads for affordable and comfortable accommodation while at the same time meeting with people of different cultural and traditional backgrounds,” he said. He went on to say that Leone Lodge serves as a complimentary outlet of the country’s traditions, culture and other values of the communities their lodging facilities are located.

Various local personalities including paramount chiefs, Resident Ministers and Members of Parliament made impressive contributions at the ceremonies held in Bo, Kenema and Taiama respectively.

At the close of the ceremonies, Mr. Sam King spoke exclusively to the press at Taiama where he said he was proud that their project has attracted the president’s vision. He informed that Leone Lodge venture is a pillar of development which aims at contributing to the socio-economic development of the country with the establishment of industries to provide employment to benefit the local communities.

“In any country, the need for private sector involvement in development oriented activities should be prioritized by its peoples and governments,’ he proffered.  He said such is the priority that Leone Lodge was exactly receiving from the government of President Koroma as in his words ‘the private sector is an engine of growth that creates wealth.’  He referred to Leone Lodge as an entrepreneurship akin to growth, set up by the confidentiality of responsible people with wide ranges of knowledge to create land marks in the country’s development.

“We are planning to employ at least one thousand people, and the entire project’s cost is projected at US$10 million with the construction of lodges of various room capacities complete with modern facilities that will cater for all tastes,” he concluded.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.