From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

COMMENTS & OPINIONS
WE DID IT OURSELVES!
By John Pa Baimba Sesay-china
Mar 19, 2013, 17:04

Lao Tzu is a great Chinese philosopher. For him, "At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want." Speaking on leadership, he said, in a poem, that leaders should "Go to the People. Live among them, Love them, Learn from them. Start from where they are, Work with them, Build on what they have. But with the best leaders, when the task is accomplished, the work completed the people all remark: We have done it ourselves."

 

 

In the last few years, almost leading to a decade now, Sierra Leone and her people have achieved so much that when we look at the collective efforts we have always put together, we can suggest we did it by ourselves and we should commend ourselves for such achievements. At the center of our being we have the answer; as a country we know who we are and we know what we want." And because the leaders have always gone to the people and learn from them, work with them, we continue to do a lot by ourselves. How commendable!  But this, we must state, comes with a price; the effective leadership provided us today in the country by the government. We today have a leadership that has told us the "alternative belongs to the broken nation of the past and not the new Sierra Leone we are building." At the launch of his party manifesto on the 18th October 2012, at Goderich titled, 'Transformation for National Prosperity' President Koroma described the great sacrifice that we (Sierra Leoneans) have made as "been great" and was upfront in asking for another mandate so as to be able to "scale up the gains we have made in just five years and bring prosperity to all Sierra Leoneans." 


John Baimba Sesay

The Koroma led administration came in at a time when Sierra Leone had series of challenges in her rebranding efforts; in her economic growth; in fully exposing her investment potentials and in a host of areas.  In fact by 2007, Sierra Leone was among countries listed as one of the "wrong places for doing business".  But we were, by the time President Koroma was first elected, able, to identify the challenge we were faced with, as being too much bureaucracy with business policies and practices that had very little significance. So, the vision of the country was to create an environment for private sector growth, by ensuring the removal of those administrative barriers to make investment easy.  This was one thing we all did buy ourselves as a country and we succeeded. Food Processing and agricultural food production was also looked at.  In collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, (UNIDO) we, as a country, carried out the rehabilitation of three Growth Centres in Binkolo, Pujehun and Kpendembu and provided agro-processing machines and other equipment at the various units within these Centres.Technology was improved at all the Growth Centres in the area of Food Processing and Agricultural tools manufacture.

 

 

On private sector development, we saw the provision of technical assistance to the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau by Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) which has enabled it to perform its duty in respect of Standards Quality Management Systems.Also, the Rural and Private Sector Development Project provided technical assistance to the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau to improve the efficiency along the value chain of selected agricultural commodities, strengthening market linkages along the value change (producer, exporter) amongst others. In infrastructure, we achieved a lot as we saw a string intervention by government investing in infrastructure, listed infrastructural development as a priority area in the then Agenda for Change. This also was the case in other areas in the area of social infrastructure.

 

In the management of our fisheries sector, we also did a lot by ourselves as a country, with the leadership provided by government. By 2007, the sector was met in a poor state. Fisheries outstations were dysfunctional with revenue collection ineffective and poorly coordinated.At the industrial level, foreign operators dominated and did whatever they wanted due to lack of control.Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing was a huge problem.The story should be a different one today, after over half a decade. The country has focused its attention on the proper governance of the resource and its sustainable use. A review process of the governance system of the resource was done; a participatory governance (co-management) model involving all stakeholders in the sector; introduced; management tools such as the ecosystem approach to fisheries, which took into account the human dimensions of fisheries and the impact of fishing on marine ecosystem introduced and implemented in various communities across the country.  Having achieved a lot;  knowing that at the center of  our  being is  the answer;  knowing  who we are and  knowing  what we  want, coupled with tour leaders building  on what we  have and when finally  the task is accomplished, we can suggest, we have done it ourselves and we shall continue doing it ourselves.



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