CARD Sierra Leone – PRESS RELEASE CARD-SL/PR2020/001
SIERRA LEONE IS ABOUT TO LOSE USD 600,000,000 AND 23,000 JOBS IN FOUR DAYS; CIVIL SOCIETY CONCERNS AND CALLS FOR AN EXECUTIVE CLEARANCE
The Coalition for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD-SL) has been following up the issue between Spire USA Inc. and the government of Sierra Leone to approve/give clearance for an investment worth US$600,000,000 that will provide 23,000 jobs through agriculture for Sierra Leoneans, and the Coalition is concerned that tendency exist that the country might lose this proposed investment opportunity to other countries in five days time if no timely or swift actions are taken.
If our readers, viewers or listeners are following politics or other development closely in Sierra Leone, they may have been familiar with the New Direction’s commitments to diversify Sierra Leone’s economy, create jobs for our young people irrespective of where they are in the country. As this will contribute to addressing the much talked about “bread and butter” issue.
His Excellency Julius Maada Bio in all his address to the nation’s legislative assembly (Parliament) has told Law Makers that his government is determined to diversify the country’s economy using diverse sectors including Agriculture and Tourism to eradicate over dependency on mining.
According to our findings, the ABCD Export City project with support from Spire USA Inc, the country stands to benefit the following if the project is given prompt approval:
- Six Hundred Million United States Dollars (USD600,000,000.00) investment in Agriculture. This will help boost the country’s economy.
- 23,000 thousand jobs for Sierra Leoneans. This will help unemployed people to get jobs particularly the youth and reduce so much pressure on government.
- Construct a city in each project site (Tisor – Kenema District, Mamamah – Port Loko District, Moyamba, Moyamba Juction and Tikonkor – Bo District) with 2,500 fabricated houses that will host/accommodate a family of five (5) (mother and father) with three (3) children. The two (2) family heads are going to be farmers in the city farm with a monthly salary of about seven million Leones, (US$700) each. This will help to address the numerous challenges the Sierra Leone housing sector faces, reduce rural urban migration, improve standard of living and reduce homelessness.
According to the Chief Executive Officer, ABCD Export City Project Abdul Kadiru KaiKai, the project is part of President Bio’s vision to transform the country’s economy. The objective of the project is to build four cities with standard facilities for the poor people in operational areas.
Each operational district will have five thousand (5,000) employees he said. This project, if implemented, many Sierra Leoneans believe will be the biggest ever since the history of the country. The CEO furthered that, Five (5) countries bided for the project including Ghana & Rwanda. Sierra Leone won the bid, and we can’t afford to lose this opportunity as it is a great opportunity for the country.
Furthermore, Mr. Kaikai reveals that, Rwanda president H.E Paul Kagame whose country is a model for post conflict development in Africa is still trying to convince Spire USA Inc. and have written them a letter stating that they are willing and ready to adhere to the conditions of a sovereign guarantee and to even add more money on top of that to further entrench and demonstrate their commitment to the project process.
On this note, as a Coalition of pro-poor crusaders, we are disturbed by what we refer to as undue delays, and recommends the following:
- That the Spire USA Inc project be given an Executive Clearance by H.E the president Julius Maada Bio as against the very last dead line of the 5th of March, 2020 given to us as a country. This will prevent the investors from taking their investment to Rwanda as already been communicated to Mr. Kai-Kai, their CEO in Sierra Leone.
- E president Maada Bio should mount an investigation to ascertain reason(s) why this is viable and worthwhile project with a huge investment amount of such magnitude should suffer what we refer to as unnecessary delays.
While we agree government has the responsibility to do due diligence, i.e., protect citizens from exploitation, we are also of the view that a project of this nature must have been given timely consideration.
As a Coalition, we are of the belief that if President Bio is to achieve food security, job creation and human capital development, his effort to boost foreign direct investment to the country must be treated with all seriousness and given the utmost attention it deserves by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) concerned.
The Coalition is a group of Civil Society Organizations that sees the need of CSO’s participation and voices in the promotion of Agriculture sector and rural development through advocacy, monitoring, research, community mobilization and reporting. It is an alliance of 22 (22) autonomous national civil society and non-governmental organizations with a large network across the country.
It is our fervent hope that our concerns will be taken into consideration.
We remain open as a group to dialogue and find solutions to Sierra Leone’s 21st Century Agricultural challenges.
God bless our beloved nation, Sierra Leone.