PRESIDENT BIO ONE YEAR IN OFFICE…
On the 4th of April 2018, NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (NEC) announced that the former military head of state had won 51.81% of votes cast in the runoff as against a little over 48% secured by his competitor, Dr. Samura Kamara a former Foreign Affairs Minister under the former president Ernest Bai Koroma.
Julius Maada Bio, Sierra Leone’s new president as required by law was sworn into office on Wednesday evening by the chief justice hour after the National Electoral Commission (NEC) declared him winner of the March 31 presidential runoff.
The swearing in of the president and his vice, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, took place at a hotel in the capital freetown, by chief justice Abdulai Hamid Charm. Maada Bio signed his oath of office and delivered a speech in which he promised to unite the country.
IN JUST ONE YEAR IN OFFICE
* Keeping true to his commitment to girls’ education
His Excellency President Brigadier General (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio has on Tuesday 17th April 2018 committed his government to a new global goal of achieving 12 years of quality education for all girls by 2030 during a meeting at the Queen Elizabeth 11 Conference Centre in London.
In a statement at a meeting organised by the Commonwealth Women’s Forum on the theme “Towards a Common Future – An Empowered Future for Women and Girls”, President Bio told the audience that: “Education creates vast opportunities for any country to reduce unfair income distribution, increase choices for all and create a strong ladder of opportunities for all. We all agree that education creates awareness and helps to sustain democracy and peace.”
Amongst the benefits of educating girls, President Bio also mentioned that educating girls delivered large health benefits as educated women have fewer children and the children they do have are healthier. He went on: “I therefore commit my new Government to deliver 12 years of Good quality education by 2030. I commit to ensuring that Girls, Children with Disability and other Disadvantaged Groups have Equal Opportunities to complete the full cycle of Primary and Secondary Education.”
“I am making this commitment to Action because I firmly believe that Free education is the bedrock for sustainable development and long-term peace. By this Action we are fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, i.e “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning,” President Bio ended.
The 2030 new vision for Education is part of the Girls’ Education Framework working towards ensuring that girls in Commonwealth receive quality education and have the skills they need to lead and succeed. The commitment by President Bio demonstrates the seriousness his Government attaches not only to education but specifically to girls’ education.
* GOVERNMENT GIVES OVER 7.2 BILLION TO MATORMEH OCCUPANTS
August 14, 2017 mudslide showed that Sierra Leone had one of the highest rainfalls in the sub region and one of the wettest.
Freetown is particularly prone to floods because of uncontrolled and clumsy human activities like deforestation, slum settlements along water ways and hill tops and poor waste management that block drainages and other water ways.
The 2017 rainfall, causing mudslides, left the Matormeh Community, just outside Freetown, completely devastated, killing over 1000 people.
In fulfillment of promises made to give a human face to the repatriation and resettlement of people in the community, the process has commenced.
On Wednesday 27 June 2018 the government of Sierra Leone, under the dynamic leadership of President Julius Maada Bio, has given over Le7.2 billion to 86 households in the affected community at Regent village.
* President Bio Declares Assets
State House, Freetown, Thursday 28 June 2018 – His Excellency Julius Maada Bio has today declared his assets before the Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Francis Ben-Kaifala, in line with Section 119 (1) of the ACC Act of 2008.
The said section stipulates that: “Every public officer shall, within three months of becoming a public officer, deposit with the Commission a sworn declaration of his income, assets and liabilities and therefore not later than 31st March in each succeeding year that he is a public officer, deposit further declarations of his income, assets and liabilities and also while leaving office”.
* President Bio Signs African Continental Free Trade Agreement
Nouakchott, Mauritania – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio on Sunday 1st July has signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement at the 31st Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement which was tabled by the Legal Counsel of the African Union Commission, Ambassador Dr. Namira Negm, would break the cross-border trade barriers for productive economic activities among African countries.
The signing of the Continental Free Trade Agreement by President Bio is part of his ambitious agenda to ensure not only that Sierra Leone has access to the continental market but also to use trade and investment as oxygen for economic revitalization in Sierra Leone.
One of the objectives of the Continental Free Trade Agreement is to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African customs union. Also, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement will look at expanding intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation regimes and instruments across RECs and across Africa in general.
Furthermore, to address some of the challenges at continental integration and competitiveness, two other critical objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement will be: to resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes and to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploiting opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement has created a Continental Free Trade Area which will bring together about fifty-four African countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than US $3.4 trillion.
His Excellency President Bio’s signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement has demonstrated his commitment to increase Sierra Leone’s trade and investment opportunities within Africa, promote economic diversification and accelerate industrial development through intra-Africa trade. It is projected that by 2030, Africa may emerge as a $2.5 trillion potential market for household consumption and $4.2 trillion for business-to-business consumption.
* Corruption is a national security issue and at a level that can destroy this nation – says President Bio
Freetown, Sierra Leone, Wednesday 4 July 2018 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has said that corruption is at a level that can destroy this nation if we do not fight and win. He said this in response to today’s launch of the Governance Transition Team Report at State House.
Chief Minister and Chair of the Governance Transition Team (GTT), Professor David John Francis, presented their final report to the President before it was officially released and distributed.
The President had mandated the 13-man team that comprises academics, experienced former civil servants and professionals from different backgrounds, two days after being sworn into office on April 4, to interface with the outgoing All Peoples Congress (APC) government, conduct an immediate assessment of the state of affairs and to submit a report on its findings.
“An astonishing level of fiscal indiscipline and rampant corruption by the former APC Government of President Ernest Koroma had led to the near-collapse of Sierra Leone’s economy by the time the Government of President Julius Maada Bio was sworn into office,” he said.
He noted that apart from the fact that 14.4% of the country’s GDP was wasted, external debt was US $1.6 billion, domestic debt was at US$658 million, partly caused by bloated salaries and other compensation for government employees amounting to US $263 million.
“Besides, the State’s liabilities as at 30 March 2018 amounted to US $3.7 billion. Inflation as at March 2018 was 17.2% while on the whole economic growth dropped from 6% in 2016 to 3.7% in 2017,” he lamented.
He disclosed that as a consequence the APC government was unable to close the fiscal gap and adhere to agreed actions under the Extended Credit Facility, leading to the suspension of disbursement of both budgetary and balance of payment support by the IMF to Sierra Leone in 2017.
* President Bio Commissions Infectious Disease Prevention Center in Freetown
State House, Freetown, Thursday 5 July 2018 – His Excellency Julius Maada Bio has today commissioned Sierra Leone’s Infectious Disease Prevention Center built by the joint offices of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) and the Chinese Military at the 34 Military Hospital, Wilberforce Barracks in Freetown.
In his keynote address, President Bio thanked the Government of the People’s Republic of China for their continued support to Sierra Leone, saying that China had been pivotal to the country in its development drive. He added that the new facility would not only help manage infectious diseases in the country but would also play a leading role in the health sector for the entire country. He noted that the new facility would now reposition the RSLAF to better address infectious diseases such as Ebola and other emerging ones.
* President Bio Gives Le24.6 billion Salary Increase to Civil Servants
Supplementary Government Budget, 2018, delivered on Friday 13th July, 2018
“As part of the mitigating measures, Government is providing 10 percent of the basic salary of all civil servants, teachers, police, military, correctional services and National fire Authority in grades 1 to 6 as transport allowance. This will cost Government Le 24.6 billion for the second half of the year and benefit 49,181 Government workers, which account for 71 percent of the public sector work force.”
* ACROSTIC OF MAADA BIO ON DELIVERING THE FREE QUALITY EDUCATION PROGRAMME
Many commendations to you Mr. President for delivering on your key Manifesto promise to provide Free Quality Education covering pre-primary, primary, junior secondary and senior secondary education
An estimated 2,141,356 pupils will now benefit from your Free Quality Education Programme which will become effective in September 2018
All Government and Government-assisted Schools will be provided the total sum of Le43.1 billion by your Government to meet the full payment of school fees for the estimated total enrolment of pupils
Detailed breakdown of the approved revised school fees under the Free Education Programme is as follows: Pre-primary and Primary – Le10,000 per term; Junior Secondary – Le50, 000 per term and Senior Secondary – Le60,000 per term
Also, an estimated of Le5.3 billion will be provided by your Government for the procurement and distribution of teaching and learning materials to all Government and Government-assisted schools
* President Bio Hosted at the China National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Centre
Changsha, Hunan Province, China – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio on Thursday 6th September 2018, was hosted at the China National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Centre located at Mapoling, Furong District, Changsha, Hunan Province.
Welcoming President Bio and delegation the “Father of Hybrid Rice” and principal scientist, Professor Yuan Longping, said that the centre and staff were very privilege to host the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Professor Longping said that the centre was established in 1995 and it is the first research institute specialized in hybrid rice development both at home and abroad.
President Bio and his team were also told that since Professor Yuan Longping proposed the technical route for super hybrid rice breeding which is combining ideal plant type with inter-subspecific hetorosis in 1997, the centre has made significant progress in super hybrid rice research and the yield targets of 10.5, 12.0, 13.5 and 15.0 t/hm for Phase I, Phase II, Phase III and Phase IV of Chinese super rice breeding.
Also Professor Yuan Longping proposed the new plant type model for super hybrid rice breeding in 2012 and developed super hybrid rice variety “super 1000” which reached 16 t/hm in 2015, 17 t/hm in 2017 and now striding towards the target of 18 t/hm. Professor Yuan Longping said that currently, in order to thoroughly implement food security strategy of storing grains in land and technology, the centre actively explores new rice breeding technology which is green, organic and safe. Longping assured the President that it will be a pleasure to help Sierra Leone achieve food security as much as he can.
Responding, President Bio thanked the centre for the warm reception accorded him and his team. He said that because of series of challenges Sierra Leone has not been able to feed itself and importing at least US$200 million of rice every year. President Bio said that his visit to the centre was to learn about the great work they do on rice production and to see how Sierra Leone can benefit from that. “I want to be able to provide an opportunity to feed the nation,” President Bio said.
Govt. of Sierra Leone Signs MOU for First Radiotherapy Center for Cancer Treatment
New York, United States – The Government of Sierra Leone represented by the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Alpha T. Wurie has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Varian Medical Systems to establish the first radiotherapy centre in Sierra Leone.
The Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 26th September 2018, is a comprehensive partnership agreement that will include the provision of state-of-the-art radiotherapy and diagnostic equipment as well as service, training and research collaboration opportunities.
During the signing of the MOU the President and CEO of Varian Medical Systems, Dow Wilson said: “We view this partnership as an opportunity to help Sierra Leone develop local expertise, which will facilitate self-sufficiency and regional leadership”. He went on: “In order to achieve our mission of A World Without Fear of Cancer, we need to move beyond simply delivering equipment and consider the entire cancer treatment ecosystem, from infrastructure to human capacity and beyond.”
* President Julius Maada Bio Unveils Sierra Leone’s First Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation
Freetown, Sierra Leone, Monday 29 October 2018 – President Julius Maada Bio has unveiled Sierra Leone’s first Directorate of Science and Technology (DST) at State House, to support government’s delivery on development and boost innovation and entrepreneurship.
Chief Minister, Prof. David Francis, who chaired the ceremony and had presided over its creation, said the directorate would use science, technology and innovation to deliver key government’s businesses in the areas of e-health, e-government, e-education and e-security.
He assured the gathering that the team of young and brilliant minds would work across government departments and agencies to change the future of Sierra Leone though science, technology and innovation, adding that it would also improve technology, create wealth, boost education and sustainable development and transform the small and poor West African nation.
Meanwhile, Chief Innovation Officer at the Directorate, Dr Moinina David Sengeh, said that science, technology and innovation were very vital to solving twenty-first-century problems, adding that scientific research would produce discoveries to improve lives and societies.
* President Julius Maada Bio Commissions Construction of Hospital at Masongbo Village, Launches Free Ambulance Service in Bombali District
Masongbo Village, Bombali District, Friday 23 November 2018 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has commissioned the start of construction work on a mini-modern hospital at Masongbo village in the Makari Gbanti Chiefdom, near Makeni, and also launched the free ambulance service for Bombali District, northern Sierra Leone.
Work commences on 30 November this year and after completion in August 2019, the centre will have an operating theatre, X-Ray unit, drug store, public health officers’ unit and a staff quarter.
The President said he was delighted to mark the start of the construction work because a proper healthcare service was the basis for human capital development, adding that without quality healthcare it would be difficult to sustain development. He disclosed that after its completion some four miles away from Makeni, the new health facility located in a strategic township surrounded by many villages, would provide better facilities than it previously had done.
* On January 7th 2019 President Bio’s Government Reduces Prices of Petroleum Products
In his new year message, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio said that 2019 will be a year of Hope. True to his words, a week after his message, President Bio’s Government is reducing the prices of Petroleum products.
The move has been commended widely by ordinary people because it will start to improve the conditions of living for ordinary people.
The biggest reduction is on Petrol which reduces from 8,000 to 7,000 per litre. The myth that when prices increase they never reduce has once again been broken by President Bio. In nine months, President Bio has not only increased salary, reduced taxes but also he has reduced the prices of Petroleum Products.
* President Julius Maada Bio Inspects Construction Site for the University of Science and Technology in Kono
Kono District, Eastern Sierra Leone, Saturday 19 January 2019 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has conducted an inspection tour of the proposed construction site for a University of Science and Technology in Kono, where he is visiting as part of his nationwide thank-you-tour.
In his welcome address, Paramount Chief Fengai Kaimachende of Gbense Chiefdom said he was extremely delighted to host the President and his entourage on the inspection of a project he described as landmark. He said the people of Kono had long yearned for a university in the district that would reduce the burden of traveling to other parts of the country for higher education.
He stated that the people of Kono were excited about the proposal of a university in the district and lauded the government for thinking well for the people of Kono, adding that President Bio was a man with passion, determination and commitment to move the nation forward. He, therefore, called on everyone to support the New Direction administration.
* President Bio Opens New Community Health Centre in Makali
Makali, Kunike Barina Chiefdom, Tonkolili District, Saturday 19 January 2019 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has officially opened the newly constructed community health centre in Makali, Kunike Barina Chiefdom, Tonkolili District, Northern Sierra Leone.
The project, which was funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, DfID, also included the rehabilitation of staff quarters.
DfID’s Representative, Sandra Baldwin, said the new facility was part of their continued support to the health sector in the country. She added that the facility would contribute to the provision of high quality health services and safe delivery in the country as well as improve on the health condition within communities.
She said DfID and other partners had seen progress being made by the new government in all sectors, especially the health sector for which they trust the government and would continue to support the President in his vision to better the lives of Sierra Leoneans.
* On January 24th 2019 President Bio Government disbursed Le 18.3 billion to Freetown City Council
“So within the last 8 months in governance, my Government has supported the Freetown City Council with direct financial disbursements of Le18.3 billion leones. My Government is committed to working for Freetown and in making our Freetown a better city for us all.”
* On January 28th 2019, for the first time in history, Pres. Bio has commissioned a Nationwide Airborne Geographical Survey for Mineral Resources.
* On January 29th President Julius Maada Bio, in his keynote address launches the Commission of Inquiry
* On January 30th President Bio launched a $17 million Global Partnership for Education Programme, “Getting it right”. He thank GPE, DFID & MBSSE
* President Julius Maada Bio Declares Rape and Sexual Violence as a National Emergency in Sierra Leone
State House, Freetown, Thursday 7 February 2019 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has officially declared a National Emergency on Rape and Sexual Violence, as a major step towards addressing rape and all forms of sexual violence in Sierra Leone.
In his keynote address, to a well-attended event at State House, President Bio said that each month hundreds of cases of rape and sexual assaults were being reported against women, girls and babies with some of the fatalities being as young as three months old and that 70% of survivors of the traumatic experience being under the age of 15.
* President Julius Maada Bio announces measures to improve Conditions of Service for the Military, praises their exemplary dedication and loyalty
Myohaung Officers’ Mess, Wilberforce, Freetown 18 February 2019 His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio and Commander-in-Chief of The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, RSLAF, has announced new measures meant to improve conditions of service of the serving and ex-servicemen in the country.
“As I have said, your service and sacrifice are unique; your dedication and loyalty, exemplary. It therefore gives me great pleasure to announce a number of immediate interventions to improve the conditions of service of all serving and retired men of the RSLAF who honourably served and are serving their nation.
* On March 27th President Bio announces Free tuition for personnel serving in the security forces who are in public universities and colleente
*In July president Bio gives Billions of leones to road contractors and firms to start and finish all road before the mid of this year
* President Bio enter new negotiation with the energy ship to supply light cut across the capital
* President Bio give the premier League Board 2.5billion leones to start football as part of his campaign manifesto