By State House Communications Unit
President Ernest Bai Koroma Monday 16 February reiterated government’s commitment to pursue a robust post-Ebola economic recovery plan. He made this statement during a Roundtable on the theme “Post Ebola Economic Recovery” at Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel, Freetown.
The president explained that government had taken appropriate steps to ensure the enabling environment is being created to promote economic growth, adding that the private sector should be the engine of economic recovery. He noted that although the fight to end Ebola is in sight, he however warned against complacency and urged all to stay the course in eradicating the virus.
President Koroma furthered that his administration has come up with a post Ebola recovery plan encompassing all sectors of the economy, and expressed belief that efforts of the outcomes of this discussion will be incorporated into the recovery plan. “Our government has been private sector friendly and we have always engaged the private sector because we believe we must give room and space to the sector to grow and determine the pace at which the country should develop,” he explained and urged the conference to come up with original initiatives looking at the circumstances and potentials of the country.
The president registered government’s commitment to the full implementation of the local content policy while noting the need for quality service, transparency and accountability. Referencing the recent audited report on the management of Ebola funds, President Koroma firmly noted that the audit report will not only be limited to local players, stating that the bulk of the funds that were taken for and on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone were channelled through international Non-Governmental Organisations and others.
“We are also going to demand equal transparency and accountability from the international community. There has to be accountability through and through,” the president emphasized.
Giving a statement on the position of government on the development of the private sector, acting Minister of Trade and Industry Madam Mabinty Daramy stated that prior to the Ebola outbreak there was political and micro-economic stability as well as the country’s improving physical infrastructure and business friendly environment that attracted foreign investment and stimulated indigenous businesses in the country.
She added that government has always considered private sector development as an engine of growth and an essential precondition for achieving high and sustainable economic growth, employment, poverty reduction and wealth creation as viewed in the government development agendas.
The board Chairman of the Sierra Leone Investment and Exporting Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) who also chaired the Roundtable Mr Oluniyi Robin Coker called for deepened commitment for regional integration and full implementation of the local content policy.
The Resident Representative of the African Development Bank Mr Yero Baldeh stated that prior to the Ebola outbreak the country had made solid gains in micro-economic stability with consistent double digit growth, single digit inflation, good fiscal and external balance positions and stable domestic currency and a sustainable debt profile.
He said that it is important to continue the pre-Ebola reforms and added that the AfDB is working closely with government and the private sector to creating the enabling environment for business to thrive.