If I am to advise H. E. President Koroma on the economic challenges we all need long term strategies to address, I would say that he should work on modernizing farming in the country and the initiation of a railway project.
Sierra Leone, as a country, has been severely hit as a result of both global and natural causes. These causes cannot be prevented by short term strategies. We need to take a different direction to ensure that we will be able to address our challenges without the instructions of international monetary institutions to secure loans.
As a government, H. E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma should take a new approach to ensure that our agriculture is given the real oxygen of modern farming. Our ultimate target must not be to only produce adequate for for our citizens. Rather, we must support farming across the country to reach the global demand for food production and export.
With courage and good management in the agricultural sector, we will turn agriculture a major source for the Sierra Leone economy.
If we are to create job opportunities, influence in the region and maintain a stable economy, we must be an agricultural independent nation. We must also make every effort to become a major food exporter in the region.
Remember, Zimbabwe was once a leading economy in the South African region also known as SADEC, but the whole Zimbabwean economy plummeted when the agricultural sector collapsed. This is a clear evidence as to why every effort must be made to improve Sierra Leone agriculture.
The West African region remains a volatile economic zone with strong dependence on food import from Western and Asian countries. This means there is great potential that we will attract the whole region when becoming a leading producer of agricultural products.
In 2014, Kenya decided to purchase sugar from Uganda instead of Brazil and Cuba. This is because, on one hand there is less money involved in importing the product from Uganda and on the other, Kenya’s trade with Uganda rose up to one hundred and fifty million dollars in recent years. This figure has doubled in the past three years.
Therefore, President Uhuru Kenyatta thought it’s better to maintain trade relations with Uganda to strengthen the economies of the two countries.
Sierra Leone should therefore create her importance in the region in many ways including agricultural product exporting to neighbouring countries.
Furthermore, Sierra Leone has given herself into submission by depending on petroleum products sold to developing countries at high prices. We have the opportunity as a nation to free our economy from global negative impacts of oil crises.
I am suggesting to the government that they should consider installing a metro or train system in Sierra Leone.
It is very unfortunate that while developed countries, such as the United States, China, Japan, France, England, Germany and others heavily depend on the metro and train for commuting and transporting goods, we risk depreciating our economy by taking reliance on petroleum products to move our engines.
Many countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, are today using natural gas for cooking. This has contributed to the stabilization of their economy as natural gas is now used in cars and other machines.
I, therefore, think that instead of increasing fuel prices, the government should introduce these long term economic strategies that will save our fledgling economy from the negative impacts of food and fuel price increase globally.
I would further suggest that the government initiate a hydroelectric project meant only to supply electricity to the metro as well as road safety installations.
I thank you all
By Ismail Tarawalie