SIERRA LEONE: PARLIAMENT APPROVES FINANCE MINISTER AND TWELVE OTHERS
The Parliament of Sierra Leone has on Tuesday 25th July 2023 debated and approved with unanimity the First Report of The Committee on Appointments and the Public Service in the Sixth Parliament, chaired by the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Sahr Nyuma.
The following presidential nominees were approved by Parliament:
- Mr. Sheku Fantamadi Bangura- Minister of Finance
2. Alhaji Kanja I. Sesay- Minister of Energy
3. Dr. Austin Hingha Demby-Minister of Health
4. Mr.Tomothy M. Kabba -Minister of Foreign Affiars and International Cooperation
5. Mrs. Princes Betty Dugba -Minister of Fisgeries and Marine Resouces
6.Dr. Sao-Kpato Hannah Max-Kyne- Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation
7. Ambassador Adekunle Joliff Milton King- Minister of Western Region
8. Mr. Alpha Ibrahim Sesay -Minister of Trade and Industry
9.Mr. Jiwoh Emmanuel Abdulai- Minister of Environment and Climate Change
10. Major General (Rtd.) David Tamba Ocil Taluva- Minister of Internal Affairs
11. Mrs. Melrose A. Karminty -Minister of Social Welfare
12. Mr. Amara Kallon -Minister of Public Administration and Political Affairs and
13. Ambasador B. Wurie -Resident Minister North-West
According to the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business, the presidential nominees were interviewed on Friday 21/07/2023 on issues pertaining to their educational backgrounds, experiences, track records in public service, assets declaration, tax obligations and vision for a nationally productive tenure.
Seconding the motion, the Deputy Majority. Leader and Leader of Government Business 1, Hon. Bashiru Silikie said some nominees were appointed five years ago, but today they are not and advised those who had been reappointed by President Bio to do well. He reiterated that the nominees must work harder and. their activities should be in consonance with the President’s manifesto to continue to win the hearts and minds of the people . He also admonished that, Ministers should not be addressed as Honourable Ministers except those who had served as Honourable Members.
The Deputy Leader urged the Ministers designate to work in tandem with the vision of the 2028 General Elections. He zoomed in the Minister of Energy and spoke well of his performance in the last government. He also told Parliament that, the Minister of Finance is a very humble man with high sense of duty and professionalism. The Leader comprehensively heaped praises on the Minister of Health as well as other presidential nominees.
On his part, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Segepoh Solomon Thomas thanked President Bio for the appointments and went on to describe the nominees as qualified compatriots. He revealed to the House that, the interviews of the nominees were done properly.
While recalling past interactions with some nominees, the Deputy Speaker patriotically told the presidential nominees to do things differently, in light of national developments. He used the occasion to comparatively analyze global situations and passionately asked the Ministers designate to admonish the civil servants to change the modus operandi, for the purposes of development.
Hon. Neneh Lebbie described the nominees as eminent people, especially women. She advised the Ministers designate to bring positive changes in their new offices. “Work very hard and bring changes” she maintained. She recalled the efforts of hard working ministers in the last government whose efforts contributed immensely to the re-election of President Bio. “We want to see Sierra Leone grow, I don’t want to retire in the UK, but in my country” she stated and went on to urge the Ministers to improve on job creations, in order to stop illegal migration of youths desperately seeking for jobs abroad. She commended all the nominees including the Minister of Energy.
Hon. PC Ngbak. Bai Farma Tass Bubu of Kambia District called on the House to speedily approve the nominees and also applauded the Minister of Finance. He also told the House that, the Minister of Internal Affairs has a remarkable character and spoke positively of others including Ambassador B. Wurie. He expressed hope that the nominees would deliver.
Hon. PC Paul Ngaba Saquee of Kono District, while thanking President Bio, hoped and prayed for the nominees and noted that they were all eminently qualified. He recalled very good relationships with most of the nominees and also. spoke of some of their national services performed over the years. He used the occasion to call for national unity and cohesion. He also used the opportunity to refer to the Minister Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation as one that is a unifier.
Hon. Jibrilla Surmojueh from Bonthe District said the nominations have testified that President Bio did not put square pegs into round holes. He underscored the remarkable developments of President Bio, in light of youths appointments and gender equality among others. He then admonished Ministers designate to prove well in their new offices.
Hon. Alice K. Sandy from Kenema thanked the Committee of Appointments for doing a good job. She made reference to statements made by the wife of former President Obama in light of women’s appointments and also used the opportunity to urge them to deliver for others to emulate. She zoomed on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, describing his appointment as youthful representation and hard work.
Hon. PC Marrah Thor Thor. Sheka Tink Fonkola III from Falaba District contributed to the debate and informed the House about the deplorable road network in his district. He categorically stated that he would not praise the nominees until the road from Kabala to Falaba is fixed. He commended President Bio for doing so well than other Sierra Leonean Presidents and ended saying “congratulations to all the nominees”, he concluded.
Hon. PC Haja Meama Kajue Koroma from Moyamba District reiterated the positive performances of the nominees and also advised them to work harder for purposes of continued development in the country. She expressed best wishes to them all.
Hon. PC Cyril Gondor Foray of Kailahun District described the moment as a milestone in the dispensation of the state and strongly advised the Minister of Internal Affairs not to allow celebrated criminals to place the country into another quagmire. “Let every vehicle be checked” he advised and “make sure those borders are properly manned”.
Hon. Keikura Vandy recalled his job as Chairman of Energy Committee in the 5th Parliament in respect of effective oversight. He underscored several remarkable developments of the national electrification by the Minister of Energy. The MP lauded the good job of the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Finance amidst economic challenges. He commended the other nominees.
Hon. Hindolo M. Gevao predicated his debate on the wisdom of the appointments of the nominees by President Bio and the need for deliverables to enhance development programmes in the country. He informed the House that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is so intelligent and expressed hope that, the Ministers would deliver. He advocated for good relationships among the Ministers and Members of Parliament.
Deputy Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business 2, Hon. Emerson Saa Lamina made reference to the 1991 Constitution in lieu of appointments and commended the President for such remarkable appointments. He underscored Pillar 4 of the President’s Manifesto, in light of professionalism and transformation. He recalled the interviews and told the House that the nominees proved very well. The Leader used the opportunity to applaud Timothy Kabba for his remarkable appointment and also commended others. He comprehensively recalled related national developments undertaken by some of the Ministers. “Work with your Deputies so to enhance socio-economic development” he concluded.
Deputy Chief Whip 1, Hon.Veronica Kadie Sesay thanked President Bio for bringing more women to participate in governance and also commended the 5th Parliament for the passage of the GEWE Bill into law. She commended the reappointed. presidential nominees for their good works. On behalf of the people of Moyamba, she. congratulated the Minister of Energy and also lauded the female nominees. She advised the Ministers to work with their deputies. The MP drew the attention of the Minister of Internal Affairs to border security and women’s protection.
Hon. Shiaka Musa Sama spoke well of the Minister of Trade and Industry and also for the Minister of Energy. He used the opportunity to ask the reappointed Ministers to share their experiences with the new ones and underscored the need for women’s appointments. He urged the Ministers to work collaboratively with the MPs, in order to win the 2028 General Elections.
The Chief Whip of Parliament, Hon. Dickson Rogers recalled some appointments in 2018 and underscored the development trajectories of President Bio in consonance with the efforts of some Ministers including Energy and Finance. He expressed hope that the Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs Ministers would deliver and admonished them to bring positive changes and also work with the MPs.
Hon. Bintu Fatmata Bockarie urged the Ministers to concentrate on job creations for the youths. She commended the Minister of Foreign Affairs to continue the good job and acknowledged the Minister of Energy for his landmark developments and also requested for more provisions of electricity supplies in the country. She heaped praises on the Minister of Fisheries and thanked President Bio for appointing women to high offices of the State.
Rounding up the debate, the Acting Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mohamed Bangura while admonishing the nominees said he was deceived by public perceptions that the Committee on Appointments and the Public Service was a “Rubber Stamp”, but that to his greatest surprise, nominees were properly vetted by the said Committee. “This Committee is not going to be business as usual” he stated. The MP reminded the Minister of Trade and Industry on the current economic situation and the hike in prices of goods. He used the opportunity to suggest price control and informed that the people have voted the Government to ameliorate their sufferings. “This is not the time for party politics, because when you go to the market, you don’t speak party” he revealed. The MP asked the Minister of Internal Affairs to scrutinize the police force and uphold and defend the security of the state. While alluding to the youthfulness of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, he asked him to consider some staff members for out- stationing. He asked the Minister of Energy to consider the tariffs on electricity bills.
The MP used the occasion to appeal to his colleague APC MPs to come to Parliament and serve the nation. The Acting Leader asked the Speaker to promote peace and national cohesion in the country.
In concluding the debate, the Majority. Leader and Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Sahr Nyuma thanked all and spoke on the tenets of democracy in response to the Acting Leader of the Opposition. He spoke well of the 5th Parliament and also alluded to the efforts of the Committee on Appointments and Public Service, in light of their recent interviews with nominees.
The Leader of Government Business explained comprehensively to the House what positively transpired during those interviews. In light of electricity tariffs, the Leader clarified that Sierra Leone is paying the cheapest in the sub- region. He urged the Ministers to work with the MPs, in order to transform the nation and also strongly called on the Internal Affairs Minister to crack down on drugs and drugs abuse in the country. He urged the female Ministers to go and deliver and spoke about the rigors of the passage of the laws that had opened the space for their participation in governance.
In his felicitations, the Speaker of Parliament, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu joined the House to congratulate the nominees and said that they are well qualified for the positions they have been appointed to. The Rt. Hon. Speaker reminded the nominees that their duties are bound by the laws of the land and are expected to work in the interest of the State.
“The laws must be obeyed and must be defended at all times, this is a Government by the law and not above the law”, he concluded.
He reiterated the point that work must be done for the interest of the State and wished them well in their new pursuits.
Ministers approved by Parliament would enter their official duties after they subscribed the oath of office before President Bio, as provided in Section 57 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone (Act No. 6 of 1991).
Source: Parliamentary and Public Relations Department, Parliament of Sierra Leone