By: Thaimu Bai Sesay
Ensuring that the voices of citizens from all levels are heard, on what should be the focus of the Government as they round off the 2023 year, and looking forward to a brand new 2024, this medium conducted random interviews, where citizens in the heart of Freetown were asked on questions related to development.
“Personally, I want to appreciate the news about the swift establishment of the Kono University. And I would like to implore the Government for the construction of more Universities in the district level. That would diversify the education system and prevent overcrowding in the city and its colleges. And again, as we approach a new year, I suggest that the Government embark on functionalizing the Human Capital Development. Let the Government don’t lose sight on youth empowerment; it should empower the youths with skills and jobs. And of course, if the Government fails the youth, it would likely fail,” Alpha Koroma suggested.
“I want the Government to prioritize unity as it is part of the country’s coat of arm and work towards uniting all political leaders for a better Sierra Leone. The Government as the parent for every citizen it should be forgivable and able to sacrifice for the sake of development. And again, it should not listen to all voices or take them into concentration, as some are just for distractions,” M. Bangura
“My suggestion to the Government as we advance to another is, I think the Government should change its methods of approach if it is to succeed. If the Government continues to implement the same approaches that had been used in 2018 unto 2023, the Government would likely not to succeed. As a National President not political leader the President should uniformly send one message that should resonate in every part of the country.
Furthermore, the Government should acknowledge that it is working for the people of the country not for itself. For instance, Parliamentarians are just representing themselves, using their sole ideas to make decisions that never reflect to the people. In fact, the people cannot even access their Parliamentarians not to talk of having a meeting with them for collective concerns and ideas on laws and decision making,” from a concern citizen.
“For over the years I have learnt that the laws in Sierra Leone are blind and are only working on the poor not the rich. For Sierra Leone if you don’t have money, you don’t have right. If you critically assess, you would notice that there are more lips services that what is actually on ground. And again, it is evident that the Sierra Leone as a country had long been divided, and for it to be united, it takes a government with huge sacrifice. Definitely if there would be any war again in Sierra Leone, it would not be tribal nor religious but political,” a concern citizen suggested.
“For me, I suggest that the Government should reduce taxes and customs for the importers and investors, as they in turn would definitely reduce the price of commodities in the market. But if the Government continues to increase taxes, of course it would not affect them nor the high working class but us the ordinary citizens. I believe tax reduction particularly in places like Water Quay and for investors would definitely cushion the hardship in the country,” said Mohamed Amara Daramy.
“My concern is for the Government and the other responsible stakeholders to work on improving energy and network systems in the country and as well as making them unlimited. Our energy and network are very costly and at the same time not effective and efficient. For instance, in Guinea the people buy meter top up on monthly basis whilst also having effective energy supply, but that is contrary to Sierra Leone. I advocate for unlimited meter top up and internet as we approach a new year, Barrie Thalatu advanced.
My bond of contention is the skyscraping fees in the Universities in Sierra Leone. I see it as a big challenge for most students preparing to pursue their careers in the University. With the new amount being imposed, students with poor backgrounds would deliberately not be able to access Universities. So, I called on the Government to mediate and find means to subsidize for students,” a concern university student expressed.
“As a petty trader importing electronic products from Guinea, my utmost concern is the high inflation of the dollar and the exchange rate between Guinea and Sierra Leone. As petty trader with little cash I am facing a lot of constrain when leaving for Guinea to buy goods. The killing exchange rate is drastically affecting not only me but almost all business people in the country and that is one of the major reasons impacting the prices of commodities in the country.
For over the years, Guinea had been the main source of major products for Sierra Leone. As not many of us could to travel to bigger countries we solely rely on buying from Guinea and when the exchange rate was good, prices were normal but for now it is devastating. If you take a look at this receipt, you will notice that a 100 dollar, I changed in Sierra Leone for almost 2,500Nle is exactly at 900 Franc after converted. In that regard the money I loose is more than my very capital after changing the dollar in franc,” an electronic petty trader submitted.
“My concern as a patriot citizen is for the Government to prioritize peace and unity as that would definitely foster development. I urge the Government to forget about grievances if there is any and solely focus on moving the country for better. We are all one people from the same country so there is no need to fight ourselves. Our fight should be to move Sierra Leone forward, Mr. Samura said.