Freetown, Sierra Leone, Thursday 8 April 2021 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has continued his citizens’ engagement, using the most popular national breakfast programmes on Radio Democracy 98.1 and Star Television, and taken questions on three years of his administration.
He said it was very necessary for a genuine leader to directly engage the citizens of their nation through independent channels of communications on things that had happened or were expected to happen around their administration. He added that it was, therefore, his responsibility to directly engage with and give the citizens some firsthand information on his administration since 2018.
He said he had toured many parts of the country, in the last three years, to see things for himself, particularly to monitor the Free Quality School Education, which was his government’s flagship programme.
“To have a happy nation, the people should be happy. That is why I have taken the burden of paying school fees for about 2.5 million school children in the country. The parents of those children, who now put those school fees into other use, are quite happy because government has taken away that burden from them. No nation can ever develop without education. The future of this nation is our children. So, we have to invest hugely in educating the children and to have a happy and progressive nation in future,” he stated.
He also noted that in the international arena, the Sierra Leone everyone was calling all sorts of names was now a subject of admiration because of the disciplined leadership he was providing in the day-to-day running of the state.
President Julius Maada Bio further assured the nation that other governments would one day come and see that he did a very good work by rebranding the image of the country, investing in the children and committing to the fight against corruption. He assured that over the years he had taken time to diagnose the true nature of the challenges in the country and was calling on everyone to play their parts as a citizen to see a better Sierra Leone.
Speaking on corruption allegations in his government, President Bio said he had no sacred cow to protect, adding that all those who continued to accuse his office and that of the Office of the First Lady had not provided any evidence to support their claims. He called it a calculated effort to smear the image of the country and those with good intentions to help transform Sierra Leone.
“The First Lady used government’s money to support government activities. The “Hands Off Our Girls” is in every district of this nation. She used the money for the desired purposes. That can be proven, and it does not amount to corruption,” he stated.
He maintained that the country’s efforts at fighting corruption were being recognised internationally, adding that concerted efforts were also being made by the Anyi-Corruption Commission to ensure that corruption became unfashionable.
Speaking at the Star Good Morning Show, President Julius Maada Bio stated that there was no quick fix to national problems, but assured that deliberate actions had been taken by the New Direction administration to revamp the economy that would support government’s aspirations. He added that that was why he had also prioritised agriculture as an important pillar to national development.
“My government has provided more than 400 tractors and their facilities are available everywhere in the country. We are working with our development partners and registered agricultural businesses. Our target is to have viable agricultural enterprises that will take care of societal problems,” he asserted.
He further urged everyone to make farming a way of life and a lifestyle to be able to provide food for the country, saying that no Sierra Leonean should be left out in the development of the nation.
On the part of women’s empowerment, President Bio said his government had done a lot to protect, promote and dignify women and girls. He added that women were important partners in development and who should not be left out in the planning and development of the country.
“The national campaign by the First Lady is to raise the self-esteem of women and girls and to protect them. The Sexual Offenses Act, the establishment of the Sexual Offense Model Court, the one-stop-centre for Sexual and Gender Based Violence matters, the Male Involvement Strategy were done to signal the seriousness of my administration to empower women and girls in the country,” he concluded