An article written by the SLPP veteran – Dr Sama Banya and published in the Sierra Leone Telegraph on Sunday, 2nd February 2020, has drawn a quick response from the opposition APC party.
Dr, Banya accuses APC of trying to sabotage the efforts of the government in attracting foreign investors into the country.
But a statement from the APC strongly denies the accusations, and instead says that the negative and destructive policies of the ruling SLPP are themselves responsible for the decision of investors to stay away from the shores of Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone needs over $4 Billion of investments in key sectors, in order to diversify the ailing economy, create jobs and improve the living standards of millions of people in the country, 70% of whom are unemployed.
After almost two years in government, the ruling SLPP is still struggling to manage the economy as unemployment continues to rise, inflation soaring, interest rates becoming more and more unaffordable, the value of the Leone falling against major global currencies, export earnings declining, while public debt continues to grow alarmingly.
Amid these economic difficulties, there is growing political instability in the country, caused by a spate of rioting and violence as tensions between the SLPP and APC worsen.
This is the APC statement:
RE: “Opposition APC propaganda is driving away prospective investors from Sierra Leone”
Our attention is drawn to an article making rounds on social and conventional media titled: “Opposition APC propaganda is driving away prospective investors from Sierra Leone”, which is written by Dr Sama Banya and first published online by the Sierra Leone Telegraph on 02 February 2020.
The article, which aims at blaming the opposition All Peoples Congress party for the unimpressive performance of the Julius Maada Bio SLPP government in its twenty-two months in office, is disingenuous and a further indication of the lack of prowess by a political party that has espoused propaganda and finger pointing as a means of covering its ineptitude and failures in governance.
Except otherwise, the SLPP party and government is certainly not oblivious of the fact that Sierra Leoneans as well as the international community, which includes prospective investors, have in less than twenty-four months, since President Julius Maada Bio was elected President of Sierra Leone, decipher the mismatch between the election campaign promises of the SLPP and their performance in government and have prognosticate an unstable socio economic and political environments based on international rankings such as the recent Global Peace Index which disrobes Sierra Leone of its much appreciated status as one of the most peaceful country in the world and also the global doing business rankings which paints Sierra Leone as unattractive to prospective investors.
Mindful of the need for bipartisan, and even multi-partisan, engagement within and outside Parliament to salvage Sierra Leone from further plunging deep into the abyss of uncertainty, the All Peoples Congress party reiterates the need for the SLPP government to face the realities of the challenges confronting the nation with the seriousness it deserves and to consciously restrain itself and functionaries/associates from singling out the All Peoples Congress party as the reason for the qualified failures of the Julius Maada Bio government.
The All Peoples Congress party need not remind Dr Sama Banya and by extension the SLPP government that the issues of blatant disregard for the dictates of the 1991 Constitution especially as it relates to the election of a Speaker, the forceful and illegal removal of elected representatives from Parliament and the imposition of ‘strangers’ as elected representatives of the people; the issues of gross human rights violations and Police brutality that have often led to unlawful and prolonged incarceration and the death of innocent Sierra Leoneans from the killings at Mile 91, Tonko Limba and most recently the shooting of a youth at Juba over the weekend by a close protection police officer assigned to the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs; the failure of the judiciary to portray itself as an independent arbiter of justice and the blatant and unending bias of the Sierra Leone Police in dealing with issues of political violence, election violence and even common disputes between and among citizens; the unproductive overseas trips of the President and the failure of his government to ‘block the leakages’ as is evident in an unaccounted loss of public funds to the tune of over 140billion Leones in tandem with a bloated wage bill, the indiscriminate cancellation of inherited mining contracts alongside high taxation and removal of business incentives are the many reasons that have forced established businesses to close down and also driving prospective investors away. These are the realities of the challenges confronting the nation; the reasons why “d gron dry”.
Therefore, without intent to delve into the politics of convenience between Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Finance and the Bretton Woods institutions, IMF projections that ours is a growing economy is intended to cosmeticize a failed economy and will have little or no impact on the lives of the ordinary people especially when this government has failed to initiate and undertake tangible and sustainable industrial related economic diversification projects.
It is therefore foolhardy on the part of the SLPP and its whole kit and caboodle to vaguely promise Sierra Leoneans that “soon there will be smiles on the face of the common man” when the performance of the SLPP government remains abysmal in key areas of good governance, rule of law, human rights and protection of fundamental freedoms.