The Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa, who is serving as the Chairman for the Sierra Leone People’s Party Manifesto Committee, has on Sunday 11th June 2023 engaged students, staff and members of the Mokonde community to explain the Big Five SLPP Manifesto.
Holding the engagement at the University Auditorium, the Chief Minister outlined the achievements of the SLPP Government over the last five years and the intentions contained in the 2023 Manifesto to consolidate and expand the progress already made by the New Direction administration.
The document, according to the Chairman of the Manifesto Committee, is divided into five specific thematic areas, with a focus on five areas: agriculture, human capital development, investment in youth employment schemes, revamping the public sector, and accelerating the use of technology and infrastructure as a means to sustained economic growth.
The production of food, he said, is Sierra Leone’s greatest challenge because it accounts for more than half of the nation’s imports, which, in his opinion, has increased demand over supply and resulted in excessive expenditure on the nation’s staple foods. According to him, too much money is being spent on imported rice, which has led to an increase in demand for foreign currency. “Over 50% of our foreign exchange is used to import foodstuff,” he continued.
He therefore contends that the best way to lessen it is to make investments in agriculture, which will reduce the demand for foreign currency.
Chief Minister JJ Saffa assured the University that “Feed Salone” will begin at Njala University, noting that agricultural graduates from Njala University are no longer going to accept volunteer work at the Ministry as Agricultural Officers for Youth for Agriculture but rather, under the new manifesto, he claimed, they will become agricultural entrepreneurs where students will be given soft loans to start agricultural businesses.
He emphasized the value of research for agricultural development and pledged the University’s and SLARI’s involvement in putting those good ideas into practice. He also said that 500,000 jobs would be created, many of which, he said, would result from the growth of the agricultural industry.
JJ Saffa acknowledged the University’s electrical issue, stating that he made an effort to enhance funding to Njala University when he was the Minister of Finance when he saw that the University spent a lot of money on fuel to light its campuses. He promised the university that their next administration would have good internet access and 24 hours electricity.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Bashiru Mohamed Koroma, praised the manifesto, thanked the Bio Government for giving agriculture importance in their next term in office, and informed the Chief Minister of Njala’s capability of providing the expertise needed to make Feed Salone a reality.
Professor Koroma discussed some of his Administration’s quick wins in restoring Njala University’s past esteem as the producer and seller of eggs across the country. He also discussed how his administration has infused transparency, accountability, and disciplined leadership into its operations.
The Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, cited many of the President’s successes and referred to him as the best President of Sierra Leone in history.
He stressed that the President urged they visit the Njala University to discuss the positive proposals in the manifesto for the development of Sierra Leone because he has Njala University’s best interests at heart.
The Information Minister urged the University and the community to cast their votes for President Bio in the general elections on June 24.