Sierra Leone’s Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, on Monday 12th June, 2023, worked in place of his boss, Chief Minister Jacob Jusu Saffa, to propagate the 2023 SLPP Big Five Manifesto among staff, and students of Njala University, Bo Campus.
Speaking at the Main Hall of Towama Location, Sierra Leone’s most esteemed and best Information and Communications Minister and Chairman of the Public Relations Committee for the SLPP 2023 campaign outlined the top priorities in President Bio’s New Direction: “Consolidating Gains and Accelerating Transformation” manifesto in terms of agriculture, human capital development, investment in youth employment schemes, revamping the public sector, and accelerating the use of technology and infrastructure.
“This manifesto is the result of a wide-ranging interaction that was led by the Chief Minister, who also serves as the Chairman of the Manifesto Committee. Since this is a manifesto with the interests of the people at its core, we engaged with traditional leaders, the student community, and other stakeholders. This document accurately captures all of those sentiments,” remarked Minister Swaray.
The President’s vision for Sierra Leone, according to Mr. Mohamed Rahman Swaray, is a progressive, peaceful, and united country where every Sierra Leonean can live and fulfill their full potentials. He added that every Sierra Leonean should identify with this broad national vision.
Stating the reason for taking the manifesto to Universities, the Minister hinted that the President had asked them to visit Njala University because of its special place in his heart and the knowledge that the students and staff there know the issues.
He listed a few of President Bio’s accomplishments from his first term and said that his second term would be dedicated to consolidating and expanding the progress already made by his Administration.
“This Government has invested in education more than any other Government before us. More students than ever before are enrolled in schools and universities. There are more universities here than you can imagine,” the Minister underscored. The reason for this, stressed Rado Swaray, is that the President allots 22% of the nation’s budget each year to support education. “Does this not convince you to vote for President Bio on June 24?” he asked.
Since food imports make up more than half of the country’s total imports, food production is, according to the Minister, Sierra Leone’s biggest challenge. He pointed out that the Government spends a staggering $250 million on rice imports alone. He claims that the excessive spending on rice imports has increased the demand for foreign currency. “Over 50% of our foreign exchange is used to import foodstuffs,” he continued.
The greatest approach to ease this burden, he continued, is to invest in agriculture, which will lower demand for foreign currency. He described how Njala University’s contribution will make Feed Salone a success.
The Minister also discussed the other Big Five Manifesto priority areas and later entertained questions from staff and students.