By Amin Kef Sesay
Six Presidential appointees were approved on Thursday 30th July 2020 by Parliament after members debated the Fourth Report of the Third Session of its Committee on Appointments and Public Service, chaired by the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Sahr Nyuma.
The following presidential nominees were approved by Parliament:
Musa Timothy Kabba-Minister , Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, Ann-Marie Baby Harding-Deputy Minister, Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, David Nyamakoro Borbor-Director, Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Rev. Joseph Philip Khanda-Member, National Commission for Social Action (NACSA), Aiah A. Thomas-Member, National Commission for Social Action (NACSA),Madam Gladys Hasting-Spaine-Member, National Commission for Social Action (NACSA) and John Caulker-Member, National Commission for Social Action (NSCSA)
Seconding the motion, the Deputy Leader of Government Business, Hon. Bashiru Silikie urged the nominees to work in consonance with the agenda of President Bio for the development of the country. He singled out the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources and described him as “a young and dynamic leader”, whom he hoped would contribute more to development of that sector. He also commended the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources and encouraged her to apply all her energy to change the narrative relative to teamwork and effective collaboration. He referred to Mr. Borbor as “a very determined person”, and thanked President Bio for appointing qualified persons to serve in high offices of State.
Hon. Williams Joseph Lamin of SLPP congratulated President Bio for appointing his constituent, Mrs. Harding to serve and that he had no scintilla of doubt that she would perform in her new appointment. He used the opportunity to advise the nominees to work as a team for national development. He also called on nominees to make Sierra Leone attractive to investors.
Hon. Abdul Karim Kamara of APC informed the House that under the current dispensation, the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources had changed three Ministers in less than three years; adding they are concerned as opposition who believes in the concept of continuity in governance. He described the new Minister of Mines as a “humble servant”, whom he hoped would succeed in his new appointment; whilst reminding the House of the closure of mines in Lunsar. He appealed to the Minister to reopen and revamp the Marampa Mines again; saying “the development of a third world economy is dependent on mining”, which has the potential to create employment opportunities for indigenes.
Hon. Neneh Lebbie of SLPP said the nominees are qualified and that their approval bears no controversy. She referred to the Deputy Minister of Mine as a “woman of substance”, who has the capacity and a proven record to perform. “She is a game changer”, she revealed and said that the Ministry has a lot of challenges for which she urged her to use her acumen to transform the situation and make the women proud. “With your success in that Ministry, more women will gain appointments from President Bio”, she concluded.
Leader of NGC, Hon. Dr. Kandeh Yumkella recalled the geological survey conducted by Government relative to identifying, exploring, and managing the minerals in Sierra Leone in light of communication, transparency, and accountability to the people of Sierra Leone. Expressing concerns on transparency and accountability, he called on the Minister to restore the dignity and rights of the people by reviewing some of the mining regulations.
Leader of C4C, Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina thanked President Bio for appointing one of the nominees who hailed from Kono District. He used the opportunity to call the attention of the Mines Minister and his Deputy to review the mining regulations for national benefits. He expressed admiration for the current Minister for being a multi-linguist and encouraged him to use such a flare to attract more investors and promote development in the country. He asked them to ease bottlenecks on artisanal mining and review mining contracts to benefit the people of Sierra Leone.
Leader of Opposition, Hon. Chernor Bah said they endorsed the approval of the nominees, and reminded nominees to the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources of the critical nature of their appointments. He urged the Minister and deputy to under-study the problems that have caused the quick removal of previous ministers before taking their seats. The Opposition Leader assured the other nominees of their support, saying that “their doors are always open”.
He also called the attention of the Ministers to the altercation engendering between National Minerals Agency (NMA) and their Ministry for serious consideration. He advised the Minister to use consultation and negotiation to solve problems and assured him of parliament’s support as and when necessary.
The Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Nyuma thanked the opposition for their support during the approval of the nominees. He noted they are aware of an issue regarding insubordination of NMA to the Ministry of Mines, the supervisory body to NMA; adding the Committee on Mines in Parliament should intervene and correct this anomaly. He said they have no iota of doubt in the Minister of Mines in respect of managing the affairs of the Ministry.
He asked the Director of FIU to work hard like his predecessor, and emphasized on team work and collaboration. He said the Deputy Minister of Mines has the capacity to support the Minister to transform the mining situation for national development. “Mr. Minister be responsible enough to look at some of these mining agreements”, he stated and urged the Deputy to give him administrative support.
The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu congratulated the nominees on their approval and urged them to execute their duties in the best interest of the State; and particularly called on the Minister of Mines in light of revelations made by MPs to address the daunting challenges in that sector.
Relating to the leadership brouhaha in C4C, the Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu had earlier ruled based on a correspondence he had received and examined that in line with provisions in the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone and the House’s rules of procedure; “the content of that correspondence is not properly seated, void and is of no effect and that Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina is still recognized as the Leader of C4C in the current Parliament assembled”.
In another development, the Parliament of Sierra Leone on Thursday 30th July 2020 debated and committed the Bill entitled: “The Consumer Protection Act, 2020”, to the Legislative Committee for further scrutiny.
The Act is seeking to provide for the protection and promotion of the interest of consumers and provide for the establishment of the National Consumer Commission and other related matters.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Edward Hinga Sandy said the objective of the Bill is to enhance the protection and rights of consumers in a free market economy; to address issues surrounding a restricted market, and to allow a free flow market in respect of consumer protection in Sierra Leone.
Contributing, Hon. Veronica K. Sesay described the Bill as “a good initiative of Government” relative to consumer; adding it is non-controversial and in line with international best practices.
Other MPs who spoke to the Bill commended the Ministry of Trade for bringing it to the House in order to address issues relating to consumer rights and that it bears no controversy.
Leaders of the House welcomed the initiative of Government to protect the rights of consumers and spoke on the need of a “consumer court” to seek the welfare of the consumers.