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Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Like NPA, Like EDSA

Even with the privatization of the National Power Authority (NPA) and the emergence of the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) the general public is still facing serious challenges with regards accessing and enjoying stable, reliable and dependable power supply in the capital city of Freetown.
The high cost of unit, high cost of meters, forcing people to sometimes bribe before getting meters, delay in installation of meters, poor customer service and the recent tampered code are all serious bottlenecks that are causing undue suffering on customers.
Every day customers will have to queue at Falcon Bridge complaining of Tampered code but nothing serious is been done by EDSA to address it.
Last year, EDSA increased the price of social band to179%, the commercial rate for electricity was increase from Le 1,641kWh, to Le1, 795 which is a 9% increment and the institutional tariff was also increased from Le1, 526kWh to Le1, 678kWh all in the name of raising more revenue to provide better services to customers, but to the annoyance of many much improvement has not been realized. It is a huge burden for someone to electrify a newly built house in Freetown.
With all the funds received from the World Bank, Government and even revenue generated, EDSA is still grappling. Community residents have to spend millions of Leones on their own for to install terminals poles and cables within their areas in order to be connected to the EDSA grid a risk factor which at times leads to fire disasters in the city.
There are some communities within the city where electricity supply cannot even put on a television and in other instances destroy electrical appliances. In some cases the EDSA power will go on and off for the rest of the day.
With just few points mentioned in the story I think EDSA is enjoying extorting money from customers and create more suffering for them. The Ministry of Energy should step up to monitor the activities of EDSA.

Housemates Salone Goes Viral

With the huge and electrifying momentum that the Big Brother Housemates Salone is ascending it has currently become the widely talked about event in the country and has indeed gone viral. Workers, school pupils, students, market women and traders are heatedly discussing it in different circles, even in Ataya Bases, with candour and varying views.
Although some have been arguing that Big Sister was more captivating and entertaining, however, thorough and sustained investigations cum research mounted in different parts of the country revealed that majority of individuals are really commending the organizers of the TV Reality Show, African Young Voices (AYV) and Africell for packaging and rolling out what they described as a very extra-ordinary and breath-taking entertainment show, Big Brother Housemates Salone, which is aired live on AYV Television Channel 34.The conclusion one could draw from the perceptions of the majority that were interviewed is that the ongoing show is BIG and INTERESTING to watch.
Presently, there are 22 Housemates in the House and these talented young female and male competitors are doggedly doing their best by displaying their talents in order to gain the support of viewers who have been offered the opportunity to vote via Africell Number 5500 to determine those Housemates that will reach the climax of the competition and the ultimate winner.

The competing Housemates are expected to display strong language, nudity and humour which must highly impress viewers to vote for them.
From what was learnt this 1st Season of the 2019 Housemates Salone TV Reality Show is becoming interesting and thrilling as the hopeful Housemates continue to delight viewers, displaying humour, ignorance laced by the funny ways of acting and behaving in the House.
It is also expected that the Housemates should endeavour not to be too rude or temperamental but rather comport themselves well even under provocative circumstances.

In a recent development, the organizers 10 contestants were evicted on the Prime Eviction Show past Sunday 24th February 2019 – Live on AYV TV at 8 PM. It was an emotional moment for those that were evicted evident in some of them shedding tears but the good thing is that they have gained exposure and parted with some cash at hand.
What is really at stake for the competitors is the star prizewhich is Le100, 000,000 but for each day a Housemate stays in the House he or she is entitled to bag Le100, 000.
The discussions within various circles around the country continue to gain momentum with the expression of divergent views about different aspects of the Reality Show.
“The Housemates 2019 Reality TV contest is very moving. Indeed, this country has young people who are really creative and well talented,” Foday Dabor a trader on Rawdon Street in Freetown commended furthering that the incorporation of disable competitors, one of them blind, is pointer to the fact that disability is not inability.

“The Reality Show depicts inclusiveness as the Housemates are not only drawn from residents in Freetown which is indeed in the best interest of national cohesion,” Aisha Turay, a young Banker intimated candidly adding that it has indeed put the country on the international spotlight which is very good within the context of rebranding its image.

NP Continues to Make Waves

The National Petroleum (NP) Company is undoubtedly one of the most ‘battle-tested’ but very successful companies that this country should be proud of. Without any iota of exaggeration, it is very incontestable to posit that for a company like NP, which is exclusively owned by Sierra Leonean shareholders, to attain such a status is a feat that is worthy of high commendation.
Interestingly, the owners of NP are mainly staff of the former British Petroleum Company which sold its shares to the Sierra Leonean Government years back. However, in 1996 Government sold its 60% shares in NP to some members of staff who were working for the company. Again it was made known that 55 % was paid upfront from the end of service benefits of workers from BP and the 5% offered to all the other workers. Thus the company known as LEONEOIL was formed.
The 55% sale of Government shares to NP came as a result of the World Bank’s advice to privatize the latter. It was also revealed that among the 4 companies that bided, which include ELF, LEONOIL won the international competitive bidding conducted by Arthur De Little, a United States based Management consultancy firm hired by the World Bank.
It is important to note that World Bank, which advised Government to privatize NP, monitored the bidding process for the three international companies and one local company that competed and noted that LEONEOIL which metamorphosed to NP met all the criteria set.
These members of staff were indeed serious enough to properly manage the company to such an extent that, unlike others, it survived most of the challenges that it had been encountering throughout the years it has been in existence.
Investigations mounted revealedthat the ‘40% PMMC’s stake in the company, owned by the late Jamil Sahid Mohammed and Tony Yazbeck, was given as collateral for a loan from a Bank by one of the parties.
Jamil Sahid Mohammed sold to Cape Oil PMMC’s 40% shares to offset a fidelity loan but LEONE OIL took offence and went to court with the complaint that the move was in violation of the M and A which dictates that the other side has the first option to buy. The High Court subsequently gave judgement in favour of Leone oil.
Rumours making the round that NP has a monopoly over the petroleum market are misleading as there are other Marketing Companies registered with the Petroleum Agency, marketing petroleum products in the country namely.
Petro-Leone is a storage company developed by both Addax and Leone Oil so that petroleum products will always be available in the country and avert shortage. Experts further stated that if such a venture is frustrated the country will return to the former state of shortage of fuel and long queues will once more surface across the country.
The company has provided and is still providing jobs for Sierra Leoneans and it was understood that workers’ conditions of service are very good. Besides, NP is one of the large tax payers to the National Revenue Authority (NRA) and by extension is positively fulfilling its Corporate Social Responsibility. We can safely conclude that the company is largely contributing to overall national development
As it now stands NP is operating in neighbouring Liberia and there are plans underway for additional expansion that shall take place both within and outside the country.

Kao Denero’s ‘Green Gold’ Track to Hit ‘You Tube’ Big Time

It is indisputable that the entertainment industry in this country is growing by leaps and bounds as old and new artists continue to produce tantalizing, soul touching and moving musical tracks as well as captivating movies and other entertaining stuffs.
Though the trend is welcoming, however, online streaming is not really fully made use of and disappointedly it is abysmally utilised in Sierra Leone. This kind of situation is obviously bound to affect the popularity of our arts. Our local entertainers are virtually unpopular online, likewise their works. It’s extremely difficult to see a Sierra Leonean music video hit over 500k views on YouTube and other social media channels, least to mention 1 million views.
It is documented that in recent times one music video has enjoyed such popularity. Arkman’s ‘Vanity’ video hit 1 million views on YouTube in November 2018 after 3 years stream.

Within the music landscape it has been established, Denis Amara Turay, aka Kao Denero Kao is a very controversial rapper who is popular among young people.

Recently he, together with Runtown, released a music video titled ‘Green Gold’ which seems to be joining the line of widely viewed video on You Tube. Watched and listened to keenly, one will realize that the main theme and trust of this musical video is centred on medicinal marijuana in which it is highlighted the herb has the potency to cure or mitigate the debilitating effects of certain illnesses.
According to a musical analyst indeed ‘Green Gold’ is fast approaching to 1 million views in just 2 months adding that If this video strikes 1 million views in 3 months, it will be the fastest Sierra Leonean music video to hit 1 million views.
The video, Green Gold, was shot in Freetown in November 2018 by a renowned Nigerian video maker, Patrick Ellis, featuring a notable model, Naomi Kay and others. Kao uploaded the video on YouTube on the 10th December 2018 on his KaoDenero1 channel.
It is hoped that with the success of ‘Green Gold’, many other videos will start trending online.
‘Green Gold’ has just add a feather to Kao Denero’s cap as it is his biggest video ever produced followed by ‘Hakuna Matata’, a video he released 2 years ago, now trailing with 288k.
It has been argued that the video or track he did with Busy Signal ‘Ghetto Struggle’ cannot match this latest video.

Unspoiled Sierra Leone reaches out to ecotourists

White-sand beaches in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

However, this melting pot of colorful cultures with it buzzing capital, tropical rainforest, unforgettable wildlife and white-sand beaches definitely deserves its place in the glossy travel magazines.
The Sierra Leone National Tourist Board and Ministry of Tourism recently told the press at World Travel Market in London that the country wanted to change its narrative and improve its national image. The minister even mentioned the country has high hopes for tourism to become the lead industry.
In an age where travelers are increasingly looking for off-the-beaten-track, unknown and authentic experiences, Sierra Leone truly checks all the boxes. The country features long stretches of empty and uninterrupted beaches, unique cultural experiences and unforgettable wildlife.
The most beautiful beach in Africa can be found near Tokeh, according to Sierra Leone locals. Tokeh is a small coastal village on the Western Area Peninsula. Locals are always happy to invite travelers to join them on a fishing trip, show them how they smoke fish or invite them to have a drink in the Palmwine Bar. Tokeh is home to a large resort called “The Place,” and there are other accommodations available, as well.
Sierra Leone’s 250 miles of pristine Atlantic coastline is dotted with little “hidden” islands: Sherbro is the biggest, while the three Banana Islands lie just across from Freetown. Bunce Island, in Freetown’s massive natural harbor, is the most developed, and the Turtle Islands are the most unspoiled.
Sierra Leone’s islands show incredible potential when it comes to ecotourism. The previously forgotten Tasso Island, for example, lies at the heart of one of Africa’s most precious wetlands, the Sierra Leone River Estuary.
Tasso Island has its own camp, which is run by the Tasso Ecotourism Project, a community business that aims to bring new jobs and livelihoods to the 5,000 islanders who currently rely entirely on fishing. The camp features five wooden beachside chalets and a restaurant built around the trunk of a baobab tree. Tasso Island is a great base for local walks, and exploration of the estuary.
Meanwhile, the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary, in the central-south part of the country, reportedly offers the second-highest concentration of primates in the world. Rare and endangered species such as the Diana monkey and the pygmy hippopotamus can be found in the sanctuary.
Visitors to Tiwai Island can spend a few days hiking through beautiful natural settings, learning about the rich cultural and historical heritage of the Mende people. The Heritage Trail on the island is a community-created and -managed experience that will introduce visitors to the everyday life of the communities that surround the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Kambama village is usually the starting point for all Heritage Trails on Tiwai Island. In Kambama, there is a blacksmith who is essential to the working life of all villagers, an herbalist who is knowledgeable in herbal medicines, and an eco-campsite that was created and is now run by the town speaker, Chief Hindowa Kamara, and other community members.
The most remote community on the heritage trail, Segbewema can only be accessed by bush trails and has retained some of the mysterious qualities of Sierra Leone’s rural communities. Characterized by its small, tightly built thatch huts, this village is a window into times past. It is possible, on the heritage trail, to enjoy a homestay at Segbewema and experience how people live their daily lives.
The main ecotourism drawcard for Sierra Leone, however, remains the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. It is famous for its rehabilitation efforts for domesticated chimps. The sanctuary opened in 1995, although the story started long before that. In 1988, the owners, Bala and Sharmila Amerasekaran, bought a sick chimpanzee on the street and nursed it back to health. This was a life-altering experience, as their fondness and knowledge of these animals grew. They later discovered the dangers that chimpanzees face in Sierra Leone and how they are treated in captivity, and over the years their hard work transpired into the creation of the sanctuary that stands today.

Today, most chimps that arrive at the sanctuary are less than five years old and would normally still be suckling milk from their mothers. Many are mistreated by their owners, injured, malnourished or disabled; they have been abandoned or illegally sold as pets.
Travelers can visit the sanctuary and see the chimps on a guided forest walk. But the sanctuary offers more than only site visits. Tacugama aims to be at the forefront of preserving Sierra Leone’s remaining wildlife through education, community support and ecotourism. Tacugama has become an eco-tourism hub with six ecolodges and a variety of activities for both tourists and locals. There are many routes around the beautiful surroundings of Tacugama offering hikers a range of day trails and paths to explore, peaks to summit and views to take in.
Sierra Leone won’t stay a secret for long. Advise your clients to visit this beautiful part of Africa before everyone discovers this beautiful country.

A chimpanzee at Sierra Leone’s Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Pres. Bio assures Gambians

His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has assured journalists in Banjul, capital of the Republic of The Gambia, that because African leaders are fulfilling their promises he is hopeful of politics in Africa.

He made the statement while he and his host, President Adama Barrow, were addressing a joint press conference as part of his state visit to the West African nation celebrating her fifty-fourth Independence Day this week.

“The dynamics in African politics is gradually changing because leaders are now building powerful institutions that will force them to deliver on their promises of sustainable development. My visit here is to widen, deepen and to further strengthen the relationship that Sierra Leone and The Gambia have enjoyed for a very long time,” he stated.

President Bio also noted that The Gambia was known for her safest destination for tourism and was, therefore, looking at the cultural infrastructure of the country so that he could model some of them to add more value to what the tourism sector in Sierra Leone is offering at the moment.

“My colleague President Barrow and I will be looking at possibilities in areas like fisheries, agriculture, education, trade and industry because the two countries can benefit a lot from these sectors,” he said and urged his counterpart to pay attention to building the future.

He said that Sierra Leone had listened to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established in 2002 as a condition of the Lomé Peace Accord in the wake of the 11-year civil war, and hoped that injustice and massive corruption would never trigger any other war again.

“To make my governance very effective, I have instituted the Commissions of Inquiry, not just to hold past government officials to the scrutiny of accountability but to also put officials of my administration on their toes so that all of us will not fail to meet the expectations of those who elected us for change,” he said.

His Excellency President Adama Barrow also told newsmen that during his presidency, The Gambia would be open for new ideas and that was why working with the President of Sierra Leone President, Julius Maada Bio, was timely. He confirmed that the country played a major role in resolving the impasse associated with the last elections in The Gambia.

“It is good we are working together because Africa is now speaking with one voice and for a common goal. The Gambia and Sierra Leone are going to focus on education, trade, tourism and agriculture for the development of the two countries. We have to embrace Sierra Leone because they have accepted democracy, having transferred political power democratically for five times now. We should change our mind-sets and learn from other nations,” he said.

President Adama Barrow further explained that Sierra Leone and the Gambia had witnessed a military regime, war and transfer of power, adding that he was pleased with the visit of his colleague and hoped to continue to compare notes for effective governance.

Saffa Abdulai takes Football to a higher Level

Under the astute and capable leadership of Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, who is the current Chairman of the Premier League Board, football has been elevated to another level after a long period that it was in coma due to wrangling among major stakeholders whose business it was to promote
This dynamic young man has demonstrated the passion, courage and dogged determination to ensure that the game is properly restored and taken to a higher level.
Undoubtedly, the Premier League is going on very smoothly in different parts of the country and there has never been any major incidence of foul play or hitches that might have set it back albeit minor ones which is quite understandable
The premier league is taking place outside of the control of the Sierra Leone Football Association which is presently in turmoil with two of its top executives on trial for corruption and a ban from FIFA.
Saffa has vowed to bring local football back for the fans. The League is getting financial support in the absence of FIFA.
Various matches are broadcast on national TV, radio, and online. “Those who could not be in the stadium, fans in the diaspora are always tuned in online to watch AYV broadcast and stream on its website, mobile app and Facebook,” the PLB Chairman intimated.
The league is a welcome respite from the political issues of the day. As of now the SLPP and APC politicians are supporting the same local teams intermittently taking their attention off politics.

“Indeed what makes football a beautiful game is less about what happens on the pitch but more about the bond it creates amongst people,” Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai mentioned with pride.

Dysfunctional X-Ray Machine Hinders Service Delivery

Of great concern to the public with respect to the delivery of health care services to patients, is the state of the X-Ray machine at the country’s Teaching hospital, Connaught, in central Freetown. Patients who have been referred to the unit for X-Ray have been disappointed to learn that the machine is not in working order and should therefore go to private hospitals that have functional machines to do their x-rays and bring the results to the doctors for further examination and diagnosis.
During a visit to the hospital this week, this medium observed that a good number of patients were awaiting the technicians to do their x-rays. One patient said that after wasting time going from place to place as they were being referred by nurses, they were finally told that the machine was faulty and has been out of order for quite some while now. He further disclosed that they were told to go to a private clinic (any) to do the x-ray and bring the results for analysis and diagnosis.
At a private clinic along Bathurst Street in central Freetown, this medium again discovered that many patients do not have the money to pay for the x-ray. Lamentably, one woman who had come for x-ray at that clinic was told that the stipulated fee for the x-ray is Le150, 000. Not having that amount the woman pleaded with the officials there to accept what she had on her and for the sake of humanity, help her. This they stoutly refused to do and the poor woman walked away frustrated and dejected. Among the patients who were at the hospitals waiting for x-ray, concerns were being raised that a poor man waiting to be x-rayed will only die if he depends on the Connaught x-ray service. One concerned citizen, adding his voice to the discussion, wondered how many patients may have died for want of x-ray.
In another development, this medium learnt that the CD 4 Count Cartridge used in the laboratory to determine the quality of the blood cells in HIV patients is not available in the laboratory. According to medical technicians, this cartridge is used in the CD 4 Count machine to examine the quality and quantity of the red and white blood cell of the blood taken from the patient. This implies then that people, believed to have contracted diseases, are being treated on medication that may need to be changed to suit the quantity and quality of the Red and White blood cells in their blood. During our investigations, it was learnt that this situation has been in existence for quite some time now and no action has been taken to address it.

Effective Overhauling makes SLBL more Vibrant

The Sierra Leone Brewery Limited (SLBL) has successfully completed the overhauling process that it embarked on late last year in a venture that was geared towards bringing it to a state of the art status. The company’s machines were effectively overhauled and effective maintenance was done to its bottling plant.
SLBL employed the services of Krones, a German firm that specializes in the supply and modernization of plants, together with a large team of SLBL’s locally trained Sierra Leonean engineers, to undertake the process which has now been completed..
In a snap interview with Daaf van Tilburg, Managing Director of Sierra Leone Brewery Limited, he maintained,, “Maintenance and high standards are an important part of our company’s culture. The objective was to renew the packaging equipment based upon international best practice and manufacturing excellence principles. With this, the upgraded bottling line is now more efficient and capable of producing more of our products with the same high international standards in the upcoming years which our revered consumers will continue to be proud of.”
It will interest readers to note that prior to the overhauling and maintenance work SLBL has been on a large scale investment programmme which started since 2015 in order to expand capacity, maintain high quality and ensure environmental safety which saw the investments in brand new massive Fermentation Storage Tanks (FST), waste water treatment plant, mash filter equipment, CO2 and Cooling plants and the most recent canning line introduction which is the first in Sierra Leone.
According to Albert Ojo Collier the Corporate Relations Manager of the company, the brand new canning packaging line that was recently commissioned is in perfect working order and stocks from the canning line will fill any shortage that may arise. .
He further intimated that the overhaul has made it possible for their bottling plant to have the refreshed capacity and efficiency to produce high quality products for the upcoming years.
He assured that they will continue to distribute all of their award-winning quality products to satisfy current and future consumers’ demand in the country and contribute to Government’s efforts to support and boost local investments and manufacturing.
The Sierra Leone Brewery Limited is one of the oldest companies that have been operating in this country and it is still vibrant. Sierra Leone Brewery Limited planted its roots in the field of manufacturing alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to consumers over 57 years ago. The company has continuously expanded its product range through innovation to meet customer satisfaction at all levels. Their Mission is to establish not just a contractual relationship with stakeholders but to build relationships which are lasting and rewarding to the country and to contribute to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product GDP.
All their products are certified and following all the regulations as per approved local and international standards. SLBL manufactures Star Beer, Mutzig Premium Beer, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, Salone beer, Trenk Energy Drink and Maltina Non-Alcoholic. They also market Heineken Beer, Strong Bow Cider, Fayrouz malt none alcoholic drink, Royal Club range of soft drinks and Climax Energy Drink.

Housemates Salone Captivate the Public

The House is everyday becoming lively and very interesting as the 22 Housemates are doing their utmost best to captivate the attention of the general populace who have the opportunity, via voting using the Africell Number 5500 to determine the ultimate winner of this premier competition organized by the African Young Voices (AYV) and Africell.
Sounding the views of majority of the citizenry as to what they make of the TV Reality show which is aired live on the AYV Television Channel 34, most of them agreed that they are really enjoying the competition, furthering that it is somehow exposing the country and bringing to the fore, natural talents of young people providing an empowerment platform.
What are sought are displaying strong language, nudity and humour in a convincing manner which will put the contestants at a vantage position to win the affection of viewers. So far this 1st Season of the 2019 Housemates Salone TV Reality Show is becoming very much interesting and enjoyable as the Housemates continue to interact. However, the manner in which these Housemates control their emotions under stressful conditions will be closely watched and assessed by a competent panel of Judges.
From what was learnt from the organizers 10 contestants will be up for eviction on the Prime Eviction Show this coming Sunday – Live on AYV TV at 8 PM.
From the way the 22 Housemates are conducting themselves in the House they are very mindful of what is up for grabs which is Le100, 000,000.
As the days are going by all of them are frantically doing their best to ensure that at the climax of the competition one of them will emerge the successful winner.
Due to the fact that the competition is mainly eliminative in nature, the participation of the public by voting for the Housemates of their choice, based on their convictions that they are the fittest, is of paramount importance. It is therefore incumbent to vote through the Africell Toll Number 5500.
Those people whom this medium contacted praised AYV and Africell for coming up with this fine initiative saying that it must be polished and brought to high international standards.
“I am really in love with the Housemates 2019 Reality TV contest and truly enjoying every bit of it. I want the organizers to make it an annual event,” Fatu Dumbuya, a Fourah Bay College year 2 student suggested.

John Koroma opined that the contest, aired live on AYV TV which has gone international will help to rebrand Sierra Leone as well as contribute in dispelling negative notions held about the country.