By Amin Kef Sesay
The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, on Friday 21st August, 2020, launched the Safety net Support scheme in the Southern Region, Bo at the St. Francis Hall.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs William I.K. Robinson, chaired the program during which he welcomed dignitaries and participants and informed them on the commitment of the Ministry to promote sustainable tourism driven by the private sector including the local communities as custodians of the country’s unique tourism assets.
He continued that a message to heal the affected workers is on the way to be revealed by the Hon. Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, fondly known as Mama “Sharp’’ with sharp deliverables.
Representing the A.I.G. Southern Region, A.S.P. Mrs. Cecilia Koroma expressed appreciation, dilated on security assurance and re-emphasized compliance to COVID-19 measures.
His Worship the Mayor of Bo City Council, represented by the Deputy Chief Administrator, Arthur Alieu, conveyed warm welcome message from his Worship the Mayor the host and said that the safety net scheme in alleviating COVID- 19 impact on affected employees within the tourism Sector is timely.
Representative from the Bo District Council Mr. Sylvester Boima who happens to be the Procurement Officer, acknowledged the relevance of collaborative public-private partnership to promote the Hospitality Industry and admonished participants to believe in the process of Government.
On the purpose of the launch, the Director of Tourism, Mohamed Jalloh, informed that the program is a continuation of the national launch of the safety net support scheme on 13th August 2020 endorsing the Presidential recognition and interest to provide job security especially within the tourism sector that was gravely set back by COVID-19 pandemic. He also noted the importance of tourism as alternative to negative environmental activities.
The Resident Minister South, Hon. Mohamed Kondugba Alieu welcomed all and highlighted the challenges inherited from the past 10 years but stated that as a responsible Government efforts are on to provide the people with better public amenities. He further informed on the current electricity equipment installations in the region under his supervision.
Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt in her keynote address, acknowledged the tremendous support of H.E. the President Rtd .Brg. Dr. Julius Maada Bio to the Tourism Sector, the Ministry of Finance and other MDAs through a National Development Integrated Strategy in-cooperated by the Government.
She highlighted gains made by the tourism sector referencing increase in arrivals of tourists and receipt contributing to GDP growth stating that all were cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic health restrictions.
“Recognizing the Government’s interest to cushion the negative impact of COVID-19 on workers, this tourism social safety net scheme will cover three months basic salary to affected tourism employees whose names were submitted to NTB by their employers,” she underscored.
Closing thanks was delivered by a representative from the beneficiaries as the program was followed by disbursement of the safety net cash support to beneficiaries.