President Bio’s pace in repositioning the nation is being re-echoed and applauded locally and even internationally
ABUBAKAR HASHIM/Sierra Leone
Ambassador Umaru Wurie is the Special Adviser to President Julius Maada Bio and Ambassador At-Large at State House. By virtue of this position, he should have the ears and eyes of the President and he is among the Point Men in the President’s decision-making machinery. With the current economic challenges in the country, he remarked that the President is on track to regain economic stability and educational prowess as a country once known as “the Athens of West Africa”.
The current economic woes, resulting in the rapid increase of the foreign exchange rate, has been cushioned, last week by a $ 5 million injection by the Central Bank, through the Commercial Banks, bringing a slight relief in the exchange rate and the availability of forex in the country. Alhaji Wurie maintained that “the drastic economic measures taken by President Bio-led government are necessary as it will soon get the economy back on track.
Revealing that such measures are not strange in world politics, he recalled similar measures taken in Germany immediately before the chancellorship of Angela Merkel when Germany was in turmoil. So also in the USA, when Obama took similar drastic corrective measures when he came to power in 2008 to revive an ailing American economy that had been hit by the global financial meltdown. This crisis caused countries like Greece to go down completely. Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and other Western Countries were forced to take drastic economic recovery measures which were painful, leading to millions of workers and ordinary people feeling the pinch.
It is along this economic growth path, Ambassador Wurie maintained, that President Bio will re-energize the Sierra Leone economy that, as he puts it “was in shambles and on the brink of collapse, with an external debt of $ 2 Billion and domestic debt of about Le 10 Trillion Leones”
Revealing further the steps taken by his boss, Wurie maintained that “by centralizing all revenue collected into a single treasury account, suspension of all new employments and purchase of government vehicles, proper taxation of timber exports and lately, allowing liberalization of the fuel market which frees government from spending about 250 Billion Leones annually on subsidizing the cost of fuel, which will now be used to finance the free education scheme recently launched”.
Sounding up-beat, he remarked that these measures have bore fruits as government no longer pay salaries from over drafts. The hardship on the citizens will soon come to pass as investor confidence has now been regained.
On the issue of lawlessness, corruption and indiscipline in both the public and private sectors, Alhaji Wurie remains confident that his boss, being once a General in the Sierra Leone Army and a once Head of State, will continue the fight against corruption and indiscipline which are the hallmarks of Sierra Leone’s underdevelopment.
The formation of a Nigerian-led Commission of Inquiry into the past government financial dealings, as recommended by the Governance Transition Team (GTT) report, Wurie asserted, will render corruption with impunity a thing of the past. “We are a small country, about 7 million people, with vast resources. So we do not have business with poverty if we plan our resources and do away with corruption with impunity”, he further remarked.
The new development of the sudden reduction of the dollar rates in the country is the beginning of the determined efforts of the President in clearing up the economic landscape of the country, maintained Wurie, who was one time High Commissioner to Nigeria in the 90s.
He further revealed that the much talked about Commission of Inquiry is not a witch-hunt of the past government, maintaining that it has happened in several countries in the past, like in South Korea, where the former Government functionaries were found guilty of corruption-related cases. It is also on-going in Nigeria and in other courtries. It has also recently happened in Bangladesh. The commission of inquiry will set a precedent even to officials in our government, he concluded.
Ambassador Wurie had served all previous governments, which qualifies him as true nationalist and patriot.