One of the leading flag-bearer aspirants of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, has informed that Sierra Leone is still experiencing post-conflict attributes almost fourteen years after the civil conflict officially ended in 2002.
Delivering lectures on the “Challenges of Economic Recovery and Diversification” at the Bo Club on Saturday 28thNovember, 2015, where he was given a rousing welcome by party supporters and comrades, Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella disclosed that the recent World Bank Report on Sierra Leone states that the country is still experiencing the attributes of post-war situation like unemployment among the youths who form the bulk of the country’s population, corruption and weak national cohesion.
He said the country’s economy is in trouble and that it shrank in June this year by 24 percent.
According to Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, all the big projects in Sierra Leone over the last ten years are collapsing, adding that ADDAX is going, OCTEA is going and commercial banks are in trouble.
The erstwhile Director General of UNIDO and UN Secretary General’s Representative on Sustainable Energy for All furthered that contractors who took mouth-watering loans to pre-finance their contracts are in big trouble, noting that the high youth unemployment is alarming.
He reiterated that the post-conflict attributes means that Sierra Leoneans are in trouble and will not live the life others are living in countries with better economies.
“In my time Government gave us scholarships to study overseas but in your own time it is no possible. We have more riches than before but we are poorer than we were,” Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella told a jam-packed hall at Bo Club in the Kortugbuma Section.
He said when he was with the UN, his colleagues used to provoke him about the persistent poverty in Sierra Leone.
Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella blew his mind: “Even when we went to Ivory Coast that is also a post-conflict country, we saw the youths being employed but in Sierra Leone, the youths will tell you ‘Pa u borbor dae ya o!’ This is what spurred me up to resign and return home to contribute to national development.”
He disclosed that US$1bn will be provided for the post-Ebola Economic Recovery Programme and that banks will be given money for people and institutions to borrow, stressing that Sierra Leoneans need to know how the money is going to be spent.
Alhaji Dr. Yumkella also spoke on the systemic efficiency of the national economy or the need to re-invest proceeds from one resource in other areas instead of relying on that resource alone.
“If you have iron ore, invest in other areas so that you will not depend on iron ore alone,” he informed.
The former senior UN official hinted that the country is not using its economy well as a result of fiscal irresponsibility.
Earlier, the Bo District Coordinator of the KKY Movement, Mr. Raymond Amara, welcomed the audience to the lectures and appealed to them to listen attentively and ask pertinent questions.
Chairman of the occasion was the former Mayor of Bo, Dr. Wusu Sannoh, who asserted that when good people fail to do anything, evil will thrive.
“I won’t sit by to see what our ancestors have achieved to be destroyed because we have failed to do something to rectify the situation,” Dr. Wusu Sannoh said.
He praised Alhaji Dr. Yumkella for his academic brilliance and great achievements at international level, adding that people will be rewarded according to their contributions to their respective communities.
Hon. Eric Jumu, who introduced the Guest Speaker, Alhaji Dr. Yumkella, declared that he is part and parcel of the KKY Movement “because I support a noble cause. I’m part of this movement.”
He recalled their days of camaraderie when he was Acting Senior Prefect of Bo School whilst Alhaji Dr. Yumkella was also Senior Prefect of Christ the King College (CKC) in 1977, as well as some of the incidences that occurred when they were school boys.
“All of us behind KKY are making no mistakes because he is Bo Town man through and through; a 1st Class Honours at Njala University and married to the daughter of the First Lady of Bo,” Hon. Eric Jumu said.
He urged students to learn from KKY as he is fondly called, noting that he is their hope, trust and all.
“Listen and see what a President is and not masquerading. He is also religious and please talk to our people to support KKY,” Hon. Eric Jumu said.