Parliament Okays 8 Loan & Grant Agreements

 

By Aruna Rashed Toma Bangura

Members of Parliament have at their 1st sitting of the Second Session of the 5th Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone past Tuesday 21st May, 2019, approved and ratified eight financial loan and grant agreements.

In her contribution, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Patricia J. Laverley stated that the loan and grant agreements focus on two main areas which are water accessibility and agriculture, adding that the perfects cost over US$50 million (fifty-million United States Dollars) as it will help salvage the issues of water shortage and low harvest of agriculture produce.

According to the Deputy Minister of Finance, the proposed finance project costs US$175m with the African Finance Development Fund providing US$14m within the period of ten years. She added that the project will focus on rehabilitating and revamping of treatment water sites, integrate and improve water supply. The project, she further informed, will see the rehabilitation of one hundred and twenty water taps, construction of nine water treatment centres and the construction of seven water reservoirs countrywide, adding that this will see a 15% increase in safe water drinking.

On the aspect of agriculture, the Deputy Finance Minister intimated that the loan and grant agreement will bring to the fore high influx of agriculture produce especially on our staple food which is rice cultivation.

She continued that the agreements will not be first and last loan and grant as, according to her, more is expected, adding that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) undertook the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) based on the different economic strides been undertaken by the current government that will last for four years with ten years grace period.

The Acting Leader of the main opposition party All People’s Congress (APC), Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo stated that they as the majority MPs have proven continuously that they are dedicated to the development and success of the country and ruling party, adding that the various agreements are vital.

Hon I. B Kargbo maintained that Guma Valley Water Company needs to be expanded and must have national programme to stop those decapitating the Guma environment, adding that the government must improve water supply and meterize it. Sierra Leone, he said, should not rely on foreign countries to feed her citizens but must embark on commercialized agriculture.

Hon. Daniel Koroma of the APC party also said that Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC) is a non-profit making institution and not even cost recovery but below recovery, adding that the reason for the opposition’s objection is to address the issues as they want GVWC to succeed.

Hon. Abdul Kargbo said before the agreement are approved a deep knowledge of the Ministry must be known. He said GVWC cannot fund its projects as the money it collects does not exceed the money expended.

He said when GVWC imports its goods it pays custom fees but that the EGTC is given duty waiver.

The Deputy Leader of Government business, Hon. Mathew Nyuma said GVWC is constrained and therefore needs great assistance to be able to solve their problems with the various sectors.

He informed that the treatment dam at Mile 13 is almost at the brink of collapse, adding that deforestation continues to pose serious threat.

GVWC, he concluded is currently looking for US$700m to sustain its dam by 2030.