School Buses To Be Allocated Fairly – Says Transport Minister

In support of Sierra Leone’s free quality education flagship programmeof the Bio led government, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation this week announced that the fifty school buses bought by the government from China, will be fairly allocated across the country.

The Transport Minister,Kabineh M. Kallon made this announcement at the Ministry of Information and Communication’s weekly press briefing which was chaired by the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, MamadiGobeh Kamara.

Mr. Kallon said since the arrival of the fifty school buses, they have had several meetings with stakeholders including the Ministries of Finance, education, Local Government and all the District Councils countrywide, to discuss how many buses should be allocated to each district.

Mr. Kallon informed the press that the fifty buses cost US$4,980,000, manufactured by the Golden Dragon Company in China and insured by the National Insurance Company of Sierra Leone.

He said it has been decided that the buses will be allocated to the districts as follows: Kailahun 2, Kenema 5, Kono 3, Bombali 3, Koinadugu 1, Tonkolili 2, Falaba 1, Portloko 2, Karene 1, Kambia 1, Bo 6, Bonthe 1, Moyamba 1, Pujehun 1, Western Rural 5 and Western Urban 12, bringing the total allocated to 47. The remaining 3 buses he said, will be reserved for any emergency.

“During our meetings held with stakeholders, we agreed to set up committees to monitor the operation of the school buses. The committees comprise of the Chairman or Mayor of the district, the Director of Education, District Officers, Youth Representatives, Provincial Secretaries, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Women representatives, Sierra Leone Teachers Union (SLTU), and Sierra Leone Police (SLP). “The buses will be run on a cost recovery basis,’’ Minister Kallon said.

He added that the government would ensure that the daily bus fare per child will meet the affordability of parents, and will be agreed before the launching of the buses which is scheduled for the 13thSeptember, 2019.

The allocated buses will be made available to the districts a day or two before the launching ceremony which will be organised by the committee members of each district.

Mr. Kallon also informed that the bus manufacturing company has provided a month’s training for all the drivers and technicians.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation,Brima S.T Kebbie spelt it out clearly that theschool buses will only be used by government and government assisted school pupils, and will not be available for use by teachers and private schools.