• November 1, 2023

Hardship Bites Sierra Leoneans Deep!!

Hardship Bites Sierra Leoneans Deep!!
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As a journalist I am very concerned about the economic hardship in Sierra Leone. In an alleyway off in the streets of Freetown especially at Kissy Road, many beggars and traders are studiously hammering away at the chain of abject poverty. After I have taken a leg work in various communities/ streets, I was left with no option but absolutely conclude hardship is on the brink. Indeed, there is a profound feeling and smell of public dissatisfaction and suffering hanging like a dark cloud over the lives and destiny of Sierra Leoneans which need to be addressed NOW. Based on the various opinions gathered, the masses are suffering to the core.

When you see some of them, suffering and abject poverty is vividly written on their faces and even a blind man can read the poverty lines on their faces. Sitting and standing without hope and financial support, Matia Komba, a 32-year-old driver and former teacher says things are hard and economic hardship bites deep to the morrow. He said: “Really, we have all these minerals, but things are still hard. However, honestly, the government is trying on the side of education, but there are still problems on the table: no jobs for the youth, the fuel price is vastly increasing every day, economic hardship bites deeper…the president need to do more.”

Sierra Leone is among the poorest nations in the world. The population faces many challenges, ranging from poor sanitation services to rampant hunger. The majority of Sierra Leone families nowadays are extremely suffering under the Bio’s administration due to the skyrocketed of basic commodities across the country thereby unpopularizing the government and the people. Even locally produced foodstuffs, which are supposed to be cheap and affordable, are shockingly expensive. “Sierra Leoneans are suffering! Mr. President, those that are responsible to popularized and implements your projects are the same people sabotaging the New Direction government by working with corrupt officials across the country in the name of nepotism and tribes.

The percentage of Sierra Leoneans who supper from hunger is becoming unbecoming! The proportion of people who suffer from hunger was one of 8 millennium development goals adopted in the year 2000 following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations. Sierra Leone was one of 189 UN Member States who agreed to try to achieve these goals by the year 2015. Governments have come and go, but the fight against hunger remains unsolved. Over 80% of Sierra Leoneans are currently living below the poverty line. According to the United Nations Development Programme, it is vivid that Sierra Leone is not one of the countries to come even close to achieving that goal.

Moreover, unemployment rate is astronomically high and it has brought a sharp thorn in the flesh of the fledging economy. Moving things from the frying pan into the fire, the price of fuel constantly skyrocketing for almost every month.

Despite the interventions of several organizations like World Food Program Action against Hunger and the Food and Agriculture Organization, hunger still bites deep on the lives of Sierra Leoneans. Yes, globally, zero hunger is one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September, 2015. It is expected that this new set of goals will have been met by 2030, which gives Sierra Leone less than fourteen years to take another crack at improving the hunger situation.

Mr. President and Mr. Hon. Minister of Agriculture don’t forget to work on your flagship programme: Feed Salone.  In other words, your topmost priority in your second term is to ensure Sierra Leone is food self-sufficient within the next five years. Our dependence on food import makes us vulnerable and weakens our sovereignty. According to 2023 SLPP’ Manifesto: “The next SLPP government will boost agriculture productivity to fuel inclusive growth, boost food production, reduce hunger, boost export earnings, create jobs and build resilience.”

Before I rest my case for today, let me recommend to the Ministry of Agriculture that the agricultural sector strategic objectives and priority activities should include increased production and objectivity of staple food crops through value chain approach for food security, promote commercial agriculture; promote and increase the production and export of cash crops, and improve access to finance for farmers.

For the poor, having a meal is arduous nowadays. Even those who are working on minimum wages could hardly afford one nutritious meal a day let alone two for a small/ large family. Above all these, the downtrodden and the poorest, mostly unemployed in Sierra Leoneans today are the worst hit.

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