• September 25, 2023

Queen Elizabeth II Quay Loses Momentum

Queen Elizabeth II Quay Loses Momentum
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Sierra Leone’s Queen Elizabeth the Second Quay since inception is famous for providing extra jobs outside the realm of government to hundreds of Sierra Leoneans far and wide in the capital, Freetown.

Taking into consideration, the public’s perception versus its realities about Sierra Leoneans that are opportune to gain employment, be it permanent, causal or extra jobs outside the realm of government, suddenly leapfrogs their current financial status to another level making many university graduates longing to work in such lucrative government offices.Therefore, the Queen Elizabeth II Quay at Cline Town, east end of Freetown, is generally regarded by citizens from across the country as one among the country’s many lucrative places of work to a point that relatives of those working at the quay see it as a source of pride for their ‘person’ to be working at the quay.

‘I used to tell my wife and children, that the quay is no longer what it used to be,’ a labourer in one of the rice stores of Community Trading Company (CTC) in Cline town intimated Forum News SL.

‘Since I dropped out of school at an early stage of education, I have been coming down the sea to make a living via manual labour. I have been in it close to twenty years now; it’s like a profession to me,’ Kenny Deen narrated.

He said he had witnessed governments come and go without the change the quay is known for. But with the government of president Julius Maada Bio, ‘things have changed to the point where they are being felt by even us labourers’.

He added that, ‘Not many ships are berthing like before; the more containers the more work for us.’

Kenny Deen could not ascertain the reason for such as according to him businessmen are complaining about tax and the rise in the cost of foreign exchange.

Vallicious Taylor, a private clearing and forwarding consultant for one of the business companies trading in baby’s food and provision, said not much business is coming into the country. According to her, their bosses normally tell them that the country is not stable, hence the reason many people are considering the pros and cons of importing large quantities of goods.

There are also issues around high tax and foreign exchange rate, they attributed as the reasons many indigenous importers have refrained from bringing larger quantities of consignment into the country.

‘For us, it has also been a while not importing goods,’ Taylor said to Forum News SL.

Many staff at the Queen Elizabeth II Quay, Customs and the National Revenue Authority (NRA) refrained from commenting on the reasons behind the drastic fall of in the number of goods coming into the country that include but not limited to consumable and non-consumable goods, for fear of them facing disciplinary administrative action.

However, they are of the option that something must be done to change the current ugly trend, if business is to thrive, they whispered to Forum News SL.

The SLPP Government, by the look of things, is bent on increasing the already existing unemployment population; the reason being that since they assumed political power they have done nothing or very little to cushion the unemployment rate but rather they went on a sacking spree of the few people that were already gainfully employed by the previous regime, a private consignee, name withheld, told this medium.

Since the days of the late Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabba to those of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s, none of their Commissioners General at the National Revenue Authority (NRA) had even talked about reviewing consignees’ operations except SLPP or Maada Bio’s recently appointed Commissioner General, Ibrahim Brima Swarray.

‘I will bet my life that the review process will not yield anything progressive but a loss of job for many,’ the consignee added.

Discussion around the newly appointed Commissioner General of the NRA’s intention to review the consignee’s operation is gradually becoming topical at the country’s Queen Elizabeth II Quay.

Many that have decided to choose being a consignee as a career path said the review process is a political witch hunt targeting a set of consignees, as opposed to all.

The executive of the Consignees Association declined for an interview on the said matter because they have decided to seek legal advice relating to the said matter.

However, they revealed to Forum News that business is not moving like it used to since the Bio administration was ushered in during the 2018 elections, to date.

Many consignees that interacted with Forum News attributed the unfavourable business condition to not only the increase in tax and the foreign exchange rates, but largely to the political dispute between the two political giants since 2018.

Many private companies within and around the quay are downsizing their staff on a regular basis for the same reason: unfavourable business condition, they revealed.

The glory, fame and respect that was associated to workers of the famous Queen Elizabeth II Quay at Cline Town, have gradually lessened as a result of the unfavourable business climate that has gripped the quay, customs and NRA since the announcement of the disputed 24th June,2023 presidential elections result.

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