29 May 2019

Sierra Leone: Debate On Presidential Address - C4C MP Urges Increment On Primary School Subsidy

As Members of Parliament commenced the first allotted day to debate on the Presidential address on the State Opening of Parliament, the opposition Coalition for Change (C4C) lawmaker, Hon. Paul Saa Sam of Constituency 25, Kono District, has urged government through the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, to increase school subsidy per child from Le10, 000 to Le50, 000 so that the free quality education would be sustained.

Speaking in the Well on Monday, the lawmaker said the foundation of every child begins at primary school; hence teachers in those schools should be encouraged as most of them are volunteers and do receive stipends through those subsidies.

He urged the minister to look into the issue properly; adding that most of the schools in remote villages were community owned and contained mainly unqualified teachers drawn from within those localities.

He noted that most of the qualified teachers declined to go into the villages to teach, a development he said has the tendency to undermine the Free Quality Education.

Dilating on the issue of exchange rate, the lawmaker said government should look into it as most times when the exchange rate increases, traders increase prices of commodities in the market with drivers doing same.

He urged government to look into the loans given to farmers by the International Funds for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as payment for those loans were collected on a monthly basis and causing lots of problems for farmers.

He said most farmers cannot afford to be paying on a monthly basis and that government needed to put measures in place if IFAD should succeed.

He commended IFAD for the rehabilitation of feeder roads as it gives farmers access to market and cut down exportation of goods to foreign countries.

He urged for a policy for cattle rearers as most times their animals destroy crops, a development he said was causing shortage of food.

He noted that there were always controversies among farmers and cattle-rearers.

However, the debate couldn't start on time as heads of various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were not present.

Meanwhile, Acting Leader of the main opposition All People's Congress in Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Ben. Kargbo, moved a motion for the House to be stood down, stating that it has been the norm for MDAs to report late whenever debate on presidential address or budget speech commenced.

He said the issues that would be raised by MPs should be heard and noted by MDAs.

But the Secretary to Cabinet, John Sumalia apologized for the absence of Heads of MDAs, stating that most of them might not have heard or read the notice sent out by the Clerk, thus promising their availability in the next sessions of the debate.

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