State House, Freetown, Wednesday 12 August 2020 - Head of the United Nations, UN, Country Team and Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Dr Sunil Saigal, has called at the presidency to bid farewell to His Excellency President Dr Julius Bio after a successful four-and-half-year stint in the country.
Dr Saigal, who would also be proceeding on retirement after 35 years of service with the UN, said that his tenure in the small West African nation had been exciting, adding that he was also privileged to witness a number of important landmark events in the history of the country. He commended the government and people of Sierra Leone for the hospitality and warmness and promised that that would remain with him in retirement.
He expressed tremendous appreciation to the government for the favourable standing of the UN systems in the country, adding that they were also appreciative of the readiness of government at all levels to engage and dialogue with them. He assured that the UN was a trusted partner to the country and expressed hope that his successor would continue to provide the necessary support to the government.
"We in the UN commend the government for its decisive actions that have been taken to prevent the early arrival of the COVID-19 in the country. We continue to stand by the government, both in its public health response and socio-economic response," he said.
UN's Dr Saigal and Sierra Leone's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nabeela Tunis
On his part, President Bio expressed gratitude to the out-going UN boss for the many things they had achieved together while he was in country, especially in the areas of sustainable agriculture and food security, climate change, good governance, expanded access to basic services - including education, health, water and sanitation and energy, protection and empowerment of the most vulnerable.
"You have been part of the many processes we have gone through. We are working so hard to keep the Medium-Term Development Plan on track even in the midst of COVID-19. You have played your own part here and I want to say thank you for being there for us even with the COVID-19 and wish you all the best.
"I want to thank the United Nations in Sierra Leone for the successful construction of a specialised COVID-19 treatment Centre at the 34 Hospital and handing over same to the Government of Sierra Leone as part of the UN's support to the national COVID-19 fight," he concluded.