His Excellency Julius Maada Bio has said that the Sierra Leone Port Terminal is now primed to handle the nation’s growth.
The President was speaking at the official launch of the expansion of the Freetown Terminal Project, which was done by Bollore Transport and Logistics Company, on Friday 23rd November 2018, at the Queen Elizabeth Water Quay, in Freetown.
Whilst delivering his keynote statement, President Bio, who started off in French and later ended in English, spoke about the long felt positive impact of the French in Sierra Leone. He said the French are currently contributing greatly in the economy of Sierra Leone, naming Total, Air France and Bollore as leading French businesses in the country.
President Bio also assured all present that Sierra Leone is open to business and credible investors and according to him “Bollore is a good partner.” He said “as a government we are committed to ensure that credible businesses thrive in Sierra Leone.”
President Bio further spoke about his flagship education programme, and stressed that Sierra Leone has invested greatly in education. Thus, whilst asking several questions, the President asked whether Bollore will create internship programmes for Sierra Leonean university students to learn more in the new facilities build by Bollore.
Meanwhile, in his earlier remarks prior to the President’s statement, the Country manager of Bollore Transport and Logistics in Sierra Leone, Fabjanko Konan confirmed that the twenty-four (24) months hard-work project for the expansion of the Freetown Container Terminal comprises two hundred and seventy feet (270) meters of the quay, thirteen (13) meters draft, 3.5 H new yard, power plant of 6 MWA, one million tons of sand, over forty thousand 40000 tons of cements, over 10 000 tons of steel and 2.5 millions of paving blocks.
He said, Bollore is aware of the importance of the port to the country’s economic growth, and that Bollore is committed to work with the government of Sierra Leone for the development of the Freetown Sea Port and Sierra Leone at large.
“Our commitment to contribute to the country’s development has gone beyond simple business as we are partners with the Government in this venture. I have the pleasure to announce to you that the government is 20% stakeholder in Freetown Terminal Ltd,” Fabjanko confirmed.
Cyril Bollore, CEO of Bollore, whilst making his statement during the official launch of the expansion of the Freetown Port Terminal said, Bollore is a family inheritance that has been in existence for over one hundred and ninety-six (196) years now. He said, he was proud to be at the gathering to represent the seventh (7th) generation of Bollore. He spoke in detail on the activities of Bollore globally, whilst thanked the President for the trust bestow in Bollore.
Cyril Bollore further thanked the staff of Bollore Transport and Logistics and the people of Sierra Leone for their collaborative work in ensuring that the project comes to a reality. He said, “despite the money if the people of Sierra Leone do not collaborate, we will never succeed.”
In his brief statement, Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Kabineh Kalloh said, the transport sector is very pivotal to the growth of the economy of any country. He said that through the improvement of port sector, the government will stand to enhance economic growth. He said, the port expansion project has now opened Sierra Leone to global trade.
Also speaking at the official launch of the expansion of the Freetown Terminal Project was the Chairman of the National Commission for Privatization (NCP), Umaru Napoleon Koroma. He said the re-alignment and rehabilitation of the Queen Elizabeth II Quay is one of the successful projects undertaken by NCP. He spoke on the need for social corporate responsibility and the need for communities around the expanded project to benefit. He said, the event is a manifestation that the Government of President Bio is ready to embrace genuine investment in Sierra Leone.
During his remarks, the General Manager of the Sierra Leone Port Authority (SLPA) Dr. Alusine Fofanah recalled the status of the prot before the rehabilitation of the port He said, before the rehabilitation, the SLPA had huge manpower that were irrelevant. He said, however, now, business in the port has now greatly improved and that productivity has greatly increased now that that the way it was before privatisation.
Meanwhile, the official launch of the expansion of the Freetown Terminal Project was climaxed with traditional dance from local cultural groups.
By Abdul Malik Bangura