By Lansana Fofanah.
Panguma Sawmill; in the Eastern Region of Sierra Leone used to be the country’s well-known wood work manufacturing site, producing different logs of timber and board almost for every part of the country. That ended when the rebel war came and destroyed the facilities and drove away investors.
In the midst of the New Direction’s quest to open the country once again for business, timber magnates and tycoons from Vietnam, Europe and Asia have expressed great interest in reviving the moribund Panguma Sawmill.
After series of consultations with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Joseph Ndanema on Saturday the 17th, led the investors to the Panguma Sawmill for them to have a first- hand account of the rich forest in that region.
Presenting them to Paramount Chief Alimamy Moiwa Farma of Panguma Chiefodm, the Minister said that this is an opportunity to once again revive the economy through such production which he noted will also go in line with rapid afforestation and reforestation.
The Minister said that most of these investors had expressed interest to come during the past APC regime but they were faced with lots of back door negotiators who were asking for bribes.
He said that the appeal and assurances given by President Julius Maada Bio to investors has restored their confidence to come and invest. The Minister said that the Sawmill will not only bring revenue and create jobs for the people of Sierra Leone, but will also see normal life returning once again to such a prominent place with economical benefit.
Giving his blessing, PC Farma said that when he received the news some time ago about the coming of the investors, he felt happy that at least, government has considered the development of his Chiefdom as a priority as the youths are desperately waiting for the commencement of the project.
PC Farma called on the investors to come with genuine intention to stay and not to leave like those that have been expressing interest without any implementation.
The Chief Executive Officer of ASEAN Vietnam Corporation Joint Stock Company, Nguyen Binh Dong, said that he and his team have so far feel the hospitality of Sierra Leoneans and that they will ensure that everything needed to be done to kick-start the project is done. Mr. Dong in the midst of a cheering crowd added that the site is a strategic place for such project.
The Honourable Member of Parliament for Constituency 015 in Panguma Chiefdom, Mohamed Lansana said that the clarion call by President Julius Maada Bio to Foreign Direct Investors to invest in the country has started gaining momentum by such visit and that government remains committed to ensuring that there is always a win-win situation.
The Resident Minister South, Mohamed Alie, Hon Josephine Makieu of Constituency 014 and other authorities in the Chiefdom toured the vast forest ready for investment,