By S. U. Thoronka…………………..
The World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Mr. Henry Kerali last week paid a courtesy call on his Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House where they both discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to development. This was disclosed at a press conference held at the World Bank Country Office on Howe Street, Freetown.
Answering questions from Journalists, Mr. Kerali maintained that there is no economic justification for the construction of the proposed Mamamah Airport considering the devastating effect of the Ebola scourge and the drop in the price of iron ore in the international market which accounted for about 60% of GDP.
He opined that the effect of Ebola on the economy was envisaged by the drop in air traffic, and therefore advised government to improve Lungi International Airport.
The envoy assured that there would be tender for the provision of two ferries, upgrade of the landing sites on both sides of the river connecting Lungi and the city and the roads that connect the landing sites.
Mr. Kerali said that he also discussed the liberalization of the international gateway with the President, noting that investment in the cable company, SALCAB would improve ICT nationwide and eradicate monopoly and bring down prices.
He said discussions were also held on how to further improve the fisheries sector especially the licensing of foreign fishing vessels and he, however, hastened to inform that World Bank would provide a grant of $4m to the sector.
On the energy sector, the World Bank Country Director said the total energy needed to service the country’s energy need was between 500-600 mega watts and the country can as at now generate only 75mega watts.
The envoy was in total support of the unbundling of the energy sector to encourage private sector investment. Last but by no means least, the issue of sustainable, affordable, clean and safe drinking water for the Western Area, Freetown to be specific was also discussed with the President at State House.