By Matthew Kanu. .
The Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development and the Director of Planning and Economic Development delivered this year’s induction lecture to more than 50 UNIMAK masters students on designing the country’s 4th Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP4).
Vice Chancellor of UNIMAK welcomed the Deputy Minister Dr. Robert T. Chakanda and the Director of Planning and Development Unit of the same Ministry, Dr. Sheka Bangura. Professor Turay said the presence of the two most senior personnel of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development at UNIMAK shows that the Ministry is decentralizing the process of designing the development plan of the country. “This means the people in rural Sierra Leone are becoming part of the process of their own development” Professor Turay opined. He suggested that the District and City Council development plan be cascaded into wards, chiefdoms, districts and the regions of the country.
This is the third time economic development practitioner Dr.Sheka Bangura has delivered a public lecture marking the beginning of the academic year for the Masters in Sustainable Development students.
Many of the students that attended this year’s lecture raised concerns and asked the Deputy Minister and the lecturer many questions. Like most of the students Steven Bockarie Mansaray praised the effort of the ministry to come down to their level but raised some concerns on the poor road network that is debarring the transportation of agricultural goods from the villages to the bigger cities. Some of these villages close to the Guinean border are using the Guinean currency instead of the Leones. The New Direction PRSP 4 should therefore consider improving Agriculture and focus more on industrialization.
Hassan A Sesay suggested that the PRSP 4 should make rural Sierra Leone very attractive with social amenities that will discourage urban migration . “Sierra Leone is still referred to as a fragile state because the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are not implemented and the things that brought about the decade long civil conflict in the country are still visible” said Mr. Sesay.