Hon Leonard Fofanah, Deputy Majority Leader of Parliament and Chairman of Education Committee praised the Minister of Finance for holding the forth despite the outbreak of Ebola. He spoke at length on the negative impact of the Ebola outbreak which he said put the country in “ruins.” He called for economic diversification and stressed that the country’s economy should not be based on the iron ore or Chinese economy. He announced to colleague MPs to invest in the agriculture sector boasting of having over 175 acres of cashew and cocoa plantation. “I am impressed with the performance of the Education sector and the advent of Treasury Single Account,” and added that investigation should be mounted on exams fraud and suggested for conference marking of examinations papers.
Hon. Patrick Foyah (SLPP) complained that Parliament needs transport and other allowances and call for the capacitation of the ONS for any future outbreak. He said “the agriculture sector needs to be strengthening along with good roads. We must monitor Councils,” and appealed for improvement in the fishing sector.
Hon Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader noted that the budget is based on context and how one sees it. She complained the low turnout of MPs particularly from the SLPP in the debate that she described as “national issues.” She thanked MPs for a very “well” debate and said: “Ebola has ended but next 90 days is extremely crucial. Ebola affected the income and expenditure of the country,” and praised the MCC’s $ 44 million agreement and call for more allocation to the Education sector. “Our schools are overcrowded and need to be expanded to cancel two shifts. The issue of camping is becoming rampant and it is money making,” she said and stressed that we need an enlightened human capacity to process our natural resources. She appealed for quality health care and testing machines and praised the electricity supply at the moment. Hon. Lahai nonetheless call for more attention to Parliament, “MPs need better condition of service, we can’t be sitting at the River Nile and wash our hands with spittle.”
Hon. Ibrahim Bundu, Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business call on MDAs to be to be discipline so as to achieve the proper implementation of the budget. He spoke on inflation and commended the Finance Minister for tougher policies on mobile money transfer and appeal to MPs to do more in making sure that the budget is well implemented. He stressed on the need for more focus on informal sector for more revenue generation. “We are focusing more attention on the formal sector failing to consider the informal sector – Okada Riders, dollar boys, taxi drivers etc. MOFED must brace up in it revenue collection drive. MDA’s wants more money and don’t want to be monitored for the aversion of wastage,” and call for the curbing of leakages. He complained that too much money is spent on air travelling. “Whenever it comes to government contracts the prices are different, ACC, ASSL and Parliament must investigate this.” The Leader said and appealed to colleague MPs for more patience and promises to lay life for MPs.
There were other contributions from Hon Abdulsalam Kanu (APC) who appealed for improved water supply in the capital; Hon Ansu Kaikai (SLPP) appealed for the curbing of wastage, improvement of standards of MPs and fight against inflation. Hon Suwailho Koroma (SLPP) demands to know the total amount of interest owed by the country on debt and frowned at the huge tax incentives which he said will do a lot for the country’s revenue management. “There are huge expenses on oversees travelling in which some of the travelers contribution are dismal. We must focus on withholding taxes,” he said.
Hon Alhassan Kamara (APC) call for prioritizing of budget for MDA’s and urged for more revenue generation and mobilization and appeal for focus on the auction sector for more benefits to be derived for the country. Hon. PC Kongomor appealed for funding of Chiefdom Administration among other things and cautioned MPs that their roles as Paramount Chiefs are everlasting unlike MPs.