The President congratulated the new appointees on their approval by Parliament noting that the swearing in ceremony was the last stage of the process. “Work start effective today and I have no doubt that you will hit the ground running”, he said. President Koroma went further to encourage the new Ministers to work assiduously in their respective ministries because it is evident that public expectations are high judged by the interest shown both at the swearing in and at Parliament. He reiterated that the people of Sierra Leone are looking forward to the reforms and achievements the new appointees would contribute to the development of Sierra Leone especially during this post-Ebola period.
Addressing the Minster of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, the President applauded the progress made so far in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security but noted there is still a lot to be done in the sector especially in the area of food security. He emphasised that the agriculture sector hold a huge potential for the transformation of the country and “with you coming in, will give new impetus to the ministry”. President Koroma also reminded Professor Monty Jones of the commitment he made to the Parliamentary Committee on Appointment regarding food security and called on him to address the poverty situation of our farmers. The President noted that he has high expectations of the Minister of Agriculture describing him as “a man of high professional standing not only in Sierra Leone but also in Africa”.
Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma acknowledged the difficulties in the economy given that the country is just coming out of the Ebola outbreak. “Revenue has dwindled and there are lots of benchmarks to meet in order to move the country from the recovery phase to the Agenda for Prosperity”. The President however expressed confidence that with Dr. Patrick Conteh’s experience and expertise, there would be a lot of progress in enhancing the country’s economic development.
Regarding the foreign ministry, President Koroma reaffirmed his commitment to transform Sierra Leone’s foreign relations through the training of career diplomats to enhance their capabilities in projecting the image of the country abroad. “We have agreed to transform career diplomats through training” adding that there would be a shift from the “diplomacy of wining and dining to economic diplomacy that would maximize the benefits of our foreign relations”. The President acknowledged the challenges to this transformation but “that is why we have two deputies” he stressed.
Speaking on behalf of his fellow Ministers, Professor Monty Jones thanked His Excellency the President for the confidence reposed in them to serve as Ministers. He expressed their determination to serve President Koroma, his Government and the people of Sierra Leone with loyalty and dedication. Monty Jones also assured President Koroma that he and his colleagues are ready to serve to the best of their abilities and we will work closely with other arms of government, development and donor communities in order to ensure quick gains in the shortest possible time. He also promised to work closely with all shades of farmers, academia, and technical experts in pursuit of ‘quick wins’ in his ministry.
Prof. Monty Jones acknowledged the enormity of the task ahead but expressed optimism that with God being their helper they would be able to deliver on their new jobs. “We are aware of the expectations and we will hit the ground running and run very very fast”. Monty Jones concluded with a little prayer: “May God give us the strength, steadfastness, dedication, finesse to meet your vision and aspiration which is to achieve enhance development”.