The following Agreement was approved by the House:
Joint Venture Agreement Between the Ministry of Information and Communications Representing the Government of Sierra Leone and WTS Media Group Limited (Care of World Trade Services Limited), a Limited Liability Company Having its Registered Office at 32 Bower Hill Industrial Estate, Bower Terrace, EPPING CM16 7BN, United Kingdom.
Contributing to the debate, Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said that the Agreement is a joint venture between Government and WTS to enhance the digitalization process in the country through the Public-Private-Partnership arrangement. He also said that if the Agreement is not ratified in five months, modern internet facilities will be shut down in Sierra Leone, whilst speaking on the need for digital migration with the aim of promoting education, entertainment and the harmonization of information dissemination in the country.
Hon. Navo Kaikai raised concerns on some of the provisions in the Agreement such as the provision of land and tax exemptions. She also spoke of electricity challenges in Kailahun District whilst decrying the Agreement aimed at benefitting few Sierra Leoneans.
Reacting, Hon. Karifala Sheku Conteh said that the cost of the investment far outweighs that of the land that will be provided by Government. That the Agreement makes provision for the operation of 20-Channels, two of which will be local with possibly one dedicated channel to air debates and to educate the public about the functions of Parliament. He also said that the Agreement will improve the entertainment industry in the country, and enable SLBC to migrate from analog to digital through technical training, reduce fraud during elections by promoting information on governance through accountability and the rule of law.
Concluding the debate, both the Deputy Minority and the Majority Leaders of the House acclaimed the Agreement as a laudable initiative taken by Government in partnership with the private sector aimed at the development of the country.
Other MPs spoke to the motion.