Welcoming the delegates, the chairman of the committee Hon. Quintin Salia-Konneh stated that it is the first time they are meeting EPA after the committee was established and encouraged them to work diligently for the protection and safety of all Sierra Leoneans. Hon.Quintin, continued that EPA is a very important MDA and much is expected of them and that EPA is also a revenue source for government and he expects them to monitor mining companies effectively.
Giving a general overview of EPA the Director Mr. Momodu A. Bah said they are happy to meet with the new oversight committee. He explained that EPA is constructing a new building at New England Field which will reduce the expenses incurred in paying rent and pleaded with the committee members to talk to the ministry of finance to speed up the funding. He reintegrated that the agency is looking up to the development of artisan mining policy that has never existed. They are also involved in regional framework which will allow other regional countries to relate among themselves environmental issues faced in their different countries. And Sierra Leone will welcome delegates from Ghana next week on a training process.
The head of field operations and extension Lovetta Yatta Juanah, giving a run down on their operation activities said they are working with local councils, monitor both villages and chiefdoms quarterly to know the effect of mining companies present in their environments, train women in farming and provide them with life stocks, conduct school tours and teach the children on environmental issues and the insurance of licenses.
Alusine C.A. Kargbo, Deputy Director, Finance and Administration when making his statement said EPA is getting it finance from projects and key from the licenses, standard control of mining companies. He said however, the challenges the finance section is facing are enormous, especially with the disbursement account which is making their work slow and difficult, the bank of Sierra Leone through the single treasure account and even the transmitted account they are not a signatory to. Mr. Kargbo pleaded with the committee to continue to support and monitor the EPA to ensure it smooth running which will result to quality of work by them.
Hon. Kadija Davies acknowledges the work done by EPA but she admonished them to be more proactive in their work. Hon Davies said the commission should give a list of all mining companies including those that have paid and the defaulters, the number of plastic water companies is alarming and asked on the action of EPA concerning them, she also raised concern on the packages given to people who are affected by mining companies, the action of EPA concerning the Mina Mata (mercury) use in mining and how they will cut it down.
The committee members anonymously request that EPA should submit all documents on Friday 19th October, 2018 ranging from the national environmental policy, a list of implementation and sponsors of their activities, the total number of registered mining companies, baseline report, and resettlement plan for affected people.