“That is why it is appalling that some people are in the corner making insinuations that they want to assume the mantle of leadership. An association is not owned by anybody, not even those that claim to be founding members because once there is an executive, that executive literally charge with the responsibilities of running the association since they are in charge of the affairs of that association. What I want to see happen in importers’ association is commitment by the membership. Some of those impersonating now and clamoring to see the back of the president have nothing to offer the association in terms of leadership and developmental direction.”
Alhaji Tanue Jalloh assumed leadership of the Association in 2004, taking after Mr. Sahid Kamara was served as the second President of the association. He came to head the association at the time it had no legal status.
“My executive endeavored to make necessary documentations to make it a veritable association.” From that time the president has been working hard to bring the association to work together with governments.
“One of the first Trade Ministers I worked with was Dr. Kadie Sesay. She knew our determination to promote trade in Sierra Leone so she guided me to establish links with China and that was how importers extended their tentacles to China.” As I speak, Tanue International in China was able to divert Sierra Leoneans’ attention from going to Guinea and Liberia to purchase businesses and can now directly go to Asia to buy goods.”
The president has never mixed affairs of the association with politics. “I have worked with both the APC and SLPP led governments and they have been very appreciative of my several pieces of advice on trade.”
Describing Sierra Leone as an import driven nation, Tanue Jalloh said the Association has given tremendous help to the business community and government.
“We are not political and we serve the interest of the people and not the interest of any political party. I therefore, find it difficult to understand people trying to usurp my position using politics.”
The president said he had no problem with people coming forward to manifest interest to lead the association but they have to be sincere. “My only concern is not about the person being APC or SLPP, a Fullah, Lebanese or Indian but somebody who is competent, who can work to take the Association to a higher height. I met the Association in an embryonic stage and I am proud to say that we have worked to make a name. Our membership is over two thousand importers,” he informed but lamented over the low participation of members in engagements.
“Many people find it difficult to leave their business centers to come for meetings. This has been our problem and most of those that do not attend meetings are the ones creating problems in the association
Reacting to claims that a certain Mohamed Wurrie Sow was parading as the new Importers’ Association President, the president said he had no knowledge of that because they have not held any elections to that effect.
In fact according to Tanue Jalloh, Mohamed Wurrie Sow was an impostor, somebody who has been expelled from the Association because of non-compliance. “He is not a member of Importers Association. He was expelled from the Association for not paying yearly contributions and attending meetings for over five years.”
Simply put, Tanue Jalloh said the impostor was a renegade, trying to hide behind politics to win sympathy. He said besides, the man in question lacks the caliber to lead an association of this nature.
In Tanue’s view, it takes somebody with intelligence and knowledge over issues to lead the Importers.
He cited instance of the recent saga when he was called upon to profer solution in the flour shortage.
“I was in Dubai attending the Food Epo Trade Fair when the Minister of Trade called me and asked my advice in the flour shortage in Freetown. I promptly gave him the appropriate advice which government followed and now the issue of scarcity of bread is a thing of the past. He on that note lauded Government for their timely response to the strike action by bakers.
To end, the Importers’ president said he was sincerely looking up to other people to come and take mantle of the Association’s leadership. “We are meeting very soon to map out modalities to have a new executive so let those who feel are competent prepare to come forward, he said.