24th September 2017
“Expunge the 2017 Finance Act to Help Farmers,” CPA Boss Urges Govt
By David Johnson (22/05/17)
As local farmers register their dissatisfaction over the 2017 Finance Act, the Head of Consumer Protection Agency has supported farmers.
Reports say on May 4, 2017, a civil society activist and Head of Consumer Protection Agency (CAP), Mr. Ibrahim Kabia called on president Ernest Koroma, the government and members of parliament to expunge certain sections of the 2017 Finance Act which are inimical to the development and prosperity of local producers and farmers. (Pictured: Agriculture Minister Professor Monty Jones).
In a recent meet held at the Siaka Stevens Stadium Hostel in Freetown, Mr. Kabia noted: “We call to register our dissatisfaction over certain sections of the 2017 Finance Act and urged the government to seriously reflect on the disastrous effects the Act will have on our local farmers and industry. The section of this Act will also affect consumers greatly especially those who drink brewery products.”
It could be recalled that President Koroma, in his dream to create job opportunities and improve the lives of average Sierra Leoneans, implemented the 2016 Finance Act aimed to empower local businesses and to thrive and take over the market. But it seems the reviewing of the 2017 Finance Act did not take into cognisance the benefits that our local industry, the farmers and consumers must reap.
The Chairman of the Sierra Leone Sorghum Farmer Association, Denis Jusu, gave a brief background why the Finance Act was passed into Law. He noted that the Act is to generate revenues for the government and empower its citizenry to thrive and take over the market but this is now posing serious challenges as a result of the passage of the 2017 Finance Act.
Mr. Jusu argued that the 2016 Finance Act which was passed by the House of Parliament into law help to boost the local content policy that contributed immensely to empower indigenous businesses and creating job opportunities to improve the lives of the average Sierra Leoneans.
He said from September to date, sorghum farmers have experienced positive change through their sales volume around Le2,400,120,000 and added that because of their increase in cultivation opportunities, the sorghum farmers have similarly increase from 10,000 to 21,000 farmers across the country.
“In order for his farmers to improve their cultivation, Brewery has supported his association with groundnuts and sorghum inputs worth 155,000 tons across the country and they have started mechanised sorghum farming in the Tonkolili District with cultivation of 200 hectares seed multiplication farm. By 2018 his association will have a target of supplying brewery with 3,000 metric tons of sorghum,” Jusu disclosed.
Mr. Jusu concluded by calling on the president to look on certain sections on the revised Act which will affect the local content policy and reverse the agenda for prosperity.
Speaking on behalf of the media, Sallieu Tejan Jalloh underscored the point that the media will support the farmers to ensure that they survive and thrive easily and he also called on government to support the farmers and boost their capacity to improve their livelihood.
“No country can develop when they import more than they export. The country is faced with economic hardship today as a result of the devaluation of its currency which is because of high importation as against low exportation. I therefore called on government to support the 2016 Finance Act as a step in the right direction aimed to boost the country’s economy,” Mr. Jalloh said.
Thomas Barbardie, civil activist expressed similar sentiment and applauded president Koroma for giving the farmers the opportunity to improve the economy but also encouraged members of parliament to consider taking affirmative action to revisit the Act to prevent undesirable effects on farmer and consumers alike.