We commend the Parliamentary Committee of Works and Public Assets for their swift intervention into the
toll gate saga, following an unprecedented, unreasonable and unilateral increment of the existing prices by
the Minister of Works, Dr. Denis Sandy; by recently summoning the said Minister with clear instructions to
put on hold the proposed action, and seek recourse to due process which, amongst many, provides for such
decisions to receive parliamentary review and approval- as parliament is the representative of the people.
Despite the procedural flaw, the unanimous and overwhelming disapproval and condemnation by the public
in relation to the decision that was communicated in a government press conference chaired by the Minister
of Information, Chernor Bah; is a testament to the insensitive and untimely nature of the decision. However,
we also wish the commend the entire government for swiftly reacting to the concerns of the majority of
citizens, by putting on hold the decision subject to review. We believe, such welcoming action from the
government, is a justification of why we refer to the decision as ‘unilateral’- solely done by the Minister of
Works and his collaborators; as no reasonable government will, in this period of rising economic challenges
confronting the masses, add more economic burden on them through an unprecedented toll price increment
which will inadvertently lead to increase in transportation and food prices.
We call on the government to completely discountenance the said proposal from either the Minister of Works
or the China Railway Seventh Group. While we understand the contractual obligations that Sierra Leone may
be subjected to due the bad deal that was initially entered into by the past APC government, we call on both
the Minister of Works and China Railway Seventh Group to put on the robe of empathy during this
challenging time for the citizens, as the approach this issue in the review that has been necessitated by the
Parliament of Sierra Leone. Putting more taxation burden on the citizens is not a wise move to make,
especially by a government dealing with an opposition that has been constantly accused of fanning the flams
of discord. We further admonish the government to reconsider some of it’s expenditures in a bid to saving
money for the provision of pressing and basic services like electricity, education, and healthcare. Cutting
down unnecessary expenditure at this period of economic uncertainty, will reduce the need for the
government to seek further means of raising funds by taxing basic goods and services.
Conclusively we wish to thank the parliamentary leadership for standing up for the people and proving once
again to be a beacon of hope. We will continue to follow up the review process with the expectation that
government will listen to our concerns herein – consistent with our previous release on this said issue.
John Elison
Executive Director- ZCC
Off City supermarket, Hill station fre