Chinese Ambassador Hu Zhangliang has told Awoko that his country believes in Sierra Leone and will do more to help the country develop. He made these comments after he was on hand to donate vehicles and bikes to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to turn the sod for the construction of the Military Officers mess. Amb. Hu said during the FOCAC summit in Beijing, President Bio and his counterpart Xi Jinping had a friendly conversation and it was from that conversation that the Chinese government was able to make donation of fleets of vehicles to Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “In order to give foreign VIP guests a diplomatic and dignified welcome, the Government of China through its Embassy has donated 31 fleets of cars to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAIC) at the Ministry Tower Hill office in Freetown. The fleets include 5 VVIP vehicles, 5 protocol vehicles, 5 official vehicles, 3 Coaster buses, 1 Ambulance, 2 supporting cars and 10 VIP police escort motor bikes.” The Ambassador said handing over the vehicles to Mrs Nabila Tunis who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs was a gesture he was looking forward to and hope that this year the dignitaries that will come will definitely have the status they deserve. Mrs Nabila Tunis was very happy to receive the gifts on behalf of the government and she praised China for their continued support. “I have promised her that we will not relent but will continue to support Sierra Leone to be a great nation.” Also, Amb. Hu and President Bio turned the sod for the construction of the Officers’ Mess and Single Officers’ Quarters.
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During the ceremony Ambassador Hu Zhangliang said that the project was the brainchild of President Bio and the result of friendly discussions between the two countries, adding that the gesture was a shining example of the fruitful cooperation between the two countries. He noted that after relentless efforts in communication and coordination at the earlier stages, the project was formally breaking ground. He also mentioned that the Officers’ Mess and Single Officers’ Quarters would be brand new; the first-class complex, which when completed would go a long way in improving the living conditions of the officers of the RSLAF, bringing them a stronger sense of honour and happiness. He said it would raise the logistics support capabilities and morale of the RSLAF. The Ambassador averred that the project is a result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Governments of Sierra Leone and the People’s Republic China, PRC, that included military aid grants to the value of 50 million Yuan ($7.2 million) for the construction of a five-storey building comprising 104 rooms with all modern facilities for single officers. Also, the Myohaung Officers’ Mess would be completely demolished and replaced with a brand new and expanded Officers’ Mess of two floors with ultra-modern facilities, according to the agreement. “I want to assure the president and the people of Sierra Leone that the Local Content would be in effect as more that 80% of the workforce will be Sierra Leoneans. Take a look at all Chinese project in Sierra Leone and you will see that there are more Sierra Leoneans working than the Chinese nationals because we believe in the laws of the country and we want to help give more employment to the locals.” President Bio was happy for the project and is still looking for more support from the Chinese government in the future.
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