Newly elected Mayor for the Freetown Municipality, Herbert George Williams yesterday disclosed to President Koroma and other government ministers that, a whopping sum of three billion Leone had been collected by the council in the last few months, under its revenue generation drive.
Herbert George Williams was speaking at the national stadium at the inaugural ceremony of councilors and Mayor and chairman of the Freetown City Council and the Western Area Rural District Council by President Ernest Bai Koroma.
According to the newly elected Mayor, he and his colleague councilors were happy to have been returned into office by the electorate under an electoral process but however cautioned that everybody must be prepared to pay his or her local tax. He paid tribute to the President for the continuous support he has always given to them in the running of council.
Mayor Williams told the audience that, September 15th this year will be the deadline for all Sierra Leoneans, at the age of 15 and above to have paid their local taxes to the council, and promised that, as a council, they will be accountable and transparent on the running of the council, and on how council moneys are spent.
Earlier, the President Hon Ernest Bai Koroma, in his keynote address said the inauguration of the councilors and council chairman/Mayor into office proves to his neighbors in other countries and the international community that, democratic governance was in place in Sierra Leone.
The president said, he had no doubt that the new councilors were going to perform their duties in accordance with the expectations of the people and that he was wishing them success in their work. Koroma said elections were a process in which the electorate choose those to be their governors and leaders and that his government was committed to strengthening and supporting the local councils and the decentralization process in the country.
He said, they [government] will continue to work with the local councils as they [councils] are partners and agents of development. He said, to whom much is given, much is expected and therefore implored all the council officials to work in accordance with the people’s expectations, as they [government] are also expecting much from the councils.
The president called on all the councils to have the principles of service delivery and development as that must be their focus at all times.
He said, there is need for collaboration within the councils as well as the need to uphold the core values of governance which underscore transparency, accountability and the fight against corruption. President Koroma called on all the councilors to promote national cohesion and unity which, he said, are precondition for security and development. The chairman for the occasion was the deputy Local Government Minister, Raymond Kabia who underscored the importance of the ceremony and the need for people to work with the councils. The ceremony was also attended by government dignitaries, and supporters of the councilors. Also in attendance was the Managing Director of United Bank for Africa, Abdulrahman Yinusu, a bank that distributed Umbrellas, Pens, caps and notepads to the councilors. This, according to the Managing Director, is part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility.