The Minister of Mineral Resources Alpha Kanu has distributed cheques for the 2007 Diamond Area
Community Development Fund (DACD) to paramount chiefs in the Kailahun and Kenema districts in the eastern region.
Alpha Kanu who was addressing Paramount chiefs and other stakeholders in the two districts of Kailahun and Kenema said as a government they want to reduce corruption in the country to its lowest degree, adding that a country that is corrupt free is always developing. He said one way the government is doing it is the introduction of transparency in the mining sector, which is one of the backbones of the country’s economy. The mineral resources minister stated that these monies are tied to community development projects, and it must be used in that direction so that the ministry of mineral resources and local government will be satisfied.
Mr Kanu disclosed that 2008 cheques will soon be distributed provided the 2007 cheques are properly utilized by its receivers. The Minister explained that the moneys distributed are not equal which he said is dependent on the number of licenses issued in the respective chiefdoms, the more licenses issued the more the money. Alpha Kanu encouraged paramount chiefs and other stakeholders in the various chiefdoms to ensure that more licenses are issued in their chiefdoms thereby helping the government to reduce illicit mining in their respective chiefdoms.
The minister maintained that cabinet has approved the reduction of mining licenses fees ranging from miners licenses to exporter licenses, because of the low cost of diamond in the World market. He informed the gathering that government is reviewing the mining policy and that very soon the gold mining development fund will soon follow. He appealed to all to be patriotic in making sure that the nation benefits from its natural resources.
In his contribution the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Local Government and Rural Development Fadilu Kalokoh says the distribution of the diamond area community development fund is timely and significant, saying that it is recognition that the minerals from the various chiefdoms are benefiting the communities. He said it is government’s determination to restructure the chiefdom administration, noting that if they are to succeed as a government the chiefdom needs to be effective. The Deputy Minister of local government emphasize that this time round they want to see visible projects in the chiefdoms to advocate development programs. He reminded his audience about the Anti Corruption Commission saying that any government money not utilized for its intended purpose must be accounted for, and therefore encouraged all to use the development fund in the interest of the community and the country at large.
In his contribution the chairman of the Kenema District Council (KDC) Patrick Mannah Sarmu thanked the government for its move in making the money available to the various communities; he told the participants that the last development meeting held by government is a clear commitment to push the country forward. The Kenema District Council chairman pointed out that agriculture and mining are the livelihood of people in the region and that they will intensify the issuing of mining licenses.
Contributing, the Hon Francis Konuwa a member of the oversight committee on mining, commended the All Peoples Congress (APC) government for their commitment in building the capacity of the chiefdoms which he says is a good move in terms of development of any nation.
Alhaji Usman Boi Kamara who is the Director of Mines informed all that cheques for the diamond area community development fund are for the 2007 mining year, and that as a ministry they will make sure that they monitor to ensure that the moneys are properly utilized.
The Chairman of the programme the Provincial Secretary East Samuel Kenneth Bryma thanked Minister Alpha Kanu for reviewing the mines ministry. Mr. Bryma revealed that the ministry of mineral resources is one of the backbones of the country and informed the ministry officials that there is cordial working relationship between the mines engineer Ibrahim S. Barrie and his office. He added that the Provincial Administration is well informed about activities of the mines ministry in this region.
Contributions were made by the Mayor of Kenema City Council Brima Kargbo, Paramount chief of Jarwie chiefdom Kailahun district PC Musa Ngombugla Kallon while Paramount chief Madam Mamie Gbovoh Gamanga of Simbaru chiefdom Kenema district moved the vote of thanks.