The Ministry of Trade and Industry has on Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, presented its 2020 budget to the Ministry of Finance, and plans to start implementing the resuscitation of the long lost international market in Koindu emerged as one of the key deliverables in the budget. The summary of the budget presented by the ministry is as follows; Ministry Department and Agencies’ total is three billion seven hundred and seventy five million Leones (Le3,775,000,000). Extra budgetary expenditure, one billion seven hundred and sixty five million Leones (Le1,765,000,000). Recurrent Expenditure budget celling, two billion and nine million Leones (Le2,009,000,000). And Capital expenditure, two billion Leones (Le2,000,000,000) for Special Economic Zone (SEZ), another two billion Leones (Le2,000,000,000) for Koindu and one billion Leones (Le1,000,000,000) for Regional offices. In totality, the 2020 budget of the Ministry is twelve billion five hundred and forty nine million Leones (Le12,549,000,000).
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Apart from restoring the Koindu International market, other key deliverables highlighted by Charles Mereweather Thompson, director at the Ministry are; coordinating and implementing Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), coordinating sustainability support program activities and recommending change management retreats etc. Some of the activities he mentioned for the 2020 budget of the Ministry include; coordinating the implementation of the sustainable support project, coordinating the implementation of the SMEs implementation support program and coordinating strategic engagements on trade facilitation within the regions. Foday S. Bangura, Deputy Director, foreign trade, at the Ministry said that, the resuscitation of the Koindu International Market will start to focus on constructing the Road that leads from Kailahun to Koindu. He also said that, the plan to build up the market has been in existence since 2018 but that the mechanisms for it to be implemented were put in place this year. He went on to say that, the drone survey for the project which was conducted by the Ministry has already been validated. “We have been provided with about 53 acres of land for the construction of the market but for now, we are only doing the preliminary work until there is enough fund from government and other donors to actually begin.” He said. He also said that, if the market is constructed, it will help to boost the economy of the country, as Liberia, Guinea and other nearby African countries will start to buy from Sierra Leone. He continued to say that, the foreign exchange rate problems will also be addressed, if the market is constructed, and that it will also create more employment opportunities for young people.. At the end of the presentation, the Non-state Actors, the District Budget Oversight committees and other Civil Society organizations supported the budget and the Ministry of Finance accepted it.
By Inyillah Borteh Conteh
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