The agenda of the SLPP in the next five years is to consolidate the peace and set the country on the road to prosperity. This is the new mandate [we are] seeking from the people of Sierra Leone: a mandate to complete the unfinished tasks of installing good governance and eradicating poverty and now take on the challenges of the march to prosperity.
It is certainly not the time to wipe the slate clean and start afresh, as other political parties are want to do. That would mean squandering all the peace dividends that the country has gained since the end of the rebel war.
Rather, as a country, the task now is to proceed with the implementation of the visionary and credible policies we have designed for the transformation of Sierra Leone into a better country. This vision is found in policy frameworks such as Vision 2025 and the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP).
These instruments have been carefully worked out and nurtured with the co-operation and collaboration of the Party, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other development partners. No political party can assure the successful implementation of these policy frameworks better in the next five years than the SLPP Government under whose stewardship they were crafted.
This manifesto (herein referred to as the PLATFORM) is the SLPP’s agenda for the next 5 years. The SLPP has since 1996 taken this country from a devastating conflict with all its horrors to peace.
Having won and maintained the peace, it has set the foundations for now launching the country to a development path that is dynamic, sustainable, and that will directly benefit Sierra Leoneans.
In our determination to preserve the peace, the PLATFORM emphasizes actions aimed at improving economic and political governance and reinforcing the effectiveness of the security sector. For the security sector, continuous training, adequate equipment and supplies, and promoting regional and sub regional collaboration constitute the major elements of our security strategy.
Despite some successes so far, corruption and inefficiency continue to bedevil our public service delivery systems and performance in general. Enforcing accountability for development results and ending impunity are central to our plans for improving economic governance.
Directly linked to this will be the completion of the reforms of the public service and instituting modern management systems. This combined with renewed emphasis on anti-corruption measures will constitute our programme for dealing with corruption and promoting accountability.
This PLATFORM is also about the march towards prosperity. After the widespread destruction of assets during the conflict, the negative changes to work ethics that occurred, and the distortions introduced in our production patterns and our distribution networks, the march towards prosperity is going to be long and hard but we must start now. The key is to promote the type of economic growth and development that will generate more wealth in the country and also directly benefit the poor – pro-poor growth.
Development involves change; and change often requires adjustment. During this period the poor, particularly the youth and women, must be protected from the adverse effects of adjustment through adequate and affordable health and educational services and livelihood support.
The PLATFORM outlines the measures for the provision of micro finance, improvement on rural transportation and communication and creation of more, job opportunities especially for the youth and rural dwellers, all designed to ensure that the poor benefit directly from the economic growth we will embark upon.
Sierra Leone is a natural resource-rich country. Our immediate sources of growth are therefore in agriculture, fisheries, mining and tourism. In agriculture, reduction in post-harvest losses, opening up of productive areas through rural roads, diversifying crop production and modernizing farms to accelerate entry into the global supply chain are among the initiatives planned.
For fisheries, promoting both artisanal fishing and creating the environment for large scale fishing will be the priorities. In the case of minerals, the emphasis will be on reviewing and enforcing mining laws and regulation, using mining proceeds for the socio-economic development of mining areas, promoting private sector involvement in mining through transparent and consistent mining policies, promoting tourism, particularly through developing tourism infrastructure and eco-tourism. In this context we will redouble our efforts at protecting our environment.
Success in the above areas will depend on the performance of the private sector. In turn this requires the removal of some binding constraints to private sector development. This PLATFORM outlines pro-active measures such as the review of our tax laws, direct support to small businesses, facilitating joint ventures, all aimed at reinforcing and promoting our local businesses.