President Ernest Bai Koroma and his ministers, including some government functionaries last weekend went on a retreat to Bumbuna in the Tonkolili District, which some political analysts have described as a strategic planning meeting for the running of the state.
The president, during the meeting, outlined his vision of a new agenda for a socio-political change in Sierra Leone. He emphasized that all government ministers and state functionaries must work as a team to ensure that Sierra Leone changed dramatically.
He noted that as from now government ministers must meet quarterly targets of performance and would sign an agreement to the presidency that would bind all ministers to work towards national development.
In his address to his ministers and other state functionaries on Saturday the President said his vision for Sierra Leone included a dynamic and growing economy, a disciplined and organized workforce, the rule of law must prevail, friendly environment for local and international trade.
For ensuring that peace and stability reign in Sierra Leone, political rivalry should be seen to be robust but friendly in promoting the democratic culture.
Finally, his vision included working towards ensuring that the majority of people were free from poverty.
During the three-day conference, ministers working in various groups addressed the critical area of energy and water supply, roads and transportation, youth employment, growth sectors that include agriculture, mining, fisheries, and transportation.
President Koroma insisted that there must be a socio-economic turnaround to move Sierra Leone out of the last position in the UNDP Human Development Index.
He emphasized further that there must be major reforms in the public sector if Sierra Leone must forge ahead in the area of development. He also noted that the private sector should be beefed up so that it could serve as vital machinery not only for investment but also a vehicle for employment.
He revealed during the three-day retreat that his government would put in place the machinery for the creation of a youth commission.
The president also pointed out that the centres for youth employment would be created throughout the country for the purposes of reducing youth unemployment.
The importance of the role of communication between ministries and between government and the populace was emphasized by the minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo who encouraged his colleagues to adhere to the concept of transparency in the dissemination of information.
The special envoy of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Madam Hillary Armstrong in her presentation on new government and public expectation, averred that the management of public administration was an art that should be part and parcel of the communication strategy of any government.