State House, Freetown, Monday, 16 January 2023 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has received the new Minister of Finance, Sheku Ahmed Fantamadi Bangura, after his oath-taking and brief swearing-in ceremony in fulfillment of the constitutional requirement for such public officials.
“You are no stranger to the challenges we face as a country. But I believe that you have a team that will take you through this successfully. The world is going through a challenging time, and we are part of the world. I do appreciate that. But I also appreciate the fact that we have to find solutions for our own peculiar economic challenges.
“We have registered quite a lot on so many points, but we will continue to be encumbered by the economic crunch, be it fiscal or monetary, which we have to accept,” the President admonished.
He noted that the country was facing a difficult situation, adding that it would take collective efforts to manage the economy and be able to get back on the right track.
“Under the circumstances, we have done extremely well. But we have to do more on the economic front. However, I take solace in the fact that you have what it takes in terms of technical know-how and the team”.
“I also ask your team to give you their fullest support, and you can be rest assured that you have my full support,” the President said.
He emphasised that as a nation, we might not succeed unless we had a strong economy, which was a must, stressing further that a weak economy was not in the best interest of the state.
“But we can fix it and move on. That is the task that has fallen squarely on your shoulders. I just want you to know that you are not alone in this fight and that we will all support you. I am sure that, with the support that you have, if you can earnestly pursue it, you can traverse this successfully. That is the goal,” he said, adding that the Minister had a competent big team that only needed to be put to the task so that he could deliver as the head.
In his response, Mr. Fantamadi Bangura, thanked President Bio for his model of leadership, saying, “The trust and confidence you have reposed in me has prepared me for this enviable position and grateful for the honour it brings to my family”.
He described his appointment as a decision taken at a crucial time in our country’s turbulent journey and five months before elections when President Bio would be seeking a fresh mandate as leader of the country.
“Your excellency, barely four and a half years into the administration, you delivered very solid accomplishments as promised to the people of this country in the New Directions Manifesto. Under very tenuous circumstances, both globally and also within Sierra Leone, these challenges still continue, and they are actually affecting our country and our society in different ways.”
“However, we are very much aware of your vision for Sierra Leone, one that is focused on ensuring that we deliver economic sovereignty for this country. You have always got us to appreciate, and we must always utilise all our resources, both human and God-given, to ensure that we explore their potential to deliver on the aspirations of the state,” he said.
“I want to assure you that we will work with the team that we have at the economic management level, but also across government, the cabinet, and different organs of government, to ensure that we are able to earnestly engage all our partners and bring credibility to all the programmes that we have defined in the state, be it in the medium-term strategy but also on the budgetary programmes and all the other advisories,” he assured.
The Minister assured the President that “I will render this service with probity. I also want to count on your full support, His Excellency, to deliver on your expectations. Once more, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve at the highest level in this country, under your leadership”.
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