Today’s Updates are going to be unarguably short even though the sitting was lengthy in duration – meaning it is under a thousand words unlike the most recent ones.
To begin with, it is now official that the Parliamentary Updates Group (PUG) represented by Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Melvin Tejan Mansaray today signed a memorandum of understanding with Knowledge Television (KTV) represented by Sallu Kamara Country Representative KTV-SL. The deal basically endorses that PUG’s contents will be published and circulated on KTV’s website and other platforms.
Now to the business of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone; Firstly, the House agreed that the debate on the Bill – ‘The Appropriation Act, 2019 (Being an Act to authorize expenditure from the Consolidated Fund for the services of Sierra Leone for the year 2019 and for other related matters) be downsized to four days unlike the stipulated five days.
There was also an issue of; availability of Friday 9th November 2018 Votes and Proceedings which caused the Speaker to skip the sitting for a while and also the correct depicts of the Records of Votes and Proceedings in which there was a slight contention over a certain detail around the capturing of Hon. SS Thomas Friday 9th November 2019 controversial ruling over the annulment of the e-passport deal with NetPage, but this was accepted after moments of back and forth arguments from mainly the main opposition APC. This issue exposed some inaccuracies on the part of the Table Clerks. Deputy Speaker Hon. S.S Thomas reechoed that he ruled in favor of the ayes on the passport deal cancelation.
Also, a trend of cross-party Corporation was spotted by Mr. Speaker when Hon. Mathew Nyuma (SLPP) proposed the motion of the Committee on Appointment and the Public Service which was seconded by Hon. Hassan A. Sesay (APC). Cross-party Corporation has been a bane in the Fifth Parliament and it does have the tendency to ground the business of this Parliament if not worked on as observed in unfolding events recently.
In tandem with Item Number 3 on the Order Paper, the House approved the eighteenth report of the Appointment Committee thereby approving Leon Jenkins –Johnston Ombudsman, Morie Lengor Chairman Advisory Council National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Prof. Aliyageen M. Algali Chairman Tertiary Education Commission, Francis Sowa, Mustapha K. Sesay, Ethel Ruby Johnson Members Independent Media Commission, Assiatu A. Jalloh Member Board of Directors Electricity Generation and Transmission Company, Dr. Robert Chakanda Deputy Ministry of Planning and Economic Development. They were approved without acrimony in the eyes of the public appraised and approved with the blessing of the whole House.
Despite few stand downs, the House proceeds with its business uninterrupted although the undertones got to an unbearable point for not only the ruling and opposition but also for Mr. Speaker.
Apparently, if anyone is to be given credit for mending the fences between Ministry of Finance and the Parliament of Sierra Leone, Patricia Nyanga Laverley Deputy Minister of Finance should be accredited for such. Despite the hot air in the House, somehow this woman was able to be amicable with MPs unlike her boss JJ Saffa who one MP described as sarcastic and… However, Six MPs (Hon Kaisamba, Hon. Marah, Hon. Sellu, Hon Paul, Hon. Timbo, Hon. Moigua) made contributions on the first day of the 2019 budget debate. The topical issue was ‘criminal budget’ as put forward by Hon. Lahai Marah (Falaba District) but was later withdrawn versus a ‘pro poor’ budget as advanced by the Chairman of the Finance Committee Hon. Francis Amara Kaisamba (Kenema District).
In another development, the Committee on Fisheries held familiarization with representatives of the Fishing Sector and also the Research Unit had a selected session with some selected officials.
The House is expected to return to its business tomorrow (Thursday 15th November 2018) where the unexpected is to be expected on the debate on the 2019 budget.