Julius Maada Bio
Julius Maada Bio

The newly elected president of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, on Thursday reiterated his promise to provide free primary and secondary education and for students majoring in sciences in colleges and other tertiary institutions across the country.

The president was addressing the nation during the state opening of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic.

Constitutionally, the state opening of Parliament is officially done by the president who in turn would address the nation on several issues. This is the first official State of the Union address given by President Bio since he was elected and sworn in as the President of Sierra Leone on April 4th.

In his address, President Bio re-echoed several of his promises embedded in his political campaign manifesto.

He promised to provide free university education for teachers who have served for over ten years.

In the area of fighting corruption, Bio vowed to set up a special anti-corruption division in the High Court of Sierra Leone to promote judicial specialization and expeditious trial of corruption cases.

In the area of agriculture, he noted that his government would rely on private sector investment but urged politicians and urban middle class to demonstrate interest in agriculture.

“Accordingly, effective 2019, investment in agriculture (including animal husbandry) will be a pre-condition for holding political office. The Office of the President and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will work out the details to implement and monitor this policy directive. Additionally, my administration will encourage local banks to lend to the private sector for agricultural purposes,” he said.

In the area of press freedom, he promised to take immediate steps to repeal the seditious libel law, support the School of Journalism and other institutions to train journalists, encourage the private sector to invest in the media, provide budgetary subvention to Sierra Leone Association of Journalists and enhance the capacity of the Independent Media Commission (IMC) to enforce the IMC Act.

The president would be inaugurated on Saturday, May 12, at the Siaka Steven Stadium in Freetown. Enditem.

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