President Julius Maada Bio
Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has promised the people of Pujehun District that he would build and furnish a Junior and Senior Secondary School of Excellence exclusively for girls as part of his development plan for the district. Bio who was addressing a large number of Sierra Leoneans in the southern provincial district on Friday, 19 February, said the school would be completed in 18 months.
“It will cater for 300 pupils…It will be a full boarding school with state-of-the-art facilities,” the president said, adding: “As it is a new secondary boarding school, we will plan for its future growth and expansion… We are building in a green zone to enhance the landscape, support the teaching of biology through maintaining the natural vegetation at the location, and keeping a land bank for future development.”
The President was speaking as part of a special visit to the district, which his office says, is part of his thank-you tour since his election into office. Pujehun is a stronghold of the governing Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). On the planned school project, Bio told the gathering in the district headquarters town of Pujehun that already they had granted full tuition waivers for all pupils at the Basic and Senior Secondary education level for all 326 approved schools that benefited from government financial support, noting that 18,318 pupils were already benefitting from school feeding, 415,866 students had received free teaching and learning materials and core textbooks and that two school buses had been provided to serve thousands of students in the district.
President Bio further stated that his government would continue to provide support for agriculture in all chiefdoms throughout the district, adding that they were making available 200 hectares of new cocoa variety farms for 200 farmers in Galiness, Barry and Sorogbema chiefdoms in the 2020/2021 farming season.
“We are also developing 109 hectares (Ha) of Inland Valley Swamp (IVS) for rice cultivation in Dama, Gaura, Koya and Tonkia chiefdoms for 211 households in 2020/2021 farming season. The developed swamps will promote double-cropping per year with expected yield of three to four (3-4) metric tons per hectare with improved seed rice variety,” he said.
Regarding infrastructure, the President said in addition to ongoing work, the government would pave 3 km of township roads in Bandajuma Sowa and throughout the district, noting that they have already funded 100 solar-powered boreholes with 15 standposts for each town to serve about 12,000 people in Pujehun Kanga Chiefdom, Masam Kpaka Potoru Barri and Zimmi Makpele chiefdoms.
As part of his stay in Pujehun, President Bio was taken on a conducted tour of the facilities and investments of Socfin Agricultural Company Sierra Leone Ltd Oil Palm Plantation in Malen Chiefdom; wherein 2019 a refinery was commissioned to process over 100 tons of crude palm oil per day, producing cooking oil, soap and margarine for the local market.
“Our continuing relationship with SOCFIN demonstrates our recognition that agro-based production and industries are critical to economic development and supportive of our core commitment to improving food security. I am also informed that SOCFIN supplies two local refineries in Freetown and Sierra Leone has become a net exporter of palm oil. I am, therefore, happy to commission this important production factory,” he said at a ceremony marking the inauguration of the facility.