2016-12-26

Is the Sierra Leone Government Justified to Increase the Prices of Passport and Fuel?

I have to take time to critically look at the whole arguments presented by majority of our family members opposed to the increased in prices of fuel and our passport in the last few days /weeks. My position in both increments is one that is tied to two answers - YES & NO.

On the following conditions, the increase in both passport and fuel prices by our politicians is justifiable:

- if these essential commodities as rice, fuel, etc, are smuggled to neighbouring countries for sale and create riches for a limited number, then increasing the prices of such commodities at home to level with prices of such commodities to those countries where they are smuggled to is more than justifiable.

- if the increase was made by our government with the intention of improving the lives of our people by investing in food production, in our medical facilities, in our water and power supply, in the safety of our people, etc, then the increase in prices by our government of those commodities is justifiable.

My people, our Sierra Leone government canít stand by and watch and allow our meager sources that are subsidised for the good of our people to be smuggled to other neighbouring countries, and which result sometimes to shortages on our end. This is not only silly on the part of the administration to allow this to continue to happen, but would also make our leaders appear irresponsible.

Guinea is not a poor country. Sierra Leone is not a producer or manufacturer of fuel nor a better producer of rice than Guinea, and it would therefore not appear logical for us to sell these commodities at a cheaper rate than any other country within the sub region.

Having said that, the increased in prices of fuel and passport in our country by our government would be illegal and unjust if:

- It is done with the aim by the government to accumulate wealth for themselves and their families.

- If the prices of those commodities have now been made higher than prices for such commodities in neighbouring countries.

- If these increased costs only reflect sufferings on the poor and powerless and voiceless - while the powerful and rich continue to lead wasteful lifestyles at the expense of stateís resources.

I must hasten to point out the potential mistake that the government might have made:

- The increase in those commodities came at a very short notice, and therefore took our people unawares. The people were not sufficiently informed. In particular, their representatives like councilors and parliamentarians should have prepared the people for this difficult situation, especially if it was unavoidable. The mistake of not having adopted that path is the reason for this national outcry.

But all in all, on the assumption that these monies should be used for the benefit and development of our people and the country, I call on all our people to show understanding and try to cope with this difficult adopted state policy.

Let us remember that we went through much harder times than this. We went through war and Ebola and came out strong and united. Therefore, together, we can get through this one, and let us not allow this latest unfortunate development to tear us apart.

Our poor people donít require a passport. Anyone who is able to go for a passport is someone in a class to be able to afford it - or at least, one whose family members can afford it. Therefore, the increase in price of our passport should not be a great cause of raising any eyebrows - especially if these monies can improve the standard of our country medically, and agriculturally and academically, etc.

MESSAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT:

Your people are suffering. Make good use of every stateís penny for the development of your country and your people. Be hard on crime from the top to bottom. Do not compromise the safety and peace of your people. Do not put up with anyone who tries to misappropriate funds that collectively belong to your people. Do not treat criminals of the state as people that need to be celebrated. They must be paid in full and accordingly.

My people, Sierra Leone is very close to her advancement. Let us keep the faith.

The government should not see those critical of them as enemies, but as brothers and sisters and friends and as a family. There is no Sierra Leonean that wishes evil for Sierra Leone. Only views on how to see Sierra Leone and her people develop is where we differ. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not only a liar, but a devil or a Satan. Please let the government appreciate that it is those critical voices that makes it a better government. Praise singers or jaylibas canít take you very far.

Thank you so much, and may Almighty God (Allah) bless us all, bless our country and guide all our present and future leaders. Amen/ Amin.

The views expressed in this article are the authorís own and do not necessarily represent The New Rising Sunís editorial policy.

Stay with The New Rising Sun for the latest News from Sierra Leone and around the World   

Mohamed Lamin Kargbo (MLK) - The New Rising Sun Contributor, United Kingdom