Following the National launch of the Tourism Social Safety Net Support Scheme by His Excellency the President Rtd. Brg. Julius Maada Bio, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, National Tourist Board (NTB) in collaboration with Ministry of Finance and team have launched the regional Safety Net Support to Employees of the Tourism and Hospitality sector in the Eastern Region district head quarters’ town, Kenema on Thursday 20th August, 2020 at the Paloma Guest House Conference Hall.
Chaired by the Hon. Deputy Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Mr. William I. K. Robinson, whilst steering the program, extended appreciation to H. E. the President for his support and also highlighted the essence of the Tourism Sector as key to economic diversification for provision of sustainable jobs and revenue generation opportunities.
Co-host of the program were P.C. Sadik M. Kapuwa and Her Worshipful the Deputy Mayor Madam Esther Gbuanya Kaisamba. They welcomed the Hon. Minister as daughter of the soil, expressed appreciation on behalf of the Kenema beneficiaries and noted that the safety net support is a gesture of good governance to promote sustainable jobs.
The A.I.G. of the Eastern Region Mr. T.M. Lahai in his statement, welcomed the Ministry and team and assured of perfect security in the region. He further noted the appreciable level of monitoring and compliance in respect of the Covid-19 measures as Kenema is safe to host the exercise.
Mohamed Jalloh, the Director of Tourism informed participants on the purpose of the launch of the social safety net support scheme. That it was nationally launched by the President, aiming at extending support to affected employees in the Tourism and Hospitality Sector as it was hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. “This program commences the regional launch and this package is given to all beneficiaries whose names were submitted to the National Tourist Board (NTB).” He further emphasized that some people are benefiting today and others will not, this would serve as a lesson for people to take government serious, he concluded.
Resident Minister, Eastern Region Andrew Ansu Fatoma embraced the Ministry and team and applauded the safety social support scheme disbursement to beneficiaries signifying a ‘TOK and DO’ Government by H. E. President Bio. He also implored the courage of the people for more development ahead especially on road infrastructure and employment as he encouraged the media to always give the right information to the people.
The keynote address by the Hon. Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Dr. Memunatu B. Pratt expressed delight for her fraternal linage and basic education background from Kenema. She acknowledged the support of the people and especially by the Vibrant President H. E. Julius Maada Bio as this Ministry has stood up firm to promote and rebrand the image of Sierra Leona Internationally. The regions are the basis for domestic and eco-tourism to attract international tourism while Kenema is renowned for Mining Tourism, she noted and therefore appealed for compliance from tourism operators. She emphasized on the huge revenue we are a loosing as a result of the neglect subsequent government did to the sector. Just within two years as a government of Tok and Do “we have done a lot in making the destination an imaginable one within the sub region; the Danish Tourist, Budapest rally, the influx of African-American tracing their root, who have requested for portion of land for the construction of an African- American home and tourism purposes.
This safety net support is in line with the five sets of National economic recovery program but unfortunately, majority establishments failed to submit list of their employees.
Vote of thanks was delivered by PRO Eastern Region Federation, Emanuel Dele.
In attendance were also representatives from the community, civil society and the press.