By Ragan M. Conteh
The ushering of development to constituents has come to be known as the fourth constitutional mandate of Members of Parliament (MPs) after lawmaking, oversight and representation. Honorable Doctor Unpha Sorie G. Koroma, MP representing Constituency114, Western Urban (Wellington, Calaba Town, and Tassoh Island, etc.), is an epitome of this new phenomenon.
Despite the facts of being an opposition All People’s Congress (APC) MP, with limited access to state resources and compounded with the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, Hon. Dr. Koroma doled ten million Leones (Le10M), as soft loan to traders, which will be paid monthly at a 10% rate.
On Sunday 1st November 2020, Hon. Dr Koroma provided cash support as micro-finance to some twenty three (23) market women in his Constituency.
“It is a loan because we want a scheme that is sustainable and more women, across the Constituency, may benefit from it in the long run,” Hon. Dr. Koroma said.
According to Hon. Dr. Koroma, the funds for the provision of the said loans were derived from his personal savings and monthly salary.
“The purpose of this loan is to assist petty traders with capital to expand their existing businesses,” Hon. Dr. Koroma said, adding that, “My expectations are that they will use these funds to grow their business. With this structure, they will be guided to be disciplined in managing the affairs of their respective business ventures,” Hon Dr. Koroma said.
It is noteworthy that some of the business women and traders took away one million, seven hundred and fifty thousand Leones and others, three hundred Leones separately depending on the kind of businesses they do. The said amounts are to be repaid after a period of time and this money will be recycled to another batch of traders to maximize profit and pay back the seed money.
Hawa Jalloh and Mariama Sesay, among other beneficiaries, registered their appreciation to Hon. Dr. Koroma, calling the gesture a timely and necessary move. They however urged the MP to bring more development while they prayed for God’s provision for him.
“We are happy for this money, as it shows that our MP cares and concerned about our plight. Business has not been smooth of late, but, with this loan, we can continue to stay in business. We assure that we will continue to support you to stay longer in Parliament as you are unlike your predecessors,” the traders said.
In another separate constituency development, Hon. Dr. Koroma donated and installed three (3) solar lights at the Old Wharf Fishing Community, Wellington in Freetown.
Harbor Master, Chairman, Tribal Head, Ya Alimamy and a cross-section of the APC Constituency Executive, Fishermen, Boat Owners, Residents of Old Wharf and other stakeholders expressed gratitude to Hon. Dr. Koroma, noting that light is life and for far too long the place has been engulfed in darkness.
“With these solar lights, I hope that crime and insecurity, especially at the Wharf area, will be salvaged. I am here to fulfill the promise that I made before you elected me into office,” Hon. Dr. Koroma said.
In a recent deliberation with the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt, Hon. Dr. Koroma echoed the plight of his constituents, endearing the Government of Sierra Leone to join him to usher development to the tourist attraction site of Tassoh Island for which the minister assured him of betterment in that part of the country.
In Parliament, Hon. Dr. Koroma is admired as a fine gentleman by his colleagues from across the political divide. He only takes to the Floor and speak during Committee meetings, where he underscores the plight of his constituents and the broader public.