Tuesday, January 09, 2007

SierraTel gets US16.5 million Preferential Loan

A preferential loan agreement of 16.6 million United States dollars has been signed between the Minister of Finance and the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone at a colourful ceremony held at the Finance Ministry conference room, George Street. Finance Minister , Mr. John Benjamin,  lauded the Chinese government for their support rendering to Sierra Leone, now that there is peace and stability.

Mr. Benjamin revealed that this loan will be passed on to Sierratel in order to fast track and get their services working  throughout the country. He stated that China would also be making available its technical and management staff support to improve and correct mistakes of the past at Sierratel, and see that telecommunication network facility be enjoyed by every Sierra Leonean.

The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Mr. Cheng Wenju, emphasized that the loan will be used on the implementation of such project by the Huawei Technique Company to upgrade rural telecommunication network in Sierra Leone.He said that the project will also considerably help  Sierratel,  the biggest state- owned Telecom Company, to realize its revival through technical upgrading and capacity building.Mr. Wenju went on to say that the signing of this agreement marks the first case of utilizing a preferential loan in our bilateral economic cooperation.

The Chinese Ambassador pointed out that this loan opens a new way of funding cooperative projects between China and Sierra Leone, adding that it can also set an encouraging model for Chinese enterprises to invest in the country and help realize the bright blueprint drawn by Chinese and African Leaders in Beijing.

The Ambassador of Sierra Leone to China, Mr. Johnny, expressed thanks and appreciation to the Chinese government for the urgency expressed in this project. Mr. Johnny highlighted that China is a Pro-active Development Partner in Africa, especially Sierra Leone where in they have strengthen their diplomatic relationship. He called upon Management and Staff of Sierratel to utilize this loan for its intended purpose.

The Ambassador also mentioned that the Chinese government will soon send a Geological team to do a survey for our minerals in Sierra Leo ne.The Chairman, Board of Directors Sierratel, Dr. Abdul K. Turay gave words of appreciation and assured the Chinese Ambassador that this loan will be utilize judiciously.

Source: Cocorioko