Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sierratel Will Bounce Back as Communications Giant

The Sierrratel Communication system is among the 28 listed public enterprises for privatization in this country. Before this time Sierratel was counted among the main sources where government gets income for economic growth in the country. But this economic bread basket degenerated as a result of devastating blow rendered on the parastatal during the eleven years rebel war. Even when the war ended since 2002 the company had still not been able to rise from its ashes.

However the government, in collaboration with management of Sierratel, has put in place significant modalities to resuscitate the creeping Sierratel Company so that it can get its formal strength to provide communication and other services to the people of this country which are now purely done by foreign mobile companies.

To get the clear understanding about the current position of Sierratel, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Alpha Sesay disclosed in an exclusive interview with Standard Times that a framework agreement has been signed between the Governments of Sierra Leone and the Republic of China to render finance to the former, which will be used to revive Sierratel. China will be providing Sierra Leone with a preferential loan in the tune of one hundred and thirty three million Yuan, for the CDMA Project and the agreement stipulated that the money should be paid back in reminding where in the Chinese government will pay the discount on this loan to the lender.

The agreement took place on 21st December 2006 and the loan has a grace period of five years or more but not exceeding 20 years. A 2% interest rate should be given to the lender.

This will give more strength to Sierratel to introduce and operate the fix wireless net work and 31 cells will be located through out the country. Mr. Alpha Sesay further noted that even though the new system will serve the entire country, much of it will be concentrated in the rural areas.

We all know that few years back Sierratel used to have street phone booths for public services, but this opportunity has long since come to a standstill. To revive all these communication facilities, the Managing Director also expressed optimism for an improvement in their services to the nation.

On the issue of the Indian project, the M D also added that the Global system for mobile and land line communication systems to replace the switch network system will be also done by the Indians. This system, the Managing Director noted will cover the entire country but more concentration will be in the city. All this is good news for the Sierratel Company

The Managing Director, Mr. Alpha Sesay further maintained that the ECOWAS Bank will be providing funding for the Indian project, while the Chinese project implementation will soon kick off when processing of the agreement document is completed between the Ministry of Finance and the Sierratel Company. There is great hope on the part of the Sierratel Management that when once these projects are implemented the company will become one of the most viable communication companies in the country.

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