|“UTB is an indigenous business Sierra Leoneans should be proud of” – says President Koroma|
By State House Communication Unit
“The Union Trust Bank (UTB) Limited is an indigenous business institution Sierra Leoneans should be very proud of,” President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma said during the official opening and dedication of the bank’s new corporate headquarters building at Howe Street in Central Freetown on Friday March 17th, 2017.
The president pointed out that the growth of UTB as the only indigenous private commercial banking institution over the last 22 years, about 9 of those years under his Presidency, attest to the role of government in the promotion and development of the private sector in Sierra Leone. “On entrepreneurship promotion, Union Trust Bank’s Chief Executive Officer clearly stands out as a national pride, worthy of admiration and emulation; a gentleman with a long and distinguished public service career; spanning over 20 years in the financial world,” he said.
President Koroma however noted that Dr James Sampha Koroma’s achievements are not without personal challenges and sacrifices, but overcoming them, he went on, is what puts the UTB Chief Executive Officer above the ordinary public servant and entrepreneur. “As Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, I was his co-Guest of Honour on three memorable occasions: the opening of Yoni Community Bank; the opening of Marampa-Masimera Community Bank, both in early 2003, and the opening of the Union Trust Bank, Kambia Branch, in 2006. As President, I had been the Guest of Honour in opening the Union Trust Bank branches, again in Lunsar in 2013 and Yoni in 2015.
He expressed delight to formally open the first Glass Tower of Capitalism; “a symbol of successful private entrepreneurship in our country.” The president described the event as a celebration of true indigenous entrepreneurship, hard work and commitment, saying that it is also a true testimony to the possibilities for growth in the private sector.
President Koroma further highlighted his government’s commitment towards private sector promotion and development through policy and incentives, and added that the private sector has been given the space to carry on unimpeded with their corporate objectives and business models as well as providing a level playing field through the promotion and implementation of appropriate regulatory mechanisms.
In his brief comment, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Momodu L. Kargbo, referred to the investment as massive and therefore called on government to continue promoting local entrepreneurship as UTB, he emphasized, has proved its efficiency beyond doubt. He expressed hope over the collaborative efforts of his ministry and the Bank of Sierra Leone to stabilize the exchange rate, and disclosed the projection of this year's economic growth at 6.1 percent.
The Deputy Governor of Bank of Sierra Leone, Dr Ibrahim Stevens, informed that UTB is a key player in micro-finance in Sierra Leone and has contributed 10% of employment in the banking sector. He thanked President Koroma for his tireless efforts to see things done especially in the area of working with banks to promote young entrepreneurs.
Showing appreciation, the CEO of UTB heartily thanked President Koroma for his upright decision not to extend his term of office as widely anticipated. He described the building as a true product of an authentic Sierra Leonean endeavour that is difficult for a foreigner to build in a foreign country.
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