|National Youth Council Presents Award to President Koroma|
By State House Communication Unit
The National Youth Council-Sierra Leone (NYC-SL) Monday 23 January presented an award of appreciation to President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma at State House in Freetown for his tireless efforts in promoting youth empowerment in the country.
During the presentation of the award, the Chairman of NYC-SL, Ibrahim Prince Tholley, highlighted specific areas that manifested the president’s unequal stance in addressing youth issues in the country which included governance, health, education, employment among others.
In governance, Tholley talked of the inclusion of young people with reference to the current Youth Affairs Minister, the appointment of Commissioner Dauda Bangura at the Independent Media Commission, Ismail Koroma as Deputy Ambassador, and a host of others. He said the creation of the Youth Affairs Ministry; the establishment of the Youth Commission; Presidential Youth Aide, are clear indications that President Koroma cares for the youth. The introduction of the Free Health Care initiative, Tholley added, is a plus to the youth especially pregnant young women and children under five who are now provided with the opportunity to go to any government hospital and get their treatment gratis. He commended government for including education among the priority areas under the President’s Recovery Programme which has helped to provide more quality education for the youth.
The NYC-SL Chairman however called on President Koroma to do more to address their current challenges as that will help them to achieve their ultimate goal.
In his response, President Koroma thanked NYC-SL for the award of recognition and reaffirmed his commitment and dedication to the youth. “I have been committed to promoting the cause of youth empowerment and that commitment still remains unshakeable,” he assured. He said youth are the backbone of the development of every nation, and building the capacity of youth is a process which took some of the advanced nations hundreds of years. To see that the youth of this nation grow and develop, “I have committed my administration to your participation and this is why you have young ministers, ambassadors, commissioners, the establishment of Youth Commission, Presidential Youth Aide, Youth Affairs Ministry and facilitation of the establishment of the Youth Scheme,” he pointed out.
President Koroma noted the challenges and concerns of the NYC-SL including the call for legislation of the National Youth Scheme so that it could not be reversed after his tenure. He assured NYC-SL of addressing some of the challenges and stressed that his service and commitment to the youth is devoid of politics. He commended the executive of the NYC-SL for its good work and encouraged the youth to stay focused and inculcate the values of democracy, responsible behaviour, transparency and accountability. He recommended that such an interactive forum be held with the Council at least once per month to chart the way forward.
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