The Civil Society Consortium on Community Accountability and Service Delivery have observed the operation of an incessant smuggling cartel across various Border Crossing Points in Sierra Leone.
The Consortium further notes with dismay the inferior quality of smuggled goods across these crossing points which has further exacerbated an already crippling health environment in Sierra Leone. Quite apart from the smuggling, the Civil Society Consortium have also noted the production and promotion of different energy drinks and illicit drug substances and alcohol which continues to ravage the sanity of our young people and the Sierra Leone population.
“As a Civil Society which holds Government accountable on Service Delivery, we have noted with great concern the budgetary toll or effects on Government in providing increased health and sanitation outcomes for its people,” they stated.
The CSO states that In 2022, the Government of Sierra Leone budgeted around Le 897 billion on the Health Sector alone, adding that that is aside the different interventions by International Donor Partners within the Health Sector.
“As a responsible institution, let it be known that Government cannot be seen as striving to uphold the health sector, whilst a portion of society continues to open doors to harmful and inferior products in the Sierra Leone; an action which clearly undermines the efforts of in the health sector,” they states.
“In this regard, the Consortium is therefore calling on all authorities concerned especially the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau, the National Revenue Authority, Sierra Leone Police, Importers of beverages, Civil Society Organizations, local producing factories, and Ministry of Trade to take the necessary actions on this menace which should include but not limited to:
1. Imported or Exported goods especially consumables go through a thorough test before finding its way in or out of the local market/store.
2. To discourage smuggling or the production of harmful products, we advocate for the introduction of tax stamps for products like spirits, alcohol, energy drinks and loads of others.
3. An affirmative action to boycott certain productions which are clearly and consistently harming a huge chunk of Society.”
The Consortium further called on Standard Bureau to engage with NRA for them to develop a strategy that will help the authority in introducing the Excise Stamp to minimize illegal importation of alcohol and other band substances.
“We will end by also calling on the Commissioner General and his team to further take the actions by robustly engaging and collaborating with the relevant government agencies for them to introduce the Excise Stamp for the authority to help minimize the illegal importation of alcohol, energy drinks and other substances through our porous borders,” they concluded.
“As civil society the good work of the authority within record time is making us proud to be among countries that is growing digitally in collecting revenue for the state even at this difficult time in the world and to also ensure that all issues dealing with smuggling, illegal importation of energy drinks, alcohol and other substances across our porous boarders are resolved in the interest of us all, with key emphasis on the introduction of the Excise Stamp to cub smuggling.”