Minister of Finance Dennis K Vandi on Wednesday 22nd June 2022 signed the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) with the Saudi Fund for Development.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and its impact on global economies, countries with a high risk of debt distress applied for debt service suspension with their donor partners.
The Minister took the opportunity to sign the DSSI agreement during a five-day working of a delegation from the Saudi Fund for Development to follow up on ongoing projects like the Rehabilitation and Expansion of Fourah Bay Bay College, the Construction of 100 solar Boreholes and the Education support project of which Saudi Fund is providing $25 million, to confirm and sign the DSSI agreement and to prepare and appraise the King Salman hospital project.
Whiles, welcoming the delegation to Freetown, the Minister of Finance Dennis k Vandi expressed appreciation on behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone for their support to the country over the years. He thanked the fund for the FBC rehabilitation and expansion project which he said has closed with some residual issues, the 100 boreholes project that is on the way with the consultant in town and the education support project that is on the bidding stage.
He stated that the initiative of a hospital project is a laudable one hoping that the project caters for the provision of an ultra-modern facility with the right medical equipment and trained personnel that can reduce the number of people seeking medical attention overseas.
Dennis Vandi furthered that President Dr Julius Maada Bio is committed to personally commissioning the Education Support Project in all the beneficiary schools and colleges.
The head of the delegation of the Saudi Fund for Development Abdulrahman Alharbi thanked the Minister of Finance for the warm welcome and hospitality they have enjoyed so far in Sierra Leone.
He continued that they have been supporting projects in Education, Health, Transportation and Water sectors for some time now.
Abdulrahman Alharbi furthered that, once the evaluation of the education support project; and the technical design of the 100 boreholes project is completed, they are looking forward to being part of the commissioning of both projects by the president, whiles hoping that the preparation and appraisal of the hospital project will be completed before they return to Saudi Arabia.
Financial Secretary Sahr Lahai Jusu also thanked the fund for the different projects, noting that the education support project will impact historic schools in various parts of the country like the Government Secondary School –kenema, Government Secondary School-Bo, Government secondary School-Magburaka, Prince of Wales, Milton Magai Technical University and the Bunumbu Teacher College.
He continued that the 100 solar boreholes project is huge and has suffered some delays but is happy to note that the consultant is now in the country to move the project forward.