The Produce Monitoring Board (PMB) in collaboration with the Exporters on Friday 22th November 2019, presented a cheque of Two Hundred and Fifty Million Leones (250,000,000) to the Resident Minister- East, Andrew Fatorma, at his Head Office in Kenema for the transformation of the Eastern Polytechnic in Kenema to a University.
Presenting the Cheque, the Executive Chairman of Produce Monitoring Board (PMB), Dr. James Vibbi, informed that during the launching of the Eastern University Trust Fund by the Chief Minister in Kenema for the construction of the proposed University in the Eastern Region, he pledged the amount of Two Hundred Million Leones (200 Million) on behalf of exporters in that part of the country and the presentation is in fulfilment of that pledge.
The Executive Chairman Dr. James Vibbi said as a responsible institution, he was able to engage all exporters in the region and during their engagements, he was able to coooordinated among the Exporters and raised the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty Million Leones instead of Two Hundred Million.He added that he did not find any difficulties in collecting the monies as the Exporters were very willing to support education as part of their corporate social responsibilities.
Dr. Vibbi further stated that as indigene of Kenema , they have set up a committee led by Chief Minister Professor David Francis to work on the statement of the President during his campaign to provide a University in the East.
He said the move by the Exporters demonstrated their commitment in complementing government in the promotion of education.He said it is also a motivation to other Exporters to come on board and support the transformation of the Eastern Polytechnic to a University.
He registered his institution’s commitment to exceed the amount to four hundred million Leones and continue to work towards the transformation of the College to a state of the Earth University that will meet international standard.
The Executive Chairman expressed gratitude to the Exporters who donated to the Eastern University Trust Fund; Commodity Trading Company(CTC), Randing Holdings Limited, TAS Sierra Leone Limited and FT Saad and called on other exporters to come on board and do more.
Receiving the Cheque on behalf of the University Trust Fund Committee, the Resident Minister-East, Andrew Fatoma, said he is pleased to receive such money for the construction of the proposed university in the Eastern Region. He commended the Executive Chairman of PMB and thanked the exporters for what they have done for the people of the Eastern Region, assuring that as a Resident Minister, he will ensure that he monitors all the funds that will be coming into the University Trust Fund. He reiterated that there have been a lot of promises for the transformation of Eastern Polytechnic into a university, but this time the dream of the people of Kenema will come to reality.
The Minister told the gathering that there have been challenges for students who are leaving Kenema to obtain education in other parts of the country, noting that if the university is establish, those challenges will be addressed. He used the occasion to call on others to fulfil the pledges they made.
Speaking on behalf of Eastern Polytechnic, the Registrar of the institution, John Juana, expressed thanks and appreciations on behalf of the institution to PMB and the exporters who raised the money for the transformation of Eastern Polytechnic into a university. He noted that PMB and the exporters have demonstrated that they have value for education and that they believe in building the knowledge base for the production of good citizens. He said that Eastern Polytechnic is the only higher institution of learning in the East and also one of the leading technical institutions in the country.
He stated with emotion that the establishment of the University is in the heart of everybody in the district, including President Julius Maada Bio.
On the management of the Trust Fund, he disclosed that the Chief Minister and other stakeholders set up a committee that will manage the University Trust Fund appropriately, and assured PMB and the exporters that they will use the money for its intended proposes.
In his statement, the Chief Executive Officer of TAS Stores, Amin Skaikay, said that as exporters, they have value for education and that is why they are ready to support the construction of the proposed university in the eastern region. He assured them that they are ready to support any project that will benefit the people of the region and commended the Executive Chairman of PMB, Dr. James Vibbi, for his proactive strides in the produce sector.
He reassured the Executive Chairman that as exporters they will continue work together with PMB and the people of Kenema district.
Board Member Alhaji Sherifff expressed thanks to President Bio for his strategies used in developing the country. He said with his over thirty years of experience in the Ministry of Agriculture, he is very impressed with performance of PMB through the leadership of Dri James Vibbi.
He said he has been following the activities of PMB and pleased with the revenue raised by PMB over the past ten months.
He commended Dr. James Vibbi for been proactive and result oriented and encouraged him to continue his hard work in developing the country.
A Farmer Maria Momoh appreciated the efforts of PMB and the Exporters for the support given to the Eastern Polytechnic and called for collaborative efforts between Farmers and Exporters