In a landmark event held at Sierratel HQ on Friday 25th of May, the Government of Sierra Leone, represented by the National Commission of Privatization (NCP), officially handed over the operations and management of Sierratel to Management &Development International Company (MDIC), an internationally renowned consulting and management company in the telecommunications sector. The management contract has been awarded for a period of three years, following the launch on an international tender process.
In his opening statement, Mr Abu Bangura (Chairman of the NCP) informed his audience that this event marks a milestone in the Commission's strategy to revive the fortunes of Sierratel and to ensure that both the government and the people of SL realise the full benefits of the company's potential. While recognising the efforts and hard work of the previous management led by Mr. Alpha Sesay, the NCP Chairman indicated that the evolution of the telecommunications technology and the competitive landscape of this sector in Sierra Leone mandate the introduction of International expertise that would play a key role in transforming Sierratel into a leading service provider in telecommunications in Sierra Leone. He emphasized that NCP will remain fully engaged in monitoring MDIC’s performance and application of the management contract terms and that the Government will remain the sole 100% shareholder of Sierratel. He further stated that there should be cooperation and team work from both sides.
The Minister of Information and Communication, Mr. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, voiced his support for this long awaited step, critical for Sierratel’s success and for the choice of MDIC as the right partner in this venture, indicating that he was able within a trip to Lebanon to visit MDIC HQ to confirm MDIC credentials and review its worldwide operations. He called on all to support the management contract and assured of his ministry's continued support of Sierratel. The Minister also had warm words of praise for the outgoing MD and his achievements over thirty years.
In his final remarks as MD of Sierratel, Mr. Alpha Sesay shared with all the current strong financial status of Sierratel after having paid off all debts owed to other mobile operators as well as the future challenges he foresees. He reminded the Government of the necessity to provide the new Sierratel management team with the required investments, if the company were to compete successfully. He commended the NCP Technical team and his management team in the management contract process.
MDIC Chairman Mr. Hussein Rifaï confirmed MDIC commitment to the transformation of Sierratel through close cooperation with all stakeholders, including the existing staff and management. He emphasized MDIC’s strategy of building on the existing resources while ensuring the transfer of expertise and knowhow.
The event was chaired by the Chairman of Sierratel Mr Kargbo who also spoke very warmly of Mr Alpha Sesay and also called on all to support the Government's efforts for developing Sierratel. Present also at the event were key staff from NCP, the Ministry of Information and Communication as well as Sierratel in addition to the management team seconded by MDIC.
Under the management contract, the Government of Sierra Leone will provide the required funding and investments for the upgrade of Sierratel fixed and mobile networks providing state of the art digital, voice and high speed internet services to businesses and private residences. MDIC has the responsibility of operating and managing Sierratel ensuring professional and internationally recognized management practices, providing competitive product offerings and services that will be attractive to the market, growing Sierratel market share and revenues while abiding by Key Performance Indicators. The new MD for Sierratel during the Management period is Mr. Adel Taher who is quite familiar with the country and its telecommunications sector. There is great optimism that MDIC will be able to replicate at Sierratel its success stories with the support of all stakeholders.