Sierra Leone's President Dr.
GV EXTERIOR Freetown harbour
GV Cars arriving at Parliament building for opening session (2 shots)
GV INTERIOR Parliament chamber with delegates seated
GV President Dr. Siaka Probyn speaking as delegates listen (2 shots)
SCU President Stevens delivering address as delegates listen (3 shots)
SV President Stevens leaves chamber
The economic measures announced in President Stevens' address are designed to fill the decimated treasury. The promotion of tourism and investment incentives will earn foreign exchange, a system of selected price control over essential goods and government investment in agriculture are all hoped to return stability to the economy and the country.
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Background: Sierra Leone's President Dr. Siaka Probyn Stevens has introduced government efforts aimed at stabilising his country's shaken economy. In his address at the state opening of parliament on Friday (6 June), President Stevens announced measures designed to boost the country's treasury, and he committed his government to promoting food production. Discontent has been simmering in Sierra Leone for some time as the economy has been buffeted by soaring oil prices and bad rice harvests. Only last weekend (7 and 8 June), several people were killed in the capital, Freetown, after increased transport fares led to widespread rioting.
SYNOPSIS: Freetown lies at the centre of Seirra Leone's export industry. It's a small industry, which earns little foreign exchange. And both the people and Parliament have fought an ailing economy, upset by a huge balance of payments deficit.
Parliament, in its opening session, heard their president Dr. Stevens propose an increase in taxes as part of his fight against a growing deficit. Last week police used rifles and teargas against hundreds of schoolchildren fighting against increased bus fares. Discontent has been spreading since Sierra Leone's oil bill increased threefold on top of a bad harvest which forced the government to import twice as much rice as usual.
President Stevens' speech ended optimistically -- he promised to boost agriculture in an effort to stabilise the economy, a pretext for activating the IMF (International Monetary Fund) Standby Credit Agreement.