25 May 2012
The debate as to when and how it all went wrong for Sierra Leone’s once thriving and highly acclaimed public sector, cannot be pursued without reference to the country’s history, in particular its political development.
Although the debate is usually highly polarized and tainted by partisan politics, there are two strands of argument..
There are those who argue that Sierra Leone had a vibrant and well-run public sector, until the APC government came to power in 1967, when it systematically and hurriedly dismantled almost every symbol and vestiture of British colonial rule.
But, on the other side of this rather contrite debate, is the argument that the public sector – as established and run along the British colonial model, was itself unsustainable and would in any case have crumbled – with or without Siaka Stevens’ APC autocratic and corrupt governance.
For an economy that is largely dominated by the public sector, it is obvious that if poorly staffed and badly managed, the net results surely must be; low productivity, low morale, unprofessionalism, gross inefficiencies and ineffectiveness.
Although the government of president Koroma is masquerading its Agenda for Change, as the panacea for public sector reform, there is little evidence of the political will, leadership, human resource capacity and commitment needed to make tough decisions that will transform the state sector.