Another weekend retreat for president Bio and ministers to review progress

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 January 2020:

President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, along with his ministers are on a two day retreat to discuss and review the government’s performance in achieving the targets it had set itself for the period April 2018 to January 2020.

The retreat is organised and led by the Office of the Chief Minister – David Francis, who is responsible for  performance oversight of ministers and their deputies, permanent secretaries and professional heads.

The two day event is being held as a non-residential at the Freetown International Conference Centre in Aberdeen , to avoid expensive hotel accommodation charges.

Ministers, heads of departments and senior civil servants are making their way – back and forth to the conference centre, rather than stay overnight.

This is the third ministerial retreat organised by the government in two years, since president Bio came to power in 2018.

The first retreat was held in June 2018 – barely months into the life of the new government, to set goals, objectives and map out delivery strategies for each ministry and department.

The second retreat took place in January 2019, where chief minister David Francis launched and presented his ministerial performance policy.

Since then, a report was published late last year on the performance of each ministry, which showed that most of the ministers were either underperforming or just about coping with their roles.

The theme of this third ministerial retreat is titled – “Consolidating the foundation for service delivery.” President Bio will deliver the Keynote address, followed by discussions and review of the achievements and strategies of the various ministries, against the government’s goal of delivering public services effectively.

According to the Chief Minister, “the highlights of the two day retreat are to review the New Direction progress on the implementation of the eight priorities from April 2018 to January 2020; prioritize target setting for the delivery of results and outcomes; deepen understanding of the Medium-Term National Development Plan and its linkages to service delivery, performance management, monitoring and evaluation”.

According to the government, the overall outcomes of this weekend’s retreat will contribute to bolster the work of the Office of the Chief Minister, which includes ensuring service delivery and performance management, independent verification and evidence based delivery of results.

Last week, a document released by the Office of the Chief Minister listed dozens of achievements he said the government has made in the past two years.

He said that there are challenges, yet much progress has been made in laying the foundations for a prosperous Sierra Leone, as he reiterated President Bio’s goal of ensuring that 2020 is a year of consolidating the achievements and successes of the New Direction Government.

According to the Chief Minister, the New Direction Government has achieved the following in two years – 2018 – 2020:  

  • After 12 years of trial, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a United States Foreign Aid agency in 2019 positively assessed Sierra Leone under the leadership of President Bio in the control of corruption, ruling justly and investing in people with pass marks in guaranteeing democratic rights, civil liberties, the rule of law, health and primary education expenditures.
  • The MCC also gave a pass mark to the government of President Bio in the area of economic freedom, trade policy, gender in the economy and business start-up.
  • Reviewed the Anti-Corruption Act to make it more robust in the fight against corruption.
  • The government of President Bio paid $1.2 billion domestic debt left by ex-president Koroma of the APC.
  • In 2019, President Bio launched Africa’s first block chain and decentralized digital platform under the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) in Sierra Leone.
  • Established and operationalized the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI) under the Office of the President.
  • Translated commitment into action for the construction of the Lungi/Freetown Bridge as arrangements for the construction of the bridge are far ahead.
  • Contributed to human capital development through Free Quality Education (FQE) for Primary and Secondary education to over two million children in Sierra Leone. Committed 21% of the country’s GDP to the FQE . The first government in West Africa to provide free quality education across primary and secondary schools.  Spent 30 billion Leones in the supplying of 26 million text books and other school materials; provided school buses exclusively for school going children; increased salaries of teacher by 30%; approved 106 schools across the country.
  • Controlled government deficit/borrowing.
  • Created a Ministry of Environment in response to the global environmental challenges.
  • Provided sustainable electricity supply to Sierra Leoneans, especially in the Western Area.
  • Recruited 300 female in the army – First ever in the history of Sierra Leone.
  • Commissioned 48 hospitals across the country.
  • Supplied 506 ambulances across the country to respond to health emergencies.
  • Commissioned the construction of two universities: one in Bonthe and the other in Kono District.
  • Increased salaries of government workers by 15%.
  • Appropriated Le18.3 billion to Freetown City Council to transform Freetown.
  • Renovated the Sierra Leone Parliament to a modern level.
  • Paid for application forms for students who enrolled into universities.
  • Paid school subsidies for all pupils across the country.
  • Offered scholarship to university students studying Mathematics, Geography, Agriculture, Biology and Engineering.
  • Introduced and sustained national cleaning days on the first Saturday of every month.
  • Set up Commission of Inquiry to investigate the stewardship of past government officials.
  • Approved solar lights to be install at Moyamba District.
  • Commissioned the Lumley market and Juba to Atlantic bridge.
  • Commissioned the Bo Mattru-Jong Road.
  • Commissioned the Kenema / Tongo-Fields / Koidu Road.
  • Commission the construction of 68 streets in Kenema.
  • Commissioned the construction of the Kenema mini stadium.
  • Commissioned the completion of the Tokeh Peninsula Road.
  • Supported the rehabilitation of the Bo stadium.
  • Supported the rehabilitation of Magburaka Boys School & commission the road and clock tower.
  • Commissioned the construction of the Magbereh Bridge on Makeni highway.
  • First government to rule for 9 months without international budgetary support.
  • The first government to raise Le 8.7billion from corrupt politician in six month.
  • Commissioned the Milton Margai College Library and Science Laboratory.
  • Commissioned a drone corridor in Njala, the first in the West African Sub-region.

There is no doubting the fact that the opposition and critics will be disputing many of the claims of achievements listed above by the chief minister.

But will the outcome of this weekend’s retreat be published by the government?

7 Comments

  1. Teachers going without salary for more than a year? Holy Moly! Now my brethren that’s exactly what poor governance looks like. My Goodness! I am at a loss for words! Why on earth didn’t you people plan your Free Quality Education program,very well? What happened to attitudes of cautious,diligent consultations that guarantee and ensure that adequate preparations for unforseen financial problems, circumstances,are readily in place to facilitate a smoother,efficient continuity of the process?

    There you go – Big budget over-spenders,and SLPP rice stealers,already freeloading and gobbling huge salaries,forcing poor teachers through their irresponsible attitudes to return home hungry to anxious,starving children,and worried thirsty wives.A damn Shame,and y’all know very well,who is to shoulder all of the blame!..Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  2. I want to believe some of these achievements are better said than done. Let’s look at the Free Quality Education yet the poor condition of teachers still remain the same. Teachers are given pin codes and yet go without salaries for more than one year.

  3. Can you imagine how a so called president of Sierra Leone went to one of the States to announce that most people in Sierra Leone do not go to school. Maybe that was what gave him the audersity to stand for presidency.

  4. In reference to the retreat, it looks impressive if all the listed perrformances of the ministers and officials concerned were achieved. Daily observation of how the citizens of Sierra Leone are experiencing these changes/performances in practice. Otherwise if the game of politics has been or is used to deceive them as always, then new leadership is needed to make the citizens and the country make better progress in the future.

    Now is the time to make efficient and effective sacrifices for a better Sierra Leone and its citizens. The days of selfish endeavors must now come to a close. We should watch each other’s back, we belong to the same family irrespective of your tribe, skin colour, wealth and other factors considered.

    Dr. Abraham Foday Seasay – Houston, Texas

  5. These are all necessary steps needed for a proper evaluation of the government’s achivements or failures and are also indications that we are slow in coming to terms with what it takes to make a government function efficiently.
    We need more such retreats and consultations but above all we desperately now need ACTION in the area of AGRICULTURE!
    Get our youths away from politics and party violence, get them away from petty trading, give them a solid future in AGRICULTURE!

  6. There you go – a list of achievements only on paper, also stored on computer files, that never amounts to anything tangible for our people. Another retreat huh?(lmao) A gathering of losers and freeloaders, lacking that enviable midas touch to transform, ordinary things to gold. What else are they gong to assess or discuss except newer strategies that are bound to end up in complete failures.(lol). A Chief Minister desperately trying to put a smile on the face of a totally dejected and frustrated President, by telling him more lies and stories, projecting fading illusions and delusions, that will never ever materialize into reality.

    SLPP anarchist Lahai Leema,and JJ Saffa the peoples executioner will be there, dressed in green also, loudly and defiantly pronouncing bigoted, tribal slogans, rhetoric, beliefs, and sentiments(lol What words of consolations or reassurances, will this corrupt President, be able to utter now in order to convince our nation that the New Direction is not already a Failed Direction? Will he say, that there are no longer thieves that steal rice, and overspend budgets in his ailing, failing government? And who will be bold enough to discuss the reasons why investors refuse to invest a dime or nickel in Sierra Leone?

    Will someone be frank to tell them all that their arrogance, unchecked, pride and incompetence is what is destroying our beloved country? Well, let’s wait and see! Frankly,It wouldn’t make a difference, if they went to outer space on a retreat and witnessed golden atoms dancing joyfully, around the majestic sun – these people will forever be the same – unproductive and totally inspiring….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  7. If the Sierra Leone”s president Julius Maada Bio really wants to get an accurate review on how his administration is performing, he should allow an independent, non-biased agency or non-biased experts to review the performance of the administration of president Bio, including the performances of his chief minister, David Francis, and other ministers and officials in the Bio administration in an objective report.

    I believe then president Bio will get a more accurate report on how his administration is doing. The success of president Julius Maada Bio is very beneficiary to the Sierra Leonean people, who elected him by majority vote as the president of Sierra Leone.

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