Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 November 2021:
On Tuesday, 23 November 2021, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai spoke about the importance of the District Development Coordination Committee (DDCC) initiative in addressing the problems of duplication, service delivery overlap and uncoordinated development interventions in the districts, to ensure effective development accountability and reporting at local level.
He was speaking at a one-day orientation and further roll-out of the DDCC initiative to four additional districts – Bo, Koinadugu, Kambia and Kono, in order to continue deepening district development coordination across the country.
Minister Kai-Kai said the President Bio-led government is committed to the strengthening and sustainability of development coordination, by making budgetary provision in the 2022-2023 national budget to sustain the DDCC initiative as permanent district coordination structures anchored in Local Councils.
He said with support from UNICEF, the Ministry through the National DDCC Secretariat will continue to provide robust oversight and technical backstopping to enhance the operations of DDCCs in these district.
“Let me take this opportunity to extend government’s appreciation to our development partner UNICEF in supporting the revitalization and roll-out of DDCC in a total of 12 districts. DDCC implementation has been successful, and I congratulate the leadership and all district stakeholders for their demonstrated commitment in re-energizing district development co-ordination”, he said.
Dr. Kai-Kai noted that the roll-out of the DDCC to four additional districts was a critical milestone in the implementation of district development plans and the Medium-Term National Development Plan. He urged the leadership and management of the Local Council to fully own the DDCC concept and ensure it succeeds.
The Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Andrew Tamba Sellu, on his part, expressed his delight at the effective functioning of the DDCC’s; noting that the discussions are rich, and the committees are becoming gradually stronger.
He said UNICEF commits its continued support to the DDCC initiative, adding that they will also continue attending the committee meetings as much as they could.
Sahr Yambasu, the Chief Administrator, Pujehun District Council, in his experience sharing response admonished the four districts to implement the DDCC initiative by ensuring joint monitoring exercises were regularly conducted in order to bring everyone on board.
He encouraged them to always report DDCC meetings’ outcomes to the general council meetings and urged council staff to monitor and follow-up on outcomes from DDCC meetings.
The Deputy Director of Rural Development at MoPED spoke about the DDCC initiative; Jusufu Kamanda, Head of Finance, MoPED also spoke about the Reporting on the utilization and management of UNICEF funds whilst experience sharing and lessons learnt session were conducted by District Planning Officers from: Kailahun, Tonkilili, Moyamba and WARD-C.
Discussions were held of success stories, challenges, lessons learnt and recommendations on DDCC. This was to provide practical and useful insights to the four districts for a successful roll-out.
Is all well and good that Dr Francis Kai Kai is pushing for District to District level local accountability, to aviod duplicating local government initiatives projects that are meant to diliver for ordinary people or communities up and down the country. We all know majority of the local district councils are operating on a shoe string budgets, that hardly meets the needs of some of our local corrupt officials, that have to chop off certain amount for themselves, before they pass on the rest of the budgetary needs for the communities at large. And if you apply the same logic, nationally, that’s what our country have been subjected to by all colours of government in the passed decades. And under Bio we can clearly see a well practice pattern, repeated by some of the government ministries.
Corruption is chocking the life out of Sierra Leone. My hope now Dr Francis will take his message of coordination and accountability, and I dare say transparency to all government ministers and departments that they are heading. This bottom up approach to address this lack of coordination and accountability should not only be relegated to local district councils, but also the police, the army and every nut and bolt of government. It should be a holistic approach to the problems. There are a lot of moving parts in the government machinery. Those corrupt officials that continued to throw spanners in the works, effectively sabotaging the progress of our countrys, development aspiration, are not only unpatriotic but they are the enemies of the State of Sierra Leone. UNICEF and other international NGOs are willing to help us.
But unless we are willing to help ourselves, chances are our country will continue to struggle in the Global economics rat race.