EU €10 million budget support for Sierra Leone’s Covid-19 economic  response 

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 02 June 2020:

Sierra Leone’s National Authorising Office (NAO) in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, announced yesterday that the Government of Sierra Leone has met European Union (EU) requirements for early disbursement of a €10 million fixed tranche of budget support for the 2020 financial year, under the Third State Building Contract for Sierra Leone.

Last month the government published its Post-COVID19 economic response strategy which it says will cost over $300 million to deliver.

According to statement published by the NAO yesterday, this €10 million fixed tranche of budget support will provide much needed flexibility for Government initiatives to maintain macro-economic stability and support livelihoods, as well as help mitigate funding gaps created by the need to divert significant public development resources towards the Coronavirus response.

“The Third State Building Contract is central to the EU’s development partnership with Sierra Leone and has a total value of €80,000,000, with €25,000,000 yearly disbursements comprising fixed and variable tranches of €10,000,000 and €15,000,000 respectively.

“These tranches are released through direct financial transfers conditional on the Government meeting pre-agreed sustainable development reforms, and are intended to strengthen the institutional capacity of the government to implement its Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP),” the statement reads.

In its submission to the EU, the Government included:

 A summary of key activities implemented under the 2018 Supplementary Budget and MTNDP, with a particular focus on progress achieved in the key areas of agriculture, education and governance, and foreseeable challenges.

 A review of the macro-economic environment, which indicated that the cumulative effect of fiscal measures adopted in response to Covid-19 would negatively impact progress of the MTNDP and delivery of public services, and that early disbursement of the fixed tranche would help provide the fiscal space to contain the spread of the pandemic in Sierra Leone and mitigate the impact on its people.

 A review of progress made in public finance management, which included a review of the Government’s progress in fighting corruption, as well as other improvements in Governance.

 A review of progress made towards increasing the public’s understanding of and access to budgetary information.

The National Authorising Officer and Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr Francis Kai-Kai (Photo) thanked the EU Ambassador, Tom Vens and said: “The Government of Sierra Leone’s economic policy response to the Coronavirus pandemic, necessitates meeting growing health emergency needs, supporting economic activity and preparing the ground for a seamless transition from recovery to development.

The EU’s early disbursement of the €10 million fixed tranche of budget support for the 2020 financial year, under the Third State Building Contract for Sierra Leone will help the Government of Sierra Leone deliver on its commitments in these areas. This is a critical period for Sierra Leone. We are thankful that the trust and spirit of cooperation that we have nurtured with our EU partners is reflected in their invaluable solidarity with us at this time and we look forward to beating this pandemic together.”

The National Authorising Office, as part of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, works with the EU Delegation to manage the implementation of EU funds, oversee EU-funded projects, and ensure their alignment with Sierra Leone’s national development priorities.

The NAO currently monitors a range of projects which span infrastructure, governance, education and agriculture.

9 Comments

  1. I just love how Sierra Leoneans commend people like Francis Kaikai for excellent work. Well, he did practically nothing. This money is EU commited budget support. The interesting point that is not being discussed is that this €10M has been forward paid. Meaning it has been paid ahead of when it was to be paid to aid GOSL meet the sudden expenditure risen from the Covid 19 outbreak. It also means and most importantly that it will not be coming later. This money was due later in the year. So as we spend it now (and keep in mind €10M is nothing when we are discussing a national budget) we should begin to worry about the shortfall we will certainly have later in the year when this money was due.

    Should Mr KaiKai be able to magic that shortfall, we can begin to commend him. We have to stop clapping for people when they simply do their jobs. We have to begin to understand basic economics. We may have natural resources but we have no infrastructure or ability to extract them on an industrial scale for it to benefit us nationally. They are worth ZERO so long as they stay underground. Companies that come to extract take all the risk with their capital and know how. They risk building the much needed infrastructure that enables them extract these resources and mostly run at a great loss for years.

    Whilst I accept their dealings with the country and government could be better, it will do us a lot better also to learn a bit more about the economics behind these sectors. For us to add value locally, government must build the infrastructure that companies will pay to use for them to be able to process material here and add value to our natural resources and agri goods before export. Sierra Leone needs to grow up, we need to be more mature in our approach to things. We need to first be able to feed ourselves. Aid support is crucial to our survival as we are not a rich country. We need to better manage our resources with very long term thinking. We need to develop our human capacity in a sustainable manner that will make us competitive. There are low hanging fruits but we ignore them for far fetched and unrealistic plans like the Lungi bridge. Discipline could be one low hanging fruit. Law and Order is critical to attracting the right sort of investment.

    • So why don’t you help us to mature and tell us how crucial these aid packages are for our survival, when a person like me who is in his mid 30s was born into this perpetual receive-izm for our survival. Concerned citizen, how long is it going to take for us to get to a point where depending on foreign manna will be a thing of the past? What is the set timeframe expected for us to shift-shape away from the white man’s burden, which with time has transition to everyone else’s burden – even a third world country like India has a stake in this madness? Is there an approximate date that you are aware of but we are not? Also, what does a wealthy nation consist of to you? Is it based on having an unlimited access to currencies that are not ours, or something more?

      You propose that Sierra Leoneans should strive to get a better understanding of basic economics, but would that be any relevant to us, when considering that this exact economics that you are speaking of has not done squat for us as a people? 59 years and pushing but we cannot even manage to obtain public bathrooms but we should learn about economics? What is the logic in that, Concerned citizen?

    • Indeed. “We can begin to commend” Dr Francis Kai Kai and his team for a job well done. I am also a Concerned Citizen, but I don’t want to understand basic economics. What I want to understand and hear is, Dr Francis Kai Kai and his team have delivered what I believe is crucial at this very time of our country’s economic history. Do you agree with me Mr Concerned Citizen? I hope you do.
      Hear Mr Concerned Citizen there, trying to teach me basic “buying and selling” instead of acknowledging the fantastic job done by Dr Francis Kai Kai and his team. God bless Dr Francis Kai Kai, his team and Mr Concerned Citizen.

  2. Good day bro. Very good and impressive comment. For your info bro, there is a 6 million dollars investment presently on going in Hastings by a company called savinna diamond to establish a refinery that will make our raw materials like gold and diamond into an end product, thus taking care of the value chain which you mentioned in your comment. Check it out bro and thanks for your inspirational comment.

  3. Gentlemen – a beggars mentality is nothing to be proud of;its stems from an attitude of indolence,laziness,and a state of mind that was nurtured,and raised in an atmosphere of debilitating corruption,and witlessness.It is characterized by a diminished sense of the great importance that should be attached to taking responsibility for the outcomes of our endeavors,efforts and actions.Africans,and their leaders,have longed shamelessly believed that the great risks,and immense challenges,that come with shouldering our responsibilities must be transferred on to necks of others.”Why should we suffer broken backs” they say,”while there are others who robbed us blind once before that are more than able,and willing to carry our heavy burdens?”Colonial masters beware!

    Now that’s what a delusional,shockingly tainted,offensive,mentality of a slave looks like folks;his eyes are always looking up,and hands,readily stretched out towards a White-skinned master.Consider this,since our poorly orchestrated, Independence, that stripped us totally naked like a harlot by her heartless pimp,the world has now seen how naked we really are;A failing continent overcrowded with criminals,and incompetent people.Since that time,in the whole of the vast,immeasurable,African continent,our governments have consistently been our biggest,reliable sustainable employers…DISGRACEFUL!

    They callously cut down trees,and sell them for peanuts,dig diamonds and sell them for the prices of marbles,and granite;worst of all traffick their own fragile children,and compel them to roam,and walk the icy cold streets of Europe,Asia,and America as wretched,beggarly commercial sex workers…A damn shame!

  4. So, what does the European Union get in return? Because we now have a clear understanding that there is no such thing as a free lunch. There is no such thing as free aid, so it’s only right that we the people of Sierra Leone know exactly what the charity givers are getting in return for their contribution. After all it’s under our name that these loans are being sanctioned. It’s our names that are being used to justify getting these loans/aid. So in that respect, I think the people of Sierra Leone deserve an explanation as to what the country is giving back in return.

    Also, I feel as though we’re setting a bad precedent for our children of always having our hands out. Our vulnerable children are paying close attention to the mentally impeded politicking that our government has always indulged in. I say it’s impeding because having to get approval to live outside of our continental confines weighs down heavily on the average African psyche. It is the ultimate insult to our being Africans and our kids are watching. They might not be fully developed in all their physical and physiological potential, but they are watching every move the government and the people who are responsible for their upbringing, make.

    Also, we cannot profess to champion quality education for our children, when at the same time we have men who are responsible for this education, who themselves are supposedly a product of quality education but have turned out to be mere beggars. That reality naturally gives the impression that irrespective of acquiring a quality education, our best bet is to end up begging for survival at the end of it all.

  5. Professor Dambisa Moyo, the Zambian economist, and writer argued in her book entitled “Dead Aid”, that by giving Aid to African governments, the international community is unwittingly obstructing real growth of our African economies. Rather, the European powers and their American counterparts should open their markets to African products, so they can compete on a level playing field. Most of the raw materials are coming from Africa and taken to Europe and America, only to be refined and sold back to us at huge profit for European countries and America, to boost their own economies. When we come with a begging bowl, they give us the loose change and to add insult to injury, they tell us – don’t spend it all at once kids.

    Let us take diamonds which our country is known for. We produce the raw diamonds and they are taken to Belgium, India, and the State of Israel where the cutting and processing is done. It is then displayed in shop windows in London, Paris, Hong Kong, and New York at astronomical prices. These three countries that do the cutting and design are not known as diamond producing countries, nonetheless, they benefit from it more than the African countries producing the raw materials. Why can’t our government insist – if you want our raw materials like diamond, Iron ore, or gold, you should come and invest in places like Kono, Kenema and Lunsar in steel producing plants, and build the processing plants for diamonds. So they only export the finished product with a stamp saying – MADE IN SIERRA LEONE.

    The advantages will be unlimited. Youth unemployment will fall drastically. Our economy will grow overnight. And finally Sierra Leoneans everywhere will say, thank God we are blessed with these natural resources. Right now, it feels like we are cursed for having them. That is what the Middle Eastern countries did with their oil. So what is the difference? The answer is simple – the type of people running our countries. If we process our diamonds, we will never go knocking on the doors of the IMF or ask for EU bail out. All these Hip Hop Stars will make a trip to Sierra Leone, just to get that one million dollar marriage ring for their girlfriends. The western powers understood this better than us. As long as you are feeding an animal it will never leave your side. There will always be that master-servant relationship. Our government needs to wake up to this reality and put its foot down and say – no more exploitation of our natural resources.

  6. Yeah. The accomplishment of Dr Francics Kai Kai in such a short time in office, makes me feel good and have hope that light is at the end of the tunnel. When people like Dr Francis Kai Kai, who respect the rule of law and democracy and more importantly are credible and trusted by the international community, your country gets foreign aid and help compared to that of Kenya. See how confident and Presidential Dr Francis Kai Kai looks in that picture? Who dare says otherwise? A champion is always a champion, and he will still be considered an SLPP party champion. Not a “BS party” champion. Tell me what “BS party” means if you care.

    One of my sources told me that, “Sierra Leone and two other African countries were the first to receive this EU aid because of the honest and brilliant proposals made by their respective Ministries of Economic and development planning.” Can anyone even dream of such an accomplishment for Sierra Leone, where the International Community is fed up with us because of the violence, unlawful incarceration and barbarity taking place everywhere in the country? After weeks of violence and hope for a brighter Sierra Leone dumped in the bin, Dr Francis Kai Kai and his team have brought us hope. €10,000,000 is scarce to find these days from donor countries and institution because of COVID-19.

    Finally, my advice to President Bio and the Bio SLPP is to continue to put champions like Dr Francis Kaikai in significant ministries like Finance, Foreign Affairs etc. My hope is a champion/winner will soon be in a newly formed Ministry of Finance Economic and Development Planning in any future cabinet reshuffle. When you get winners, you win. God bless President Bio for listening and bless Dr Francis Kai Kai and his team. HIP HIP! HURRAY! Dr Francis Kai Kai.

  7. Sierra Leone will never ever change with this type of freeloading attitude and mindset – always on our knees pleading and begging for handouts, instead of using thriftiness, prudence and ingenuity to achieve sustainable progress and move our nation forward. How long will we keep on prostrating ourselves, thanking masters that no longer want to be our masters, that are ridiculing us behind the scenes, frowning on our stupidities, inadequacies, indecisiveness and lack of integrity?

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