Parliamentary committee meets ministry of planning and economic development officials

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 June 2020:

A cross section of Sierra Leone’s Parliamentary Committee on Planning and Economic Development, on Tuesday,  9th of June, met with the Minister of Planning and Economic Development – Dr. Francis Kai-Kai, his Deputy – Dr. Robert Chakanda and members of the ministry’s staff at their Tower Hill office in Freetown.

According to the ministry, the purpose of the meeting was to widen MPs understanding of the work of the ministry, and to discuss possible opportunities for collaboration in the discharge of their parliamentary oversight role and to ensure that governance processes work well.

In his statement, the Chairman of the Committee – Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (MP), while expressing his appreciation for the invitation, noted that the introductory meeting was a sign of a new beginning with the substantive Minister.

Hon. Dr. Yumkella said the Committee would organize an opportunity for the Minister to engage all fifteen (15) committee members, and possibly the leadership of Parliament to discuss it’s roles and responsibilities within the governance structure of Sierra Leone.

Yumkella noted that this would also be an opportunity for the Ministry to present the COVID-19 recovery plan and how it interfaces with the Medium-Term National Development (2019-2023), which should be owned by the people, demonstrating continuity.

Welcoming the delegation, the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai expressed his gratitude for the visit. He said in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic it is important to begin such engagement, as it has to do with the people’s business.

Dr. Kai-Kai said he felt very reassured to have a committee with such quality and considerable experience on development issues. He said the Ministry is ready to continue further engagements as planned, and that the Ministry has built a reputation for forging partnerships; noting that the partnership with parliament would be a very productive one.

“Since I came, whatever we have tried to do as a Ministry, we make sure parliament is part of it. We will intensify the relationship and parliament will help us greatly, especially in the ownership of the development process, which we emphasize”, said Dr. Kai-Kai.

The Deputy Chairman of the Committee,  Abdul Latiff Sesay MP, and the Clerk of the Committee, Mahmoud Barrie explained the oversight functions of the Committee in ensuring the Ministry performs its duties in accordance with the laws and budget passed by Parliament.

Also present at the meeting were: the Acting Development Secretary at the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development – Umaru Conteh, the National NGO Coordinator – Eric Masallay, and the Director of Planning, Policy and Research, – Dr. Sheka Bangura.

1 Comment

  1. Is good to have the experience of people like Dr Yumkella in this position, and Dr Kai Kai to provide the necessary training and help to develop a clear understanding of the roles, and responsibilities of those appointed to head this ministries. Parliament role is crucial to help coordinate with the various ministries in implementing development projects across the country. Parliament as the representative of the people should be given more powers on how things are conducted in our country. Government ministers in their various capacity should identify projects, work out the cost, and come to Parliament ask for approval. And most importantly give the finance committee a reasonable time line how long the project will take to complete. Government ministers should be made aware their duty, and responsibility is to the people, not the president.

    The president as the sole representative of the people of the country, can not divide his time in running all this ministries and that is why he delegate these powers to individuals ministers. I think parliament should also have committee members that occasionally summon ministers in their various capacities to review their work and hold them to account. That way, we could avoid late completion of projects, corruption and every Leone spent can not be accounted for. If minsters or even the head of the Sierra Leone police or Army, can be summoned and asked to account for the actions of their organisations they head, I think we could avoid a lot of the problems that we witnessed recently; like the Pademba road prison riots and the detention of political opponents, with no one to hold accountable for abuse of state power.

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