Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 July 2018:
In his foreword to the Sierra Leone People’s Party Manifesto, 2018, as then Presidential Candidate, President Julius Maada Bio writes that: “Our New Direction therefore offers the people of Sierra Leone a stark choice between the current ‘Business as Usual Status Quo’ of the APC that has converted Sierra Leone into a land of poverty, rampant corruption, gross indiscipline and underdevelopment and the SLPP’s New Direction’s promise of efficient and effective management of the state that will make Sierra Leone a significantly better country through inclusive politics, inclusive economic growth, inclusive development and inclusive governance.”
This Stark choice has been made ever-glaring by the economic burden left by the All People’s Congress Government: external debt amounting to US$1.6 billion; domestic debt amounting to Le4.99 trillion; an exploded payroll of Le2 trillion; Government arrears to local contractors and vendors amounting to US$1.4 billion or Le10.7 trillion; the suspension of the Extended Credit Facility by the International Monetary Fund; and the suspension of the operations of Shandong Steel as the major exporter of iron ore.
With such inheritance, the priority for president Bio in his First 100 Days has been to pursue fiscal consolidation focusing mainly on enhancing domestic revenue mobilization and expenditure rationalization to restore macroeconomic stability.
Despite the Government’s impressive measures on economic recovery, the achievements within the First 100 Days in governance including the historic reading of the Supplementary Government Budget on 13th July, 2018 have shown a Government which is truly a New Direction.
The Bio led government achievements in its first 100 days, can be seen in four key policy areas: Transforming the Economy; Human Development; Improving Governance and Improving Infrastructure.
So, what has the government achieved in improving good governance?
As the Governance Transition Team Report has shown, the state of governance inherited by the SLPP Government has been abysmal. Furtherance to the commitment by His Excellency the President to ensure efficient, political and economic management of the state, the following has been achieved by the Government within the first 100 days in Office:
The President has established the Office of the Chief Minister, which provides a supervisory responsibility for all ministries to ensure Ministers deliver on their one-year work plan and five year strategic plan
In fulfilment of the manifesto commitment of strengthening public expenditure management, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has been unbundled into the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.
In accordance with the law, the Ministry of Finance is charged with the fiduciary responsibilities of both recurrent and development expenditures, while the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development will oversee data collection, national, sectoral and local council planning and monitoring, support as well as coordinate development assistance and provide oversight of NGO activities.
The Ministry of Education has been separated into two Ministries: Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School Education and Ministry of Higher and Technical Education.
The President established the Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation and appointed the first Chief Innovation Officer, Dr David Moinina Sengeh.
The Office of the Chief Minister through funding by UNDP and DFID organized the first Cabinet Retreat in June 22 – June 23, 2018, to prioritize and build a high performing team to deliver the President’s New Direction Agenda.
In furtherance of his commitment to fight corruption, the Governance Transition Team Report was published to the public, and Government announced steps to establish the Commission of Inquiry and other recommendations.
Government took steps to restructure the Anti-Corruption Commission and the appointment of a new commissioner who has hit the ground running from day one, by unsealing the sealed indictment.
To address post-elections violence and build on national cohesion, the President established the cross-political party peace and reconciliation committee to conduct a nationwide inter-party dialogue engagement in resolving post-elections violence.
The President appointed the first female Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in Sierra Leone.
The President made a directive that all public sector workers and Government Ministers to be in Office at 8:30am until 4:45pm. This has been widely commended.
The President declared a National Cleaning Day to be held on 1st Saturday of each month from 7:00am – 12:00 noon. This has been widely commended.
The President re-introduced Sunday Trading and Commercial Activities between the periods of 12:00 noon – 5:00pm.
President Bio has strengthened Sierra Leone’s international reputation and credibility through his leadership role in summits, like the African Union and state visits.
The Ministry of Political and Public Affairs officially launched the Bio-meter Project on the 3rd July at the British Council. The Bio-meter was implemented by the Institute of Governance Reform as an important governance initiative to promote good governance and democratic culture.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation supported His Excellency the President to participate in the Commonwealth Summit in the UK and facilitated other State Visits to Senegal, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Liberia and Qatar. The Ministry prepared the necessary paper work and accorded the required protocols and courtesies to the President and his delegations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation supported His Excellency the President taking leadership roles as Coordinator for the C-10 and Chairman of the Peace and Security Council in the just concluded Africa Union summit in Mauritania. The Ministry prepared the relevant paper work and accorded the required protocols and courtesies to the President and his delegation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation helped in the financial savings made for Government, in the repatriation of serving Ambassadors and Attachés. The Ministry provided the required guidance to the Ministry of Finance in ensuring repatriation of serving Ambassadors and Attachés was done with reasonable cost to government.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation secured funding from the Embassy of China to support the operations of the Ministry, in the absence of budgetary allocation from the GoSL.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation organized a meeting with the diplomatic and consular community, wherein the Minister articulated his vision for the ministry and the country for the years ahead.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation initiated the development of policy guidelines for appointment of Sierra Leone’s Honorary Consuls abroad.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation laid down the procedures for engagements with His Excellency the President and resident Ambassadors and Consuls. No Ambassador or Consul can meet the President without going through the MFAIC.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation initiated with relevant MDAs a dialogue on the management of the Presidential Lounge at Lungi International Airport as per international best practice.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international Cooperation signed the second phase of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant to the tune of US$44 million in support of governance, agriculture and economic growth.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international Cooperation is reviewing upwards the Refugee Protection Act 2007.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation with support from Pathfinders held a National Consultation Dialogue to support the implementation of SDG 16+ on the 6th June 2018. This initiative will help to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation held a Multi-stakeholder Consultation Forum on Global Compact on safe, orderly and regulated migration organized with support from IOM, UNDP, and EU on the 23rd May 2018.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has installed and operationalized bio-metric staff attendance system.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international Cooperation engaged relevant MDAs to develop policy guidelines for issuance of Service and Diplomatic passports.
Source: Office of the press secretary Report on President Bio’s first 100 days in office