Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 February 2020:
Sierra Leone’s Institute of Governance Reform (IGR), has critically reviewed President Bio’s declaration of “2020 as a year of delivery” for his government, after telling his ministers a few weeks ago at a weekend retreat that they have fallen far short of achieving the targets they had set for 2018/2019.
But according to the IGR, despite the president’s pronouncement of “Year of Delivery”, the performance targets the president is expecting Ministries, Departments and Agencies to deliver are yet to be published.
IGR says that the government is less than being transparent in terms of what outcomes the people of Sierra Leone are to expect after spending the 2020 budget amounting to Le9 Trillion.
IGR says it has made recommendations to the government as to how best to move beyond the rhetoric of declaring 2020 as the year of delivery, partnering with citizens for achieving results, and working towards reducing dependency on foreign aid.
The government IGR said, must publish what it is delivering in 2020, what outcomes to expect and how those outcomes will be measured in terms of making a difference to people’s lives. (Photo: Ministers at the last cabinet retreat).
“Commitment to effective service delivery provides the opportunity for the Government to reach beyond its base; an improvement in development outcomes will be a win-win for all,” says IGR.
“We argue that for delivery to occur, President Bio should be courageous enough to dismantle the rent seeking infrastructures in MDAs and publicly declare the level of resources provided to institutions as well as their performance targets,” IGR suggested, adding that where performance targets and allocated resources are unclear, it will be difficult to rally citizens to buy into the government’s programmes to achieve better outcomes, move citizens and political parties away from a blame game mentality.
The IGR said that in almost all government sectors in Sierra Leone, financial investment increased in the last 10 years, yet productivity levels, outcomes and impacts on the lives of the people are significantly lower than the years before the war.
Government of Sierra Leone and its donor partners it said, for example spent at least US$60 million per annum on agriculture between 2009 to 2019. Yet, productivity levels for rice farming was 1.13 million tonnes in 2018, compared to 2.7 million tonnes in 1970 when total population of the country was less than 3 million.
The same underperformance IGR said, is reflected in investments in education and health, with Sierra Leone achieving some of the worst human development indicators in the world.
In spite of these challenges, a blame game between the two major parties has persistently prevented successive governments from solving the myriad of social and economic problems facing the people of Sierra Leone, said IGR.
“Since SLPP assumed power in 2018, they have consistently pushed the logic that – ‘the opposition APC is collectively guilty for the current poor state of the country, and the ruling SLPP is collectively innocent,” the IGR highlighted.
The IGR said that this was also the case under APC rule, but that 2020 provides the SLPP with an opportunity to make a break with the past and make a change from business as usual.
IGR stated that President Bio declared at the opening of the third Cabinet Retreat at the Bintumani Conference that “2020 is a Year of Delivery” and called on ministers and civil servants to focus on results.
“However, despite it has been five weeks since the big declaration of “a Year of Delivery”, unless concrete steps are taken to change business as usual, with true commitment to attacking partisan politics and policies that enrich the few, this new buzzword will yield little, like many other declarations by past Presidents (Agenda for Change; Agenda for Prosperity),” IGR warns.
Source Credit: Amin Kef