President Bio will soon launch first-ever comprehensive National Development Plan

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 February 2019:

The Sierra Leone Telegraph has for many years advocated and called for a comprehensive National Development Plan, which will stand the test of time and survive changes in political direction, irrespective of which party is in government. Such consistency and continuity will provide the political stability and clear direction, needed to uplift the people of Sierra Leone from poverty.

Yesterday, Tuesday 26 February 2019, president Julius Maada Bio hosted the inaugural  meeting of the country’s Development Partnership Committee (DEPAC), at a well-attended event which took place at State House in Freetown.

Speaking before the start of the committee deliberations, president Bio said he is thankful for the efforts of the Ministers of Planning and Economic Development, and Finance, as well as  development partners and all other equally valuable stakeholders, whose inputs have contributed to the formulation of the first-ever comprehensive National Development Plan.

He said development, to his mind, should be predicated on purposeful planning and prioritisation of sectors, development pathways clearly mapped out, and intended development outcomes anticipated in an informed way.

“The development plan is a shared vision that sharpens focus on strategic goals and facilitates strategic partnerships and collaboration among development partners, MDAs, experts, and policymakers. It also promotes dialogue among all parties and helps all parties avoid possible overlaps of work and waste of resources in sectors or across sectors.

“The Medium-Term National Development Plan is a product of what I have emphasised and insisted on governance – inclusive and purposeful planning for quality service delivery. This plan will help us coordinate all available resources. Our future annual budgets will be fully aligned to this development plan,” he said.

President Bio noted that his government was wholeheartedly and resolutely committed to all the priorities identified, adding that Government will ensure that it did not deviate from the identified priority areas.

He said that the priorities identified were complementary and mutually reinforcing, while expressing the belief that if implementation was properly coordinated it would create multiplier effects in every sector of the country.

“My Government is keen on strengthening partnership with our development partners and make it work for our people and taxpayers of your respective countries, who are providing support to Sierra Leone. We fully subscribe to the principles of mutual transparency and accountability.

“To ensure that we adhere to those principles, we must continue regular and structured dialogue with you, our partners. This will only enhance coordination and deepen our partnership with you. We will insist on the comprehensive coordination mechanism contained in the Development Cooperation Framework,’’ he said.

United Nations Country Representative, Sunil Saigal, thanked President Bio for laying out the vision for the implementation of the new National Development Plan and for the principles for collaboration and coordination with partners in order to achieve the goals of the plan.

He added that as partners, they welcome the move by the President and expressed hope that it would be the start of many constructive meetings, with the DEPAC becoming a forum for fruitful engagement and dialogue.

World Bank Country Manager – Gayle Martin, said that they acknowledge that the new Government inherited a dire economic situation with deterioration in fiscal position, government leakages and slow implementation of key programmes, noting that these challenges would be daunting for any new government.

She commended the Bio led government for taking important steps to restore macroeconomic stability, such as dealing with the fuel subsidy, duty waiver and tax exemptions, introducing strong revenue control and rolling out the single treasury account. She said those measures have been instrumental in bringing additional revenue from ministries, departments and agencies into the government budget.

3 Comments

  1. Thank you very much Levi for your insight and brilliant essay. I just want to add to some of the things (from the executions to the economy) you mentioned in your essay. First of all, I would like to apologise to the family and friends of all those who lost their lives in Sierra Leone through the legal death sentence under the umbrella of TREASON. I ask them to forgive me for mentioning their loved ones on this comment. I want to inform them that I respect their deceased relatives.

    It was not only under the government of the late Siaka Stevens were Sierra Leoneans executed for treason. People were also executed (whether by firing squads of through the gallows) by other governments. Whichever way they were executed was not nice. But unfortunately, people have to face and suffer death if they commit treason. The law of the land prevails. MAY THEIR SOULS REST IN PEACE. AMEN and AMEN.

    Under the late Siaka Stevens for example, Dr. Mohamed Forna, Ibrahim Taqi, Lieutenant Habib Lansana Kamara, Brigadier David Lansana, Paramount Chief Bai Makarie N’silk to name a few were executed. Then came the late Joseph Saidu Momoh and people like Francis Minah, Tennison Kai Kai to name a few were executed. Then came the NPRC where people like Bambay Kamara, Salami Coker, Kaouta Dumbuya to name a few were executed. In fact the executions under the NPRC were the worst and most gruesome and cruel in our history according to some analysts.

    Again came the SLPP under the late Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, where people like like Kula Samba (her execution was really emotional to me) and others were executed. Then came Ernest Koroma. Fortunately, nobody was executed.

    Whatever the evidence or reason given for the execution of these people, does not make it right in the face of GOD. I wonder what will happen when we all go before GOD. The heads of states (presidents) are always to blame because they use their pen in the twinkle of an eye to sign those death warrants. But on the other hand, it is a collective decision by the government of the day at that given time.

    Let’s not be fooled for example when people say the execution during the time of the NPRC was Captain Strasser’s decision. That is not true. It was a decision made by the Supreme Council Of State which was a collective decision by all the supreme council MEMBERS. The same applies to the APC governments of the Late Siaka Stevens, the Late Joseph Saidu Momoh and the SLPP government of the late Ahmed Tejan Kabbah.

    Miraculously, nothing like that happened during the reign of Ernest Bai Koroma even with an incident that would have potentially resulted in the use of the death penalty. I give him credit for that. His human rights record cannot be questioned in that regard.

    This is why our parliament has to do everything to abolish the death penalty. How long are Sierra Leoneans going to be killed for political reasons under the pretext of treason? I think life imprisonment should be the highest penalty in the country. If the death penalty is not abolished, then people will still have to be killed for political reasons under our treason laws I’m afraid.

    Secondly, the president mentioned the priorities in the development plan. But those priorities have not yet been named. I hope that Agriculture, Health and vocational training and education will be paramount. Middle manpower is key to our industrial and manufacturing development.

    Present Bio has promised a lot of things which I appreciate, admire and favour. What I am concerned with, is how the government is going to pay or fund all those ambitious programs in the short and longterm. Let us first of all see what happens in the next 4 years.

    Also, the president has made it clear that the medical centre and some other projects are going to be paid for from the funds recovered from corrupt officials. But, would the money recovered be enough? Will all those government officials who would be found guilty have the money in their possession to pay? Does it mean that the medical centre and all the other projects pegged to the funds which will be recovered from corruption will come to a standstill if the culprits don’t pay?

    There are a lot of questions to be answered. I hope and pray that the government recovers the money from corruption as soon as possible to fund those projects.

    Finally, it would be very unfair to blame the president in the future if the projects pegged to the recovery of the funds from corrupt officials are not met. He is clear about it and we should always remember what he said. So the ACC has to do its utmost to recover those funds.

    GOD BLESS OUR COUNTRY and help us come together and heal the wounds of the past. AMEN and AMEN.

  2. We look forward to seeing a new Sierra Leone with an end to corruption and inhumanity that is the trademark of the APCity.

  3. This is a bold and visionary move by President Julius Maada Bio. Unfortunately, one wonders if the president’s move would be sustained over a long period of time given that the story of Sierra Leone is one of two political parties moving in two different directions. It is one where the SLPP creates but the APC destroys.

    When Sir Albert Margai left power in 1967, Sierra Leone had the fastest growing economy in West Africa with corruption both public and political at the lowest level that one could imagine. Sierra Leone was also growing on the path of democracy with the rule of law firmly established in all institutions. Moreover, electoral politics was free and fair with no place for violence. Enter Siaka Stevens of APC in 1968 and everything changed for the worse.

    Siaka Stevens’ low level of education was a big contrast to Sir Albert who was a qualified lawyer and a prolific public orator. And Sir Albert’s elder brother, Sir Milton Margai, Sierra Leone’s first prime minister, was both a medical doctor and a historian. Given this, it was little wonder that Stevens had an entrenched disdain for education. With Stevens at the helm, the University of Sierra Leone rapidly declined as a force to reckon with in higher education.

    To make matters worse, under Stevens’ APC, predatory accumulation reigned like a pestilence with the infamous proclamation that ‘usai den tie cow nar dae e dae eat’ fueling corruption to heights never imagined in Sierra Leone.

    Stevens also became a bloody dictator and governed with an iron fist. He introduced thuggery into politics to perpetuate himself in power and cracked down on the intellectual base of the APC by sentencing to death such brilliant politicians as Dr. Mohamed Forna and Ibrahim Taqi. Suffice it that Stevens’ blatant corruption and brutal mode of governance caused the eleven year civil war. His successor, Joseph Momoh, was equally corrupt and brutal.

    Conversely, when Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of the SLPP took over in 1996, he focused on ending the war. And with the war coming to an end, Kabbah dedicated the rest of his presidency to building the institutions of democracy. Consequently, institutions like NASSIT, NRA, NacSA, etc, became the brainchild of Kabbah. When the president stepped down from power, Sierra Leone was a debt-free nation ready to make a monumental leap in economic growth.

    Enter Ernest Bai Koroma in 2007 and Sierra Leone retrogressed to the Stevens’ era. The country quickly declined under the burden of corruption, debt, diseases and mudslides. Consequently, Sierra Leone became a primitive and isolated society that was scorned in international affairs. Even the World Bank and the IMF packed up and took their ball home.

    In contrast, in eleven months in power, president Bio has clamped down on corruption, introduced free and quality primary and secondary school education and also instituted a program that allows Sierra Leoneans pursuing the sciences at public tertiary colleges to do so on a guaranteed government scholarship. Perhaps, more importantly, Bio has improved on domestic revenue mobilization to the extent that on average, the government now collects $15 million a week in taxes.

    Additionally, the capital city, Freetown, now enjoys a 24 hour electricity supply and there are plans to extend this initiative to the provinces. The Bio government also has plans to construct a university of science and technology in Koidu, Kono district, and a grandiose medical facility in Freetown.

    At this juncture, one may ask if the achievements of president Bio would be sustained in the event that the APC comes to power in the future. Given the APC’s history of nation wrecking, I do not think that there is anything that the APC would touch that will not die. Suffice it that the APC, the party of my late beloved father, is not good for Salone politics.

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