Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 October 2019:
The long-awaited ministerial performance report on the first twelve months of the Bio-led government of Sierra Leone was published last Monday, at a press conference in Freetown.
With the majority of ministers scoring above fifty-percent, the report should no doubt make for comfortable reading for the president.
But questions still remain about the performance of some of his ministers, as consumer prices – driven by rising inflation, continue to affect millions of people in the country. Households are becoming increasingly concerned about what they termed as the ‘bread and butter issues’ as well as increasing lawlessness and violence in the country.
With low economic growth, rising joblessness, increasing poverty, poor healthcare and sanitation, lack of proper housing, poor access to reliable supply of electricity, many in Sierra Leone are calling for the government to make radical changes to its New Direction strategy.
When the chief minister responsible for managing the performance of the cabinet – professor David Francis launched the government’s ministerial performance reporting policy last year, there was deep scepticism, as cynics derided his announcement as political soundbite.
So which ministers have done well – and who needs to be shown the door?
Announcing the ministerial performance report last Monday, IMF and World Bank consultant – Prince Jacob Macauley prefaced his presentation with a caveat. He reminded the people of Sierra Leone of the economic and social challenges inherited by the Bio – led government, after ten years of poor governance by the previous government.
(Photo: Note that some of the ministers shown have been reshuffled to other duties, since their first appointment over a year ago).
He said that the SLPP government has made an impressive start under very difficult circumstances.
The government is faced with falling exports, low government revenue, reduced foreign aid, low economic activity, narrow taxation base, and low foreign investments.
“‘In support of the President’s New Direction, some ministers have made tremendous strides, hitting the ground running, and haven’t let up. Others have put in every effort but have been hampered by several institutional and capacity challenges,” he said.
Consultant Prince Jacob Macauley said he carried out his assessment of the performance of ministers, based on their institutional mandate, as well as the public’s perception of the quality of service delivery, and the impact public services are making on citizens’ lives.
This is how the ministers scored:
According to the report, the two best performing ministers are the finance and agriculture ministers, with each scoring 80%; and the water resources minister coming third with 70%.
Minister of Finance – Jacob Jusu Saffa
JJ Saffa scored 80% for his leadership role in implementing the Single Treasury Account, which minimises leakages in the financial system; for being on track in restoring fiscal discipline; facilitating the payment of workers without using bank overdrafts; facilitating (putting systems in place) for the payment of over $1.2 billion domestic debt; increasing public workers’ salaries by15%; integrating workers of Tertiary Educational Institutions into the Centralized Computerized Government Payroll System; the IMF rating Sierra Leone’s economic performance under the New Direction highly; Scaling up project financing arrangements with the World Bank; signing Budget support Grants with World Bank.
Minister of Agriculture – Mr. Joseph Ndanema
Minister Ndanema scored 80% for ensuring the re-establishment of agricultural systems; revamping sustainable agricultural programmes; promoting rice self-sufficiency; working towards diversification of the economy in the four key value-chain among several indicators.
Minister of Water Resources – Dr. Jonathan Tengbeh
Dr Tengbeh scored 70% for initiating the Orugu and Congo water supply project feasibility studies, which are currently in progress and will be completed in December 2019; 45 industrial boreholes project commissioned for Kono, Moyamba, Segbwema and Daru; commissioned 200 boreholes projects across the country, of which 80 percent are now complete.
Minister of Lands and Country Planning- Dr Dennis M. Sandy
Dennis Sandy scored 65% for working on the recovery of government lands; working on correcting lands documentation; National Resettlement Policy formulated and ready for cabinet approval; Njala land dispute resolved; ministry’s contribution to national revenue increased revenue – 4.4 Billion Leones.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General – Dr. Priscilla Schwartz
Attorney General Schwartz scored 60% for actualizing the Commissions of Enquiry; putting in place plans to establish the ACC Court; recruitment of magistrates and judges in all districts; fast-tracking court cases; approved the repeal of the 54-year-old criminal & seditious libel law and several other initiatives.
Minister of Primary and Secondary Education – Mr. Alpha Timbo
Timbo scored 60% for launching the Free Education Programme; overseeing the supply of 26 million textbooks and other school materials to school pupils; approving over 100 schools countrywide and absorbing a large number of teachers into the payroll.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation – Mrs. Nabila Tunis
Mrs Tunis scored 60% for building new foreign relationships and strengthening existing diplomatic ties; promoting UK-SL trade and highlighting the wealth of investment opportunities in Sierra Leone.
Minister of Information and Communications – Mr. Mohamed Swarray
Minister Swaray scored 60% for working towards improving the government’s information policy; improving the national fibre optic capability; regulating all mobile operators; convening weekly ministerial briefing for the public; establishment of the strategy unit; provision of reliable and timely public information; consolidation of the national fibre optic backbone infrastructure; engaged the Exim Bank of China for a concessionary loan of USD 30 million to complete the National Fibre Backbone Infrastructure.
Minister of Labour- Mr. Adekunle King
Minister King scored 60% for repatriation of job seekers from foreign countries; formulating a National Labour Migration Policy; putting in place systems to enforce labour regulations; conducted nationwide visit to all mining areas to promote better working conditions for mine workers.
Minister of Minerals Resources – Mr. Rado Yokie
Rado Yokie scored 60% for his leadership in the review of the Mining Act; his strong intention to help government in revenue collection; review of all mining companies’ licenses and contracts; new feasibility studies ongoing.
Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs – Mrs. Memunatu B. Pratt
Mrs. Memunatu Pratt scored 55% for raising the prominence of the tourism sector; innovatively reaching out to new stakeholders; initiating tourism and agricultural trade fairs; raising awareness of the country’s tourism sector; rebranding the country; and sourcing funds for the promotion of the music and film industry.
Minister of Health and Sanitation – Dr. Alpha Wurie
Dr Wurie scored 55% for his leadership in reviewing the Public Health Ordinance of 1960; reviving the ambulance services nationwide; improving on the drug cold-chain through the supply of refrigerators to PHUs among other developments.
Minister of Planning and Economic Development – Dr Francis Kaikai
Minister Kaikai has been in office for less than a year, and scored 55%.
Minister of Energy and Power – Alhaji Kanja Ibrahim Sesay
The electricity minister scored 55%.
Minister of Transportation and Aviation – Mr. Kabineh Kallon
Minister of Internal Affairs – Mr Edward Soloku
Minister of Trade and Industry-Dr. Edward Hinga Sandy
With less than a year in office, Sandy scored 50%.
Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs – Ms. Baindu Dansama
Minister Dansama scored 50%.
Minister of Sports – Mr. Ibrahim Nyelenkeh
Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructural Development – Mr. Peter Bayuku Conteh
Minister of Marine Resources and Fisheries – Mrs Emma Kowa
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development— Mr. Tamba Lamina
After just few months since his appointment, Tamba Lamina scored 45%.
Ministry of Tertiary and Higher Education -Mr. Aiah Gbakima
Ministry of Youth and Employment-Mr. Mohamed O. Bangura
Minister of Political and Public Affairs – Ambassador Foday Yumkella