Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 January 2020:
A two-day ministerial and cabinet retreat which started last Friday, ended yesterday Saturday in Freetown without much of a breakthrough in charting a new course for the government, after two years of economic hardship and political tension in the country.
The event was declared opened by president Bio last Friday, who said that the aim was to assess the government’s performance in delivering public services in the last two years, and plan for an improvement in 2020. But what that improvement plan is, no one outside his cabinet knows.
Speaking about the event, Chief Minister David Francis said that the unique aspect of the retreat was the experience sharing session involving retired public servants and veteran politicians.
The retired public servants he said were amazed by the innovation they see in governance today, including monitoring and evaluation of government programmes.
The Directorate of Service Delivery and Performance Management within the Office of the Chief Minister, the National Agency for Monitoring and Evaluation and the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI) expressed commitment in supporting effective service delivery in the government’s eight priority areas – education, the economy, health, agriculture, energy, water, security and the fight against corruption.
These clearly defined interventions, backed by monitoring and evaluation and a fired up Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Professional Heads in MDA will help in the transformation of Sierra Leone, the chief minister said.
In his closing remarks yesterday, the Chief Minister emphasised the President’s message on effective service delivery and performance management.
He said that the football analogy of no more yellow cards for political appointees and civil servants, made by the president last Friday at the retreat, may be interpreted to mean a form of motivation to political appointees and public officials to optimize their performance in the delivery of government priorities.
But many in Sierra Leone regard this from the president as a warning to failing and underperforming ministers that they are now on final notice, and will soon be shown the door.
Photo: Chief Minister David Francis and some of the ministers at the Ministerial and Cabinet retreat, where it was said there were tensed moments.
President Julius Maada Bio last Friday, told his Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Professional Heads that the people of Sierra Leone are eager for effective and efficient service delivery that are real, visible and tangible – that will change the lives of the ordinary citizens. This has been interpreted by many in Sierra Leone as the president’s first admission of the government’s failure in office.
President Bio said he was ready to “double charge all Ministers and Heads of departments to deliver results and on their respective mandates”.
The President asked the Chief Minister to be more intrusive and make sure all MDA’s work together for effective service delivery, as he declared 2020 as a year for delivery.
The president urged heads of MDA’s to be professional, disciplined and prompt in their delivery of services. He emphasized: “I have no yellow card in my 2020 service delivery move, we must deliver and on time”.
President Bio said there are no more excuses to give to the people of Sierra Leone, and told ministers he will become more intrusive in ensuring service delivery in 2020.