Sierra Leone’s five-year MCC threshold programme ends but what success?

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 1 April 2021:

President Dr Julius Maada Bio on Tuesday officially announced the formal closure of the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) Threshold Programme funded by the US government in 2015.

The $44.4 million threshold programme was aimed at improving access to clean water, reliable electricity, and support the government to implement measures that will limit opportunities for corruption in Sierra Leone.

But as the threshold programme comes to an end and the government of Sierra Leone looks to receiving its much publicised $400 million MCC funding, questions are being asked about the success of the threshold programme that has now come to an end, and whether the Bio government can be trusted to manage a $400 million MCC funding.

In 2015, less than 30% of households in Sierra Leone had access to electricity and clean, safe drinking water. Today, it is estimated that this figure has declined by about 2%, with 68% of households still struggling to access reliable supply of electricity and clean water.

Though there was hope the Bio government would take its promised fight against Corruption campaign seriously, the veneer of the government’s anti-corruption strategy is fast peeling off.

Tens of millions of dollars are reported missing across government ministries and departments, including the offices of the president and his wife the First lady.

With such appalling abuse of office and financial impropriety, there is little confidence the government can be trusted to manage a $400 million MCC funding package effectively.

But, speaking at the threshold programme closure event held at State House on Tuesday, Chief Executive Officer of the MCCU, Ndeye Fatu Koroma, said: “The MCCU team, a band of young and bright Sierra Leoneans, was tasked with pursuing aggressive reforms in the electricity and water sectors.

“We were asked to influence policy, build capacity and shift entrenched business cultures to ensure that our people have access to basic services that are integral to human capital development and the economic transformation of Sierra Leone”.

The US Ambassador to Sierra Leone, David Reimer, spoke about the progress made in confronting the challenges facing the people of Sierra Leone, saying that the government has made significant strides to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, raised spending on education, and increased the percentage of girls who completed primary school.

Additionally, he said action is being taken to control corruption and combat trafficking in persons. These initiatives directly contributed to Sierra Leone passing the MCC scorecard for two consecutive years. He confirmed that he was confident that by continuing to work together, Sierra Leone would be on the path to a brighter future.

“The United States of America is and will remain a firm and steadfast friend of Sierra Leone. Thanks to our shared values – democracy, the rule of law, and individual liberty – and our historic ties of family and culture. We remain deeply committed to Sierra Leone’s success as a democratic nation and to the wellbeing of its people.

“From collaboration on peace and security, to support for the health system as you confront both longstanding health challenges and the current pandemic, the United States – and our Embassy here in Freetown – will work with you to build a more prosperous, peaceful and healthy future for all,” Ambassador Reimer noted.

Vice President of Sierra Leone, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, who is also the Chairman Board of Directors of the MCCU, said that the closure of the threshold programme marked a very important milestone in the partnership between the MCC and the Republic of Sierra Leone.

“Your Excellency, upon assuming office, you placed the MCC under my direct leadership. You gave me three objectives: to oversee the successful implementation of the Threshold Programme, to improve on the performance of the scorecard and lastly to deliver a Compact.

“Today we are witnessing the successful implementation of the Threshold Programme. As we close the five-year threshold programme, it should be noted that MCC decision to engage Sierra Leone in 2015 was a response to the Ebola crisis, to ensure that essential services are available to Sierra Leoneans, especially clean water and clean electricity,” he noted.

Vice President Jalloh also said that with the Coronavirus pandemic in the country, the threshold programme has been extremely relevant, which led to the provision of clean water to the communities of Aberdeen and Kingtom.

3 Comments

  1. The millennium challenge compact is a US government programme set up by the Bush administration in 2004, to give aid in the form of grants to poor countries that have demonstrated they are ready to engaged in economic and political reforms that meets the needs of their people. It is independent of the US state department and USAID. Since its creation it has supported 43 low and middle income countries as of 2019. For instance, with the help of the MCC, the government of Honduras publicly committed to an anti corruption drive in 2008. So where there is will, there is always the way. Its the political leadership that can make a difference in a country.

    The aim and objective of the millennium challenge corporation, is to work with developing countries for poverty reduction through economic growth by empowering local communities, like micro credit finance for local farmers, and access to financial services assistance to local businesses especially for women with small holdings. So far few countries with political leaders that have set their sight for development of their countries, have taken advantage of this programme. Bangladesh is a surprise success story. One of the fastest growing economies in the Sub-continent. You can’t say that about Bio’s SIERRA LEONE. To qualify for MCC funding, governments also have to demonstrate the respect of the rule of law, free Press, access to clean water, fighting corruption, promoting transparency the way government carry out its business dealings.

    Provision of electricity, health care, education, respect of citizens human rights and the right to peaceful assembly. And creating a business friendly environment. As far we can see, the MCC has given Bio a blank check, with nothing to show for it. Under his watch, the standard of living for a majority of Sierra Leoneans has got worse rather than better.

  2. Folks, going by the 2018, 2019 audit reports, along with the Africanist press revelations of massive thieving taking place by top regime officials, including the president and his wife; the $400 million soon to be disburse by the Americans, for the people of Sierra Leone, will be nothing but a direct deposit to the various offshore savings accounts surreptitiously being maintain by a good number of PAOPA officials. While all patriotic Sierra Leoneans welcomes such an award meant to alleviate the mirage of poverty stricken issues to our nation, to the PAOPA folks, this is a cash cow project, design and pursued purposely for personal benefits.

    Though unverifiable, and can be naively perceive, the numerous reports on social media pertaining to PAOPA officials privately dancing and celebrating for the MCC award when it was announce, were nothing but telltale signs of mission accomplish—‘now we wait for the money to come and devise dubious schemes to channel most of it privately’. As millions of dollars given by the international community for the Convid-19 fight mysteriously runs dry, with front line health officials shorthand in terms of their stipends/salaries, the soon to be disburse MCC grant presents another opportunity for personal enrichment by the PAOPA officials.

  3. Gentlemen – let us be sincere with ourselves and stop living in lies, delusions and utter denial – Its as clear as daylight this ‘Wrong Direction’ SLPP government has failed the good people of Sierra Leone miserably. Think for a minute; they have been as busy as bees fleecing the system, milking it totally dry like a cow about to be die by a cruel butchers knife. Who doesn’t know that these criminals have been siphoning millions of dollars away into foreign accounts that could have been used wisely to provide poor communities in remote areas of our tiny country with clean water and electricity?

    The MCC threshold programme is a total failure, not even worth talking about. I mean seriously, what have these individuals achieved since they assumed the reins of power? WHAT? Bread and butter issues have become as bad as migraine headaches for their inept tribalistic government to deal with. A President that grew up as poor as a village church mouse has forgotten his humble roots so easily and quickly. He believes in nothing, stands for nothing and achieves nothing.

    Who would have thought that the Commander in Chief will throw the integrity of his high office recklessly into the dustbin of malfeasance by consistently aiding and abetting the worst kinds of shadowy,criminal behaviors of his subordinates indulging in rampant thefts and corrupt practices? Strange is it not, that while market women are laboring under the sun, a GOLD DIGGER with a shovel made of pure SLPP steel is steadily at work,digging out all kinds of goodies from our scanty treasuries, like a caterpillar eating the nutrients of a plant from its roots in order to destroy it and render it worthless? Yup,the chief aim of the Criminal SLPP cabal is to totally destroy our struggling poor Sierra Leone.

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