Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 September 2019:
Sierra Leone’s vice president Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, last Friday called on stakeholders of government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and local councils, to work towards acceleration of the decentralization process.
Addressing a two day workshop organized by the Ministries of Finance and the Local Government and Rural, vice president Jalloh said that efficient revenue mobilization is vital for developing the capacity of local councils to take responsibility for and effectively deliver services in their local communities.
He said that the Bio-led government has spent huge sums of money to build the capacity of local councils, through infrastructure development, as well as provision of funds for councils to deliver government’s social programs.
He spoke about the need for a seismic shift in local councils’ dependency on central government to a position where they can mobilise their own resources.
This he said, will help councils in delivering their community development agenda and plans, based on the aspirations, needs and priorities of their local communities.
He called on local councils to emulate the new drive within the Bio-led government, with respect to the aggressive mobilisation of revenue, control of leakages, and disciplined public finance management, in preparation for more decentralisation.
He said that local councils must move towards building Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) that will help strengthen local council management capacity and ability to access external finance for community economic development.
Vice president Jalloh urged for the depoliticisation of local council management. “we don’t need politicians at the councils but development practitioners rooted in local politics and far removed from partisan politics”.
Calls for more decentralisation of public services and central government function, ministries and departments are growing in Sierra Leone.
And so too is the call for devolution of power to districts getting louder, to accelerate the pace of economic development, good governance and accountability.
The country’s Local Government Act has sufficient powers to facilitate further decentralisation. But devolution of power would require constitutional change which can only come through a national referendum.