Tamba Tengbeh: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 October 2018:
Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources (MMMR) officially launched a $20 million World Bank funded Extractive Industries Technical Assistance Project (EITAP2) Phase Two, at a well-attended ceremony at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown, yesterday Tuesday 23th October, 2018.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh told his audience that the government is committed to reforming the extractive sector to promote good governance, as an EITI compliant country.
He said that the EITAP Phase 2 project is reflective of the President Bio’s New Direction priorities which is aimed at optimising benefits for all stakeholders.
He noted that cabinet is considering a review of the mines and minerals, artisanal and geo-data policies, whilst ensuring that all legal and policy regulations will be enforced effectively.
He expressed the government’s profound gratitude to the World Bank and other development partners for supporting Sierra Leone’s extractive sector.
The Vice President reminded the audience that the country’s extractive sector has produced mixed results, and that some people have said it has improved on the development of the country, whilst others have questioned underlining challenges such as the lack of transparency.
Concluding his keynote address, the Vice President expressed hope that the fourth generation paper will address most of the gaps in the mining sector.
In her contribution, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice – Dr. Priscilla Schwartz said that the poor performance of the mining sector can be attributed to a number of factors, including weak institutional challenges in terms of capacity, accountability, an unconducive legal framework and more importantly, the global commodity market.
She pointed out that the President in his inaugural address to the fourth Parliament of the Second Republic had asked to Review the Mines and Minerals Act 2009, establish a National Resources Accountant for all revenues generated by the extractive sector.
She said that the New Direction Policy pronouncements are underpinned by all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in strengthening the legal framework and transparency, to generate more income for the mining sector – coupled with fair revenue sharing and full implementation of Local Content Law, Corporate Social Responsibility to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.
In his statement, the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources – Dr. Morie Manyeh noted that the nation should start thinking beyond taxation and begin to consider ownership. He noted that tradition has not been very helpful in that regard.
He recalled the experiences of other African countries, while endorsing the African minerals vision that preaches transparency and equal distribution of wealth. He condemned the existing constraints in the Cadastral system and noted that this is the reason why he has put a stop to it.
Statements were also made by the Chairman of the Council of Paramount Chiefs, the Director General of Petroleum Directorate, Deputy Minister of Finance, the Director General of NMA and Dr. Gayle Martin, the World Bank Country Manager.