Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 December 2022:
The World Bank announced last week that is has approved the Second Inclusive and Sustainable Growth Development Policy Financing (DPF), with a $100 million grant which it says will support the Government of Sierra Leone to improve natural resource governance, enhance inclusiveness, and strengthen accountability and transparency in public finance.
But with elections round the corner, critics of the government say that this funding is nothing but a gravy train for the government and its ruling SLPP to launch their general and presidential elections using donor funds and state resources.
Many analysts have warned against bankrolling the government of President Bio whom the opposition are blaming for the deplorable and declining state of the country’s economy, due to his incompetence and poor leadership.
Handing President Bio $100 million cheque to pay for “strengthening accountability and transparency in public finance”, just does not make sense. Its like appointing a mouse to look after the cheese.
The systems are already there for improving transparency and accountability. The policies are already in place. The governance institutions and processes are all there. The people – human resources are there. So whats the problem? Why throw away $100 million at a government that cannot account for over $50 million.
What President Bio and his government need is the will to implement with honesty and integrity. Except of course the 100 million is to pay for something else through the back door, which the people of Sierra Leone have not been told. For example, to strengthen the rapidly falling value of the Leone; or worse, to help the government pay for its electioneering campaign.
But writing in its press release last week, Abdu Muwonge – World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone, said: “Sierra Leone’s capabilities to eradicate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity rest on sustained macroeconomic stability, robust growth, and a solid enabling environment for leveraging its abundant natural resources. This financing will help address immediate fiscal challenges, while improving overall governance to build resilience and enhance the delivery of services to the people of Sierra Leone.”
Sustainable and inclusive growth has been constrained by the country’s exposure to multi-dimensional exogenous shocks (economic, epidemic, climactic), pervasive governance weaknesses, and limited fiscal space and fiscal risks, which inhibit the ability to promote pro-poor growth through public investment, the Bank said.
It went on to say also that; Sierra Leone’s economy has been affected by back-to-back crises, which have aggravated inflationary and fiscal pressures, and increased the risks to debt sustainability. The reforms supported by this funding will help address several critical developmental challenges while also helping to meet increased financing needs of the Government.
“Ongoing structural reforms, including those supported by this operation in input markets such as land, labor, and natural resource management will support sustainability and resilience in the economy. The World Bank will continue to support the Government’s commitment to tackle crucial structural reforms to promote inclusive growth,” said Smriti Seth, World Bank Senior Economist and Task Team Leader.
The World Bank says that the funding framework is aligned with the Government’s Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP 2019-2023); and that mining reforms supported by the funding, will help improve revenue collection, while reforms in auditing and state-owned enterprises’ governance will help control expenditures, easing fiscal pressures and creating space for growth-promoting investment.
But with allegations of massive corruption at State House and the First Lady’s Office getting rife, there is little confidence and trust in the government’s ability to utilise donor funds for the purpose they are granted to the people of Sierra Leone.
“The world Bank assigns the World’s economies to four income groups -Low , Low-Middle , Upper -Middle , and Higher income .The classifications are updated each year July 1st and are based on the Gross National Income per Capita of the previous year.What criterion has been used by the world Bank to assess the development of countries ?Per capita income is the main criterion used by the World Bank in classifing different countries per capita income by the total amount of their population divided by the gross national income ” I think if this $100 million dollars targeted loan was a direct results of such assessment by the World Bank team that might have paid Boi and his goverment ministers at State House a courtesy visit to hammer out the negotiations for financial assistance ,and the amount the World Bank was ready to put on the table goes to show , confidence in Bio’s handling of our country’s economy is in short supply .
This $100 million dollars is not only an insult to Bio and his goverment , and by extension to the people of Sierra Leone , it shows the value or the price tag they worked out our country and it’s people are worth .Is not even the budget, of an American, college team but we are told to celebrate. Not that we stand to benefit out of this loan .The corrupt fat cat politicians always have a list of their spending priorities worked out in their heads with their hands outstretched waiting for that moment when the jackpot hits their collection plates .The failure of the world Bank and other international financial institutions to set up an audit trail for the monies they hand over to this out of touch goverment not only makes them playing succur to a corrupt elites , but it gives them the confidence to be more corrupted because they know our partners will never turn off the tap of easy money in fear of them looking to China for help .Other African countries like Ghana are receiving billion of dollars from the international financial institutions like the IMF , World Bank and the African Development Bank , our country have to settle for the lose changes because our international lending partners are sick to the back teeth of hearing about corruptions cases brought to light but no actions are taking .
Seeking transparency and accountability from this one directionless Bio government is like trying to squeeze Blood out of stones .Since taking office the Bio government have received millions of dollars of foreign assistance from our western partners , the United Kingdom, the United States , Canada , the Nordic countries , the European union ,Middle Eastern countries , India and the Tiger economies of South East Asia and Pacific regions like China , Japan , South Korea and Vietnam.And despite all that help from friendly countries and international financial institutions ,we continue to lag at the bottomless pit of under development. Maybe next time the World Bank team visit our country to make their assessment , they should be forced to drive North or South or East out of Freetown to our pot hole filled roads in the provinces , with no electricity or running water , with pot belly children begging on our highways and meet the real people that their aid money are meant to help .
If they get their in one piece without being victims of our diabolical road , they should be accompanied with a field hospital in case they need back surgery from their horrible experience of driving on our unpaved roads .Better still they should be well advised to visit Pademba Road prison and Mafanta correctional facility to witness first hand how we treat our vulnerable people .That will give them a real sense of how our country and people are living under a heartless dictatorship .If you want to get a clear picture of a country , look at the way they treat their women and prisoners and the mentally challeng
Yes indeed W Arthur Findlay, the $100 million should never leave the confines of the World Bank until after the elections. Let’s don’t forget that Bio nearly sold Black Johnson Beach to the Chinese for $55 million, but for the outcry of the nation; even the American ambassador had to join in the chorus of opposition.
Bent Bio will see the $100 million as a personal reward for withdrawing the Chinese deal, and so go on a spending spree with Fatima Bio. This time, not even their closest aids will have a clue about their whereabouts.
Tomorrow, December 16th 2022, I shall ring up the World Bank in hopes of talking to someone in authority to ask them to hold on to the $100 million for the time being, emphasising the fact that the people of Sierra Leone have been saddling themselves with one corrupt government after the other. I would plead with them not to part with the money at all if KKY didn’t win the presidency next year.
“The World Bank mandate provides long-term economic development and poverty reduction by providing technical and financial support to help countries implement reforms , or projects , such as building schools , providing water and electricity fighting diseases , and protecting the environment .” It is clearly spelt out what this sort of money is meant for. Now if these are the main assessments carried out by the World Bank , in destemming how our future economic prospects is tailored towards these goals ,and trusting Bio with $100 million dollars, and crossing their fingers and hoping against all hope that he will implement the policies they set out for him and his government , if carried out to the letter ,will indeed help lift families up and down the country out of poverty ,they must have been living in a different planet for the last four years. Because under Bio despite all the international financial support given to him by our developing partners ,we’ve seen how widespread corruption is on the up ,whilst poverty reductions and future economic growth have shrunk to be point the average income for the typical husband and wives and assortment of children has taken a down ward spiral , and as a consequence families can’t afford to feed their children .The trouble with this sort of loans , there is no mechanism that establish an audit trail , so the World Bank and other international financial knows the money have reached it’s intended target .However , in the absence of any transparency and accountability ,and insist the Bio goverment provide them with the documentation , the World Bank is effectively encouraging corruption and given Bio a blank check .The World Bank assistance is meant to be temporary fix not a dependency fix as our country has become .
Credibility and Integrity counts. The new direction government under the leadership of President “Talk and Do” Bio has been consistent since they re-established relationship with our international donor partners that FLED our country in 2017 due to the massive looting of the APC party that left our nation in AUSTERITY.
President Bio has managed our economy under COVID-19 within a year when he assumed power . The Russia/Ukraine followed which is still ravaging the World Economy. Thanks to World Bank for the support since 2018 as indicated in the below link: https://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com/imf-approves-us172-million-finance-for-sierra-leone/
These funds should not be released until after the elections in 2023.
Of course releasing the funds now just means bankrolling the govt’s election campaign.
Corruption!! Corruption!!! Corruption!!!!