Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 June 2021:
The World Bank has approved a $40 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) in support of the Accountable Governance for Basic Service Delivery project in Sierra Leone.
According to the World Bank, the project will improve resource management, transparency and accountability of government systems to ensure the effective delivery of local development programs and basic services in the country.
“It aims to strengthen the ability of local councils to carry out service-delivery mandates in key sectors such as health and education,” the World Bank statement reads.
“The project is aligned with the World Bank Group COVID-19 Crisis Response Framework. It is also fully aligned with the Country Partnership Framework for Sierra Leone, which emphasizes accountable governance in the use of public finances and the delivery of quality and inclusive education and health services. It will build on the existing World Bank support to public financial management reforms and other accountability systems at the central and local levels.”
Commenting on this new funding, Gayle Martin, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of better governance for improved service delivery, and this project provides a systematic approach for the Government of Sierra Leone to incentivize improvements in governance for basic service delivery across multiple levels of government.
“The project will strengthen accountability relationships between citizens and local government to ensure that increased resources are used for qualitative priority local development programs.”
The World Bank statement published last week, says that “Local councils have a significant role to play in delivering basic services. Since 2004, the reinvigorated councils have progressively taken on numerous formal, legal, and administrative functions regarding the management of basic services.
“Currently, the administrative framework governing the delivery of basic services is characterized by a complex multi-level governance structure at central, local, and sectoral levels. This provides a challenge for the efficient use of resources, which is now urgently required in a reduced fiscal space due to the impact of COVID-19”.
Also commenting on the funding, Shomikho Raha, World Bank Task Team Leader said: “This project is an innovative approach to address governance constraints by establishing a clear link between improved governance performance and service delivery results. These are the kinds of building blocks that can support local development and help to make sure that government investments in basic services, like health and education, deliver positive dividends for communities. In the process, the project will additionally support the Government’s focus on governance and accountability for results in its National Development Plan (NDP) and beyond, over a six-year timeframe.”
The World Bank says it believes the project will directly support maximizing the impact of investments in service delivery through improving the efficiency of public expenditures in a sustainable manner through improved resource management, transparency and accountability; and places special emphasis and incentivizes increased participation and voice of women in local development, targeting at least 40 percent women participation in the planning, design, and implementation of development programs at the local level.
Last week, the head of the United Nations Development Programme in Sierra Leone, expressed serious concern about the lack of implementation by the government of Sierra Leone after receiving tens of millions of dollars funding support.
“Implementation capacity and poor planning are and have always been the main barriers to development in Sierra Leone – alongside corruption. There is a bad culture of politicians sacking experienced public sector staff for political reasons, once a new government comes to power. This has to stop. You cannot keep sacking people that have gained invaluable knowledge, skill and experience of public service delivery once every five or ten years. Human resource is costly and hard to develop. Let us preserve it, development is about continuity,” says the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph, Mr Abdul Rashid Thomas.
This is the head of UNDP in Sierra Leone speaking on Radio 98.1 FM last weekend:
The years that Bio has spent in office are far better than than 57 we have celebrated with other previous governments, huh? Bwahahahahahaha; Sorry I didn’t get it quite clearly; Say that again,Please its tickling me to the bones; Say it again – Bwahahahahahaha. You guys can’t be serious; Really? Truly? Are you serious? Bwahahahahhaha – Show me the money.
“The more you hate the more God bless”. What the World Bank has envisaged under the leadership of H.E the president Dr.Julius Maada Bio in achieving the goals set for both the SDG and Millennium development goals is perhaps the reason why more funding is approved for our country. Thank you Mr. President Dr. Julius Maada Bio and team for the focus and attention you have been working towards in helping Sierra Leone recover from it’s dark periods. Sierra Leone today under the leadership of my president, your president our president Dr. Julius Maada Bio is receiving grants from the world bank and IMF so regularly than before because, these two institutions have seen the seriousness and trustworthiness in him as a leader who is ready to develop his country to a better standard than any other leader before.
Today, we can hear of places like Kambia enjoying electricity supply since independence. Today, we can hear of Kabala, Moyamba, Masiaka and more other places experiencing their places connected with either the main hydro power station or mini grids solar plants. All these efforts are more visible now than before, because it requires the leadership to steer up such development. Perhaps some of these plans were on the minds of our previous leaders, but the question one would have to ask is whether they truly meant what they intended to do?
Furthermore, this government may not seem to be loved by some people, which is always the fact of democracy. But one thing I want my audience to know is that the deliverables we have seen under the short term of his leadership (Dr Julius Maada Bio) is far more better than the 57 years we have celebrated with past governments. If Sierra Leone is to become a better nation today under the leadership of H.E the president Dr. Julius Maada Bio, It is because of our support and efforts. Therefore, to me it makes no relevance to seek a job in his government before I can support him and his government. In fact not all the women and men who voted him as president have been awarded jobs. This is something that will never happen and has never happened in the past governments. We only a leader that has his country at heart and to better the living standards of his people.
“Basic Service Delivery” or what you will – and $40 million, pumped into that delivery effort in Sierra Leone! Isn’t that ridiculous? Who spends that cash and on what delivery services? Who monitors disbursement of that cash? The World Bank or Sierra Leone Government? But even so, why provide this kind of funding all the time to governments here and there? How do we measure the beneficiaries of this handsome largesse?
In a nutshell, let me whisper a word of advice to the World Bank, IMF, et cetera, et cetera …stop this hand-out; you are nor helping us grow. Sierra Leone has myriad mineral and marine resources to boast of. Allow us to manage these resources on our own; allow us to develop our minds to know what to do to gainfully and fully exploit our own natural resources to build our country and deliver our people from abject poverty: on our own! I cant afford to feed my boy after he turns 22!!!
The world Bank has always struggled to strike the right balance in its development assistance for the 54 nations of Africa. After splitting the continent in to regions, hopping this time the development assistance will work, the country’s world Bank president said:”We’ve been adding resources in Sub – Sahara Africa, so the management resources need to be there. We think this will be the most effective way to have country programs to be successful, both in the Sahel, and horn of Africa and elsewhere around Sub-Saharan Africa ” And to me, if this not a recognition by the world Bank that they have failed people of Africa, I don’t know what is it. They not only need regional management in this corruption infested countries , so they know where their funding is going, and whether is reaching the people it is meant to help, the world Bank needs to demand for the transparency ,and accountability from governments.
And Sierra Leone being one of them, the world Bank and the IMF has always struggled to keep pace with the rising levels of poverty in Sierra leone. They keep rendering us assistance, and the realised it is not making a dent of a difference to the ordinary man and woman. Bio and his government are behaving like a stroppy child, that has a cut in their finger. The Parents, in this case the World Bank and the IMF, is sticking a plaster on the wound.But immediately they turn their backs, and failed to monitor or demand to monitor their activities, transparency and accountability, the child rip of the platers, and start screaming for more plasters. The outcome is clear, the wound never gets heal, and the child is always demanding more plasters. And that is the sorry state we found our country.
In July last year the world Bank split up Africa into regions, which according to it president, Devex Malpass, was in recognition of the big “challenges Africa is facing “At the moment one – third of World Bank lending goes to Africa. Because Mr Malpass, noted Africa is home to 40% of all people living in extreme poverty. I will say the lion share of it can be found in West, and Central and the Horn of Africa. And under Bio, Sierra leone might claim 20% of that. The rest goes to the other countries. Because our politicians are greedy, and corrupt. And they don’t like to share.Our politicians wants everything for themselves. Gayle Martin, might be sitting scratching her head, wondering whether this 40 millions dollars is going to corrupt governments official, or the ordinary people it is meant to help.
THE GREAT SAYEDNA AND MR ALIMAMY TURAY, YOU ARE BOTH ABSOLUTLY RIGHT. And can I add that the problem with the so-called largesse coming from financial institutions created and run mainly by the rich and developed economies of the West is that it further strengthens the abject dependency syndrome of countries such as ours that receive it. The generosity confirms and cements our status as subalterns, incapable even after sixty years or so of political independence of standing on our own two feet and being masters of our own destiny. It condemns us to accepting and internalising a slavish mentality and acknowledging in consequence the superiority of the donor countries and institutions and their commanding role in shaping our lives here and now and indeed our possible futures.
It is both naïve and irresponsible to assume that the largesse is purely the result of active international solidarity and cooperation at work in a very interdependent and interconnected 21st-century world. This is because at bottom it is part and parcel of the unequal power relations between our beloved continent and the wider world. The greatest risk to us is for us to be content with this unequal power play disguised as international goodwill and to make it THE CENTRAL PILLAR of our national developmental efforts and strategies.
It is poisoned generosity; it erodes whatever self-respect we still think we have and ties us helplessly to the diktats of our superiors from the West in terms of how we organise and live our lives. And out of the window go not only our political independence but also and perhaps more importantly our sense of ourselves as an autonomous, dignified human entity, endowed with the impulse to fend for ourselves and come up with creative, home-grown solutions to our own problems.
Centuries ago,the Legendary Indian Spiritual Master and Saint Pantajali once wrote in his sacred text;The Yoga Sutras;”When you are inspired by some great purpose,some extraordinary project,all your thoughts break their bounds;Your mind transcends its limitations,your consciousness begins to expand in every direction;you find yourself in a Great,New and Wonderful world.”Ingenious!I sincerely wish,hope and pray that our leaders in Sierra Leone and the rest of the African continent will be able step into Pantajali’s shoes and just walk five steps and their lives will not be the same again.Without doubt,they will easily be able to summon the courage to dream bigger and reach for the stars instead of waiting for handouts with begging bowls in their hands from self-seeking imperialist foreign entities that have no interest whatsoever in the prosperity,well-being,progress and development of people with charcoal dark skins.
Dream all you want, but your dreams should be bigger Pantajali insists; and the solutions and answers will appear:Why crawl like a snail when you can soar like an Eagle;Why must we wait to be spoon-fed by the World Bank and the IMF when with our own industrious hands we can create sustainable harvests on our own? What legacies do we intend to leave behind for future generations yet to come? Answer – How much is a Beggars legacy going to be worth in a Half of Century from now? Why can’t we begin to think like responsible adults and not like suckling infants with running noses?No wonder Africans are not respected anywhere they go? This shameful lackadaisical attitude of ceaselessly begging and misusing other peoples hard-earned or corrupt money is one of the reasons why foreigners like the Chinese. Lebanese, Europeans, Americans and others treat us with the utmost contempt on our own soil.Who can blame the China-man for spitting on the ground as a sign of disgust?
We are nothing but beggars in his eyes with filthy worn out begging bowls in our hands;Beggars with Gold-diggers in their arms, beggars with Doctorate degrees, beggars always asking for change who still continue to remain broke, Beggars who are Traffic policemen and women Beggars who accept bank transfers because they do not like the clinging noises of new or old coins dropping in the deplorable freeloading Chief Ministers begging bowl.(lol)
My brother “The GREAT SAYEDNA” at his best, and always. Totally agree with you. What is the essence of a country that has just celebrated its 60th birthday of INDEPENDENCE to unashamedly beg to borrow US40 million in order to devise management systems for the implementation and delivery of its services to the nation? Goodness Gracious! (to use my brother’s language). What have these people being doing, or what formula have they been using all these years?
It sounds like a hoax; or an attempt to defraud. Are they going to create software systems that will be used as analytical tools for a checks-and-balances system that will detect loopholes and wastes in the implementation and delivery of government services? How can a begger boasts of transforming its international image? It is very absurd and dubious.
In this little poor country of ours we have men that would give the best and brightest minds anywhere in the world a run for their money; Pragmatic and decisive men like the Honorable Abdul Rashid Thomas, Mr Fallah Williams, my in law Dr Momodu Traore, Dauda Yillah, Sahr Matturi, Alimamy Turay, Young4na and Abraham Jalloh. And we also have innovative leaders like Mayor Sawyerr, Zainab Bangura, Josepheine Momoh and my friend entrepreneur Afsatu ‘iron lady’ Umaru. All these good people working together have the potentials of transforming our impoverished nation easily into a little Paradise on earth/
What more do I need to say to make my point much clearer? Well perhaps this will be of a little help to you; “Implementation capacity and Poor planning are and have always been the main barriers to development in Sierra Leone – alongside corruption.” And there you have it, an illuminating spark that could ignite and brighten our little Sierra Leone forever; A fire-starter that could create raging wildfires that would consume ignorance and corruption in Sierra Leone forever; If only our leaders would grasp those lines from the Honorable Abdul Rashid Thomas with both hands like a treasure, examine and carefully ascertain their invaluable worth we will no be stuck in the ditches of malfeasance, languishing in the dark ages of tribalism, nepotism, waiting for measly handouts from the IMF and the World Bank.
Gentlemen – a few thoughtful, insightful lines can save our nation, a few patriotic discerning words set in motion, spoken in good faith by the Editor of The Sierra Leone Telegraph – Mr Thomas, could become a magic wand for us to wave at our hungry millions, and – PRESTO – we are again reaching for the stars. This government will not able to shoulder the crushing burden of leadership on its own; It time for them to put pride and arrogance aside and ask for help from our brightest and most capable minds. This country doesn’t belong to any Tribe; Nope – It belongs to all of us, including strangers among us; Its time for the far-reaching arms of government to become decisive and all-inclusive.(lol)