27 January 2012
The World Bank has today boosted the efforts of the government of Sierra Leone in tackling poverty, by approving a US$24 million funding package, under the fifth Governance Reform and Growth Credit (GRGC) Programme.
The funding will help president Koroma pursue economic growth and implement necessary structural reforms, currently aided through the Multi-Donor Budget Support (MDBS) arrangement.
The World Bank is hoping that with this $24 million funding, the Government of Sierra Leone will be able to ‘sustain gains made in preserving and expanding budget allocations for poverty reduction, and steps taken to improve the efficiency of such spending; strengthening domestic revenue mobilization measures; and supporting reforms in the energy sector.’
“A significant highlight of this year’s support is the major policy steps taken to reform the important energy sector, for which I commend the government”, said World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone – Vijay Pillai.
He said that; “this lays the foundation for building a vibrant energy sector, which is so crucial for growth and poverty reduction in Sierra Leone. I would strongly encourage the government to see through the full implementation of these reforms”.
News of this new funding came twenty-four hours after president Koroma had sacked his energy minister – professor Ogunlade Davidson, as electricity blackout cripples the economic and social life of the capital – Freetown.
Implementation of the fifth Governance Reform and Growth Credit (GRGC) programme commenced in 2011 and will end in 2012.
The World Bank says that it has taken a significant step forward in improving the predictability of budget support, by making funding available at the start of the fiscal year.
According to the World Bank, the provision of funding under the Multi-Donor Budget Support arrangement is made with the expectation that; ‘the government will maintain macro-economic stability, fiscal and fiduciary discipline, and continue to undertake reforms, which will lead to growth and poverty reduction’.
But, with the prospect of a global economic downturn looming, the World Bank says that it recognises the need for the government to continue its prudent management of the economy, in particular – managing the likely effects of wage demand pressures.
The Bank calls upon the government to continue to maintain due diligence, in the implementation of infrastructure projects.