• The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a ninety-five point nine million dollars facility for Sierra Leone to facilitate high quality public investment and growth enhancing reforms

    International_Monetary_Fund_logo.svgThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) has disclosed that its Executive Board has approved a ninety-five point nine million dollars facility for Sierra Leone. The press release issued by the IMF states that the facility is a “three-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility for Sierra Leone equivalent to sixty-two point twenty-two million Special Drawing Rights or ninety-five point nine million dollars.

    The release further reveals that the overall amount of the program represents sixty percent of Sierra Leone’s quota in the IMF and enables the immediate disbursement of about thirteen point seven million.

    The release adds that the ECF-supported program seeks to underpin the government’s economic program and aims to facilitate high-quality public investment and growth enhancing reforms in the context of macroeconomic stability.  Following the Executive Board’s discussion, the Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair IMF Min Zhu said Sierra Leone has achieved strong macroeconomic gains in recent years. Bolstered by iron production, economic growth has been robust, while inflation has been falling on the back of a tight monetary stance, a stable exchange rate, and lower food prices.

    He described that the medium-term outlook as favourable, with policy focused on achieving strong broad-based growth, further disinflation, and an improved external position.”

    The authorities’ plans to strengthen public financial management appropriately aimed to enhance revenue mobilization, improve spending controls, and reduce domestic debt.  Key revenue components in their fiscal strategy include improvements in tax administration, reductions in tax exemptions, and the adoption of a comprehensive fiscal regime for the natural resources sector.

    According to the release, Sierra Leone has made significant progress in the implementation of the ECF-supported program that was cancelled prior to its expiration at end-June.  Reform measures and policies put in place have helped improve macroeconomic stability, advance social policies, and enhance prospects for broad and inclusive growth.

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  • A seminar for Local Councils on Grant distribution for Fiscal Year 2014 for the Ministry of Social Welfare sector has ended at Madam Yokie Hotel in Bo

    Ministry-of-Finance-Sierra-LeoneA seminar for Local Councils on Grant distribution for Fiscal Year 2014 for the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs sector organized by the Local Government Finance Department Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has been held at the Madam Yokie Hotel in Bo.  The seminar brought together heads of devolved sectors, Chairperson and Chief Administrators of Local Councils, Parliamentarians and Senior Officials of line MDAs.

    The objective of the seminar was to give opportunity to the new set of chairpersons, councilors, devolved sector heads and other stakeholders, have an understanding of the grant distribution system. It provided an opportunity for all stakeholders to brain storm and suggested variable indicators that can be used to distribute grants relating to their respective MDAs, which will promote ownership by the respective MDAs, and will minimize the concerns expressed by stake holders regarding the choice of indicators used in previous years.

     

    The service requirement for this sector seemed to be expanding due to current emerging social issues bordering on all categories of people and ages.  These issues are expected to be addressed by the sector with no recourse to its yearly budget allocation. It was suggested that with such expansion in service requirements, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affair was advised to make a very strong case to the ministry of finance and economic development for the allocation of additional funds to the ministry, and by extension for devolved services.

    On the issue regarding the conflicting roles in some council in implementing sector services, it was agreed that the implementation of devolved social welfare services remained to be the responsibility of the district social welfare officer.

     

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  • The Ambassador designate of the Federal Republic of Germany to Sierra Leone, has presented his letters of credence

    gThe Ambassador designate of the Federal Republic of Germany to Sierra Leone, Christian Rumplecker has presented his letters of credence to the Ministry’s of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

     

    The meeting discussed support rendered by Germany in the areas of infrastructure and development in its economy.

     

    The Ambassador Designate of the Federal Republic of Germany to Sierra Leone, Christian Rumplecker said Sierra Leone and Germany have established very good relationship over the years and commended the development taking place in the country.

     

    Ambassador Rumplecker expressed the hope that his presence will look at new areas of development that will further strengthen and deepen the bilateral ties between the two countries.

     

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, while welcoming the Ambassador designate said they are grateful of the  support provided by the Germany Government in Sierra Leone’s development drive. He said they will identify new areas of cooperation especially in trade and development.

     

    Dr. Kamara assured the German Ambassador designate of government support and cooperation at all times.

     

     

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  • The British MP responsible for African Affairs has commended President Ernest Bai Koroma

    563657_482220741841361_769018943_nThe British Member of Parliament responsible for African Affairs Hon. Mark Simmonds has commended President Ernest Bai Koroma for sending Sierra Leonean troops on U.N. Peacekeeping missions.

    Hon. Mark Simmonds said the relationship between the United Kingdom and Sierra Leone is held in high esteem. He disclosed that this is his very first visit to Sierra Leone. He said he is keen to find out more details to get first-hand experience on ways to deepen and strengthen bilateral ties.

    Hon. Simmonds thank President Koroma for his support in preventing sexual violence in conflict countries that Sierra Leone signed during the United Nations Ministerial Week.

    In response, President Koroma expressed hope that the visit will be the beginning of many more visits. The President also commended the UK government for the support provided them over the years especially during the country’s civil war. He said Britain has been very supportive throughout the implementation of the Agenda for change.

    Recalling the government’s Investment Forum, Business and Donor Meetings in 2009 in the UK, President Koroma said those meetings were successful and the outcome laid the basis of inviting British interests in Sierra Leone.

    The President maintained that a lot of support was also provided in building up the country’s institutions especially the Military and Police and the governance institutions including the ACC and the Human rights commission among others.

    The President said Sierra Leone has elections that were credible and government wants to ensure that the ACC continues to be a credible institution that could be used in their fight against corruption. He maintained that the Human Rights Commission is also now of an A status and expressed delight that Sierra Leone is even now serving on the Human Right Council at the UN.

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  • Senior and Middle Level Civil Servants in Sierra Leone have commenced a two-day Training Programme on Performance Appraisal System

    David-BanyaAccording to the Director of Performance Management at the Human Resource Management Office, David Banya, the training programme is aimed at educating civil servants how to set targets in administrations, administer Individual Performance Appraisal Forms and evaluate employee performance.

    Mr. Banya said there has been no set standard for evaluating performance over the years. He recounted that most people have been casting blames on civil servants for the low performance standards within Ministries, Departments, and Agencies in the country.

    He noted that civil servants cannot be held accountable if targets are not set for them. “You can only evaluate somebody based on an agreed set target”, he stressed. The Senior and Middle Civil servants are expected to in turn train other civil servants under their supervision.

    In his address, the Senior Government Specialist at World Bank Sierra Leone, Christopher Gabelle stated that performance management is used to ensure those employees’ activities and outcome match with the organization’s objectives that help the institution to successfully implement its strategies.

    Mr. Gabelle challenged that Performance Management process can be effective if the objectives individual employee are linked with the organization’s mission and strategic focus on setting clear performance objectives and expectations and conducting regular discussions throughout the performance cycle.  He stressed that performance appraisal properly describes a process of judging past performance and not measuring that performance against clear and agreed objectives.

    However, Gabelle noted that the major challenge affecting Sierra Leone’s economic and social development is the weak capacity of its public service, noting that human capital has been in decline with acute shortages of required expertise within Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the country.

    He mentioned that crooked recruitment, deployment and promotion backed by political interference has over the years undermined hard work, discouraged high performance and attracted less qualified people to the civil service.  He called for “a total reform” of the system in order to improve performance standards in Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

     

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  • Legal Access for Women Yearning for Equal Rights and Social Justice (LAWYERS) has concluded the sensitization on the three gender Acts

    LYAt a ceremony held in Bo District through funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) LAWYERS under took a sensitization exercise on the three Gender Acts of 2007. This project is part of the UNFPA project for 2013 which is aimed at giving legal counseling through paralegals in the four regions of the country.

    In Bo, the Lead Paralegal of LAWYERS, Ethel Noldred explaining about the Sexual Offences Act of 2012 and the penalties describing how the Act defines ‘Rape’ as when “a man intentionally penetrates his penis into another person without the consent of that person.” She said the accused if found guilty will be sentenced to a minimum of five years and maximum of 15 years imprisonment.

    She said ‘indecent Assault’ is an intentionally touch of another person in a sexual manner without consent of a child under 18 years. The penalty for this offence is five years imprisonment or five million Leones. She said, when a man in his stable mind is caught mating with a person with mental disability the punishment is 5-15 imprisonment and incest also attracts similar punishment under the Act.

    She added that the Chiefs must pledge their support to the campaign to end gender-based violence and early marriage in their chiefdoms. The exercise is part of the UNFPA project for 2013 which is aimed at giving legal counseling to communities.

    She said that her organization has concluded the counseling for the Western Area and they choose Kono for the Eastern Region where over 300 Chiefs, Women and Children were targeted.

    The programme Manager, Christiana Davies – Cole explained that at the end of these counseling sessions, it is hoped that the target audience would have known about the Acts and also to strengthen the paralegals to conduct counseling.

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  • Paramount Chief Melrose Foster Gberie the III of Kpanda Kemo Chiefdom, Bonthe District has called on the Constitutional Review Commission to consider the eligibility of female candidates for Paramount Chieftaincy in the Northern Region

    She was speaking at a three-day forum on the Constitutional Review Process in Makeni with the National Council of Paramount Chiefs funded by UNIPSIL.

     

    Paramount Chief Gberie commended the Constitutional Review Commission for involving the institution of Paramount Chiefs, but expressed grave concern over the number of female paramount chiefs and women representation in various institutions in the country.

     

    Madam Gberie revealed that there are fourteen women Paramount Chiefs in the country out of 149 chiefdoms.  She suggested that it should be embedded in the new constitutional that Northern Sierra Leone should allow women to become Paramount Chiefs.  She said men and Women should have the right to the throne and this should be taken into consideration during the review process.

     

    The Northern Regional Chairman Council of Paramount Chiefs, Bai Shebora Kasanga II of Shebora Chiefdom Bombali said, the constitution was the national Bible and Quran for all Sierra Leoneans.  He said Chiefs belonged to one of the most important institutions in the country.

     

    Chief Kasanga said that to be a Paramount Chief one has to belong to a ruling house adding that they are ready to face a debate, face the critics and the populace to listen to what they will say regarding chieftaincy.

     

    Paramount Chief of Paki Masabong Chiefdom, Masapaki Ka Bonbong the Third said that to ensure the full involvement of paramount chiefs in the review process, the committee should think of increasing their number from one representative to at least three so that each region would have one representative.

     

    On the involvement of women in the chieftaincy election in the northern region, he said that was purely traditional, adding that it should be a gradual process.

     

    In admonished the paramount chiefs, Chairman of the Constitutional Review Committee Justice Edward Cowan said, traditional rulers have an important role to play in the development of the country and the review was one of them.

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  • A delegation from the World Bank has met with members of the parliamentary oversight committees on Finance and Transparency

    indexAddressing the MPs at the conference Hall Tower Hill, Mr. Ceesay intimated that the World Bank has provided six hundred and twenty thousand dollars, as operational support to the financial committees in parliament.

     

    The Chairman of the Finance Committee Hon. Hassan Sheriff dwelt at length on the capacity support to MPs by the World Bank while Hon. Ibrahim Bundu from Port Loko District who chaired the Appraisal meeting called for the recruitment of personnel with a wealth of experience to assist the financial management of the committees.

     

    The Hon. Patricia Browne in her contribution called for the recruitment of internal experts into the three committees.

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  • The Fifth Round Afro Barometer Survey revealed that most Sierra Leoneans have mistrust for the Sierra Leone Police Force in reporting crimes.

    According to the report police demand money or bribes to assist citizens, and that police don’t treat complaints brought before them seriously. The report also states that there is limited police presence in certain communities, giving rise to criminal activities.

     

    The Afro Barometer which is spearheaded by campaign for good governance in partnership with ITASCAP is to measure popular perspectives on social, political and economic environments with the aim of giving the public a voice in policy making process by providing high quality public opinion and data to policy makers that depict the mindset of Sierra Leoneans.

     

    The Afro Barometer perception survey is a collection of public opinion surveys that measure public attitudes toward democracy, governance, the economy, leadership, identity and other issues of national concern. This survey paid special focus on opinions on the media, institutional and social trust, equity and gender equality, personal security and safety, the free health care and street children.

     

    poAccording to the Afro Barometer, majority of Sierra Leoneans prefer seeking police assistance whilst minority prefers to seek assistance from traditional leaders or courts. The report states that some people do not report crime incidents to the police as 31% believe that the police will demand money from them, 13% do not have time to make report to the police,13% believes that there is no police station in areas they reside.

     

    On the free health care and street children, the Afro Barometer report states that majority of Sierra Leoneans acknowledge the government free health care initiative; and majority acknowledged benefiting from the health care initiative. The report states that majority classified the free health care as fair whilst minority believes the initiative is very bad in performance.

     

    In the area of social conditions, the report states that majority of Sierra Leoneans do not have access to computer or internet, whilst majority said that they access water outside their homes and the use of mobile phones a new phenomenon in the country to pay bills.

     

     

     

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  • The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) has completed hearing the case for the petitioners following the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) Conference.

    The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) has completed listening to submissions on petitions sent by Ambassador Alie Bangura and sixteen others from the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).

     

    Giving an update on the SLPP Petition, a PPRC release states that after the party’s 2013 Delegates Conference in Bo, the Commission received petitions against the conduct and the outcome of the convention.

     

    The PPRC Chairman Hon. Justice Maitland Tolla-Thompson said the Commission will now look at the issues and will come up with a recommendation on the matter.

     

    Meanwhile the PPRC will monitor the Bye election in Constituency 01 in Kailahun District and Local Council bye election in ward 229 in Sambaia Bendugu in Tonkolili district.

     

    PPRC deployment will include permanent staff, Members of the District Code Monitoring Committees and causal staff.  The process is in line with the Commissions mandate to monitor the conduct of Political Parties on elections Day.

     

     

     

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