By Hassan Juana Koroma
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development with support from the Commonwealth Secretariat has organized a three day national capacity building for Provincial Secretaries, District Officers, Mayors, Chairpersons and Chief Administrators of Local and District Councils on the theme:” Strengthening Political- Administrative Relation to enhance Local Council’s leadership role in the national development of Sierra Leone.” The forum commenced on Wednesday 26th March, 2014 and was held at the Bo City Hall Coronation Field Road in Bo.
In his welcome address, the Provincial Secretary South, Mohamed G. Kamara on behalf of the Resident Minister South, Muctaru Conteh thanked the sponsors and organizers for such a forum stating that Local Councils were instituted to deliver goods and services to their respective communities as stipulated in the Local Council Act of 2004. He admonished all participants to contribute adequately for quality service delivery.
In her statement, the Adviser commonwealth Secretariat, Oluwatoyin Jobe congratulated the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Finda Diana Konomanyi-Kabbah for establishing a conducive and collaborative environment between Politicians and Administrative leaders, as a critical ingredient for translating development Agenda for prosperity into reality.
She said there are well developed drafted plans, Agendas and policies in many parts of the Commonwealth especially in the developing ones stating that the challenge is how to effectively translate these polices into realities for the people to see, feel and have better quality of lives.
Delivering her keynote address and the formal opening of the session, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Finda Diana Konomanyi-Kabbah highlighted some achievements by the Decentralization process which include; establishment of the nineteen local Councils nationwide, successful conduct of three rounds of Local Council elections, disbursement of substantial resources to Local Councils to deliver the much needed services in their communities, provision of robust but comprehensive capacity building support to local Councils and the transfer of substantial service delivery functions from Ministries, Departments and Agencies to the local councils among others.
She said the process has also be confronted with a number of challenges and paramount among them include snail pace at which the devolution process is progressing and the poor quality of devolution so far undertaken, revision of the Local Government Act of 2004 has taken longer than expected, poor local revenue mobilization performance across local Councils, ward committees yet to function well and the condition of service for local council officials.
Hon. Mrs. Finda Konomanyi-Kabbah however, admonished her colleagues not to relent.