By Sylvester Samba.
The Ministry of Transport and Aviation with support from the Ministry of Finance has developed a “National Vehicle Fleet Policy” with the aim of putting a complete stop to the misuse of government vehicles and also develop a comprehensive data of all government owned vehicles in the country.
The policy received it final validation on Tuesday 5th February, 2019 at a workshop held at the Miatta Conference Hall, Youyi Building in Freetown.
In his statement, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Kabineh Kallon said that this is the first time in history, under a successive government, that Sierra Leone has developed a “National Vehicle Fleet Policy”.
Mr. Kallon also said that, the procurement of vehicles is one of government`s capital expenditure and it is on record that there is very little or no supervision of government vehicles in the country. “ The management of this valuable product is nothing good to right home about…There is a growing public perception about the misuse of government vehicles which shows practical evidence that they are not effectively managed”, he noted with dismay.
The Minister further stated that, there are no reliable sources of data of all government vehicles adding that the “National Vehicle Fleet Policy” will bring discipline in the overall management of government vehicles across the country.
The Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Sahr Lahai Jusu said his ministry is at the heart of the establishment of the “National Vehicle Fleet Policy” and that they will give the needed support for the said policy to come into existence.
sMr. Jusu also confirmed that there is no reliable data of government vehicles in the country. “No one knows the estimated total number of vehicles owned by government or government officials, State owned enterprises, donor funded vehicles etc”. He lamented that if someone visits the beach area of Freetown during the weekends, one can discover nearly twenty (20) vehicles with people drinking and smoking inside them as if the vehicles were bought for their personal use.
The country’s Financial Secretary maintained that over the years, government has lost huge sums of money amounting to Billions and even Trillions of Leones to procure vehicles, buy fuel, maintenance and services, among others.
Mr. Jusu frowned at the idea of some senior government workers having over three vehicles assigned to them. He stressed that most of these vehicles given to them are being misused by them together with their family members. “It is unbelievable to see family members using government vehicles for their own personal errands…Some even take them as far as to the provinces”, he noted. He concluded that, they are looking forward to having a policy that can make government officials become more accountable for vehicles assigned to them.