TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part I: Introduction………………………………………………………
1.1: Socio-economic Context………………………………………………………………..
1.2: Political Ideology…………………………………………………………………………
1.3: Development Model……………………………………………………………………..
1.4: Vision Statement…………………………………………………………………………
Part II: Revamping the Economy……………………………………
2.1: Improving the Macro-economy………………………………………………………..
2.2: Developing the Private Sector………………………………………………………….
2.3: Strengthening the Financial Sector……………………………………………………
2.4: Developing the Agricultural Sector……………………………………………………..
2.5: Improving the Management of Mineral Resources……………………………..
2.6: Improving the Management Oil and Gas Exploration………………………….
2.7: Improving the Management of Marine Resources………………………………..
2.8: Developing the Tourism Sector………………………………………………………..
2.9: Developing the Manufacturing Sector…………………………………………………
Part III: Human Development…………………………………………….
3.1: Improving Education and Skills Training…………………………………………
3.2: Improving Health Care ………………………………………………………………….
3.3: Empowering our Youth, Women and the Disadvantaged…………………
3.3.1: Empowering our Youth…………………………………………………………………..
3.3.2: Empowering our Women……………………………………………………………..
3.3.3: Protecting Persons Living with Disability and Our Aged……………….
3.4: Protecting our Children……………………………………………………….
3.5: Protecting and Empowering our Workers………………………………….
Part IV: Governance………………………………………..
4.1: Building and Promoting National Cohesion……………………………
4.2: Fighting Corruption and Improving Accountability………………….
4.3: Improving Security………………………………………………………………
4.4: Strengthening Repositioning the Civil Service………………………………
4.5: Advancing Rule of Law, Promoting Justice and Human Rights………………
4.6: Executive Power and the Presidency…………………………………………….
4.7: Deepening Decentralisation and Strengthening Local and Chieftaincy Reform…..
4.8: Revamping Democratic Institutions………………………………………………….
4.9: Constitutional Reform………………………………………………………………….
4.10: Foreign Affairs and Diplomacy……………………………………………………..
4.11: Diaspora Affairs…………………………………………………………………………
Part V: Infrastructure……………………………………….
5.1: Improving Energy…………………………………………………………………….
5.2: Improving Transport……………………………………………………………….
5.2.1: Road Transportation……………………………………………………………….
5.2.2: Air Transportation……………………………………………………………….
5.2.3: Sea Transportation…………………………………………………………………
5.2.4 Railway Transportation………………………………………………………….
5.3: Increasing Access to Water Supply and Improved Sanitation………
5.4: Improving Information, Communication and Technology………………
5.5: Improving Lands, Housing and Country Planning…………………………
5.6: Improving Environmental Management……………………………………….
I am deeply humbled by the membership of the great Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) for giving me the singular honour to carry its flag as Presidential Candidate for the second time into the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections scheduled for the 7th March 2018. I thank you all for the confidence and trust that you have reposed in me to be your Flag Bearer and to provide the strong, visionary, disciplined and credible leadership to change and transform our beloved Sierra Leoneinto a middle-income country of the 21st Century.
The first time I was bestowed this honour was in 2012. On that occasion I believe we won the presidential elections but lost the results precipitately declared by Christiana Thorpe, Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission (NEC). Our attempt to invalidate her action was frustrated by the Courts which technically avoided consideration of the merits of our case.
We were faced then with a stark choice: either to accept the results as declared or insist upon a proper verification of them. We felt compelled to choose the former because we were deeply conscious of the disturbing repercussions awaiting the hapless majority of our people and also because we were not oblivious of the fact that they were still emerging from the throes of a devastating 11-year Civil War.
Our decision to let the 2012 results stand should therefore not be misconstrued by anyone. We knew it would expose the masses of our people to the suffocating cesspit of APC government misrule for yet another five years. We were also deeply aware of the terrible consequences of President Ernest Koroma’s ruinous policy of “running the country like a business” was going to heap upon the country which hasnow plummeted into the abyss of all the international indices of socio-economic development, to say nothing about how it has also endangered its national cohesiveness, peace and stability.
Our New Direction therefore offers the people of Sierra Leone a STARK CHOICE between the current ‘Business as Usual Status Quo’ of the APC that has converted Sierra Leone into a land of poverty, rampant corruption, gross indiscipline and underdevelopment and the SLPP’s New Direction’s promise of ChangeandTransformation that will make Sierra Leone a significantly better country through inclusive politics, inclusive economic growth, inclusive development and inclusive governance. Our New Direction will give every Sierra Leonean the ladder of opportunity to climb and achieve their greatest potential for personal development. Our New Direction will ensure the efficient political and economic management of the state and its natural resources to capacitate our country to pay for and finance all our basic and essential services and to invest in our critical infrastructure for sustainable development.
- Socio-Economic Context
Sierra Leone is an unequal and divided society today with a few rich and powerful governing elites who have vast social, economic, political and development opportunities and control the state’s political and economic processes. On the other hand, two-thirds of the 7 million population live on less than US $1.25 a day, 3 out every 5 adults cannot read or write, life expectancy is 50 years compared to 53 in neighbouring Liberia and 59 in Guinea. Sierra Leone today is ranked as one of the world’s poorest countries. Most of the population either lack or has limited or no guaranteed access to basic services including education, healthcare and social protection. Half of the population cannot afford adequate food to maintain and live a healthy life. Youth (persons 15-35 years) constituting one-third of the population and 70% of these are unemployed, underemployed, unemployable, unskilled and lacking social mobility opportunities. Justice is not accessible to the majority of the poor and dispossessed in Sierra Leone today. These depressing socio-development indicators will not guarantee peace, security and stability in the country.
- Political Ideology
The New Direction Manifesto of the People is based on the political ideology of Social Democracy and its fundamental commitment to peace, freedom, security, justice, equality, unity and solidarity. The New Direction promotes and guarantees political, social, economic and cultural rights of all Sierra Leoneans through entitlement and access to basic necessities of life. The New Direction Social Democracy political ideology aspires to create a more just and equal society in Sierra Leone as the only insurance to avoid another war and recurrent political instability. Though the New Direction is based on free market neo-liberal economic development principles, we will depart from the traditional principle whereby only the market economy determines individual performance and reward. The Social Democracy foundation of the New Direction is based on inclusive politics, inclusive development and inclusive economic growth whereby the benefits of economic growth are re-distributed to all Sierra Leoneans through the provision of affordable housing, public health services and free education. The New Direction Social Democracy gives every Sierra Leonean a voice, ownership and a stake in the country and its future.
- Democratic Developmental State Model
The New Direction Social Democracy believes that a Democratic Developmental State model will effectively deliver the primary goals and aspirations of the SLPP to change and transform Sierra Leone. A Democratic Developmental State is one that not only embodies the principles of electoral democracy, but also ensures that all citizens participate in the decisions that affect their lives as well as the development and governance of the country. The Democratic Developmental State puts economic development and the redistribution of the benefits of economic growth as the top priority of the SLPP government policy. The New Direction SLPP Democratic Developmental State will create positive and competitive business environment to encourage and drive efficiency, affordable prices, high quality service delivery and meaningful employment for all Sierra Leoneans. The New Direction Social Democracy and Democratic Development State are firmly based on our conviction of ‘One Country One People’ and that it is only by giving ALL Sierra Leoneans a sense of ownership and inclusive belonging that peace, stability, security and development can prevail in Sierra Leone.
- Vision Statement
TRANSFORMING THE ECONOMY
Transforming the economy of Sierra Leone means the adoption of sound economic policies and management through developing the human capital, public infrastructure and governance structures. Although the country is bountifully endowed with vast natural resources, in its most recent history, particularly after the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in 2014, it became an international byword for a country with extreme poverty, poor health infrastructure and death. Its failure to prudently utilize the proceeds from this natural wealth to develop its human capital and infrastructure has meant that the bulk of our people are mired in underdevelopment and grinding poverty amidst the growing affluence of a few.
- Improving the Macro-Economy
Overall,real growth of the economy reached its zenith of 20.7% in 2013 largely as a result of the boom in iron ore exports. Non-iron ore growth in 2013 was only 5.5% compared to 7.3% in 2005. As a result of the ill-preparedness of the APC Government to effectively manage the boom and the dramatic drop in commodity prices coupled with the sudden emergence of the Ebola scourge, the economy collapsed by 21% in 2015. Following the end of Ebola and the return of normal activities in the real sectors, it rebound to 6.1%. By 2017, the economy receded by 5.6% due to a slowdown in economic activity.The non-iron ore economy grew by 4.3% in 2016, up from 3.2% in 2015.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing continue to be the backbone of the Sierra Leone economy. Its share of GDP however declined from 52.2% in 2007 to 47.5% in 2016.Similarly, the manufacturing sector share of GDP declined from 2.5% in 2007 to 1.8% in 2016. The relevance of mining and quarry increased from 5.3% of GDP in 2007 to 20.0% in 2013, showing a structural shift to the mining sector.However, recent experience in Sierra Leone shows that dependence on the mining sector is not a good development model because of its vulnerability to volatile world commodity markets. The current structural shift in which the relevance of mining and quarry increased from5.3% of GDP in 2007 to 20.0% in 2013 cannot guarantee successful structural economic transformation. The mining sector is highly capital and skill intensive and has limited forward and backward linkages with the rest of the economy, and therefore could not be a dependable source of sustainable job creation for a fragile economy like Sierra Leone largely characterized by weak human capital.
Inflation has worsened in the past 10 years. It rose from 8.5% in 2013 to 9.8% in 2014 and 10.1% in 2015 and further to 17.4% in 2016. IMF estimates it at 18% in 2017.Thus, between 2007 and 2016, economic conditions have suffered a sharp deterioration and there is growing hardship for a large segment of the population. Prices of essential goods have risen. For example, the cost of 50Kg of rice, the staple food, has risen from Le 60,000 in 2007 to Le 250,000 in 2016.
Neither has the performance of exports been encouraging due largely to the decline in international prices of mineral products that account for three-quarters of total exports, particularly iron ore. Overall, data obtained from the Government Budget 2017 indicate that annual percentage change in exports between 2013 and 2014 was -15.4%, between 2014 and 2015 -55.4% even though it was projected at 18.8% for 2015 and 2016 due to the recovery in the real sectors. For the same period, percentage change in import of goods was 4.7% in 2014 mainly on account of import of Ebola-related goods and services and was -20.6% in 2015 and slightly recovered to 0.6% in 2016. In absolute terms, total imports was US$540 million of which rice imports was US$150 million representing 27.7% of the total import bill. Government Budget Statement estimates that US$108 million has already used for the importation of rice for the first six months of 2017. Trade deficit widened to US$765 million in 2015 from US$333.9 million. However, it improved slightly to US$646 million in 2016 following the resumption of iron ore exports. External reserves averaged 3.8 months of imports between 2004 and 2008 but has dropped to 2.7 months of imports in 2017. Unsurprisingly,the exchange rate has depreciated from Le2, 900 to US$1 in 2007 to Le 7,600 in 2017.
Domestic revenue collected as share of GDP is averaged at 10.9% between 2008 and 2016, which is far below the 20% revenue threshold required fund state expenditure. About 50% of total expenditure in 2015 was financed by domestic revenue and is estimated at 59% in 2016 and 66% in 2017. In absolute terms, deficit in 2015 was Le2.089 trillion, estimated at Le1.963 trillion for 2016 and Le1.848 for 2017. Sierra Leone’s current revenue to GDP is 11.1% excluding road user charges and is too low to finance the anticipated development programmes of the SLPP. The medium term fiscal profile anticipates that domestic revenue excluding road user charges will increase from Le3.41 trillion in 2017 (11.1% of GDP) to Le6.57 trillion (15.0% of GDP) in 2020, which is in fact lower compared to the Le9 trillion estimated to fund the programmes envisaged under the New Direction.
To finance this deficit, government has resorted to domestic borrowing from banks and non-banks as well as external borrowing with negative repercussions for debt stock and associated interest payments at the expense of financing expenditure on essential social services. Consequent on the debt relief in 2006, the SLPP government reduced the external debt stock from US$1.6 billion to US$250 million in 2007. By the end of 2017 total external debt stands at US$1.5 billion representing over 400% increase. Domestic debt was Le3.364 billion in June 2016 and expected to increase to Le4.009 billion in 2017 and Le4.568 billion in 2018. Total interest payments was Le174.57 billion and expected to increase to Le 233.12 billion in 2016 and projected to nearly double to Le 548.18 billion in 2017. The amount spent on interest repayment in 2016 exceeded that allocated to critical sectors and departments such as the Sierra Leone Police (Le 87.87 billion), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (Le63.27 billion), Ministry of Health and Sanitation (Le 94.94 billion) and Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (Le 9.16 billion) in 2017 budget. Undeniably, this is a clear indication of bad management of our economy.
Current revenue policy and administration is faced with a couple of challenges which the New Direction aims to reverse. These challenges can broadly be categorized into policy and administrative challenges
Firstly, excessive tax relief and exemptions: The proliferation of special reliefs, exemptions and deductions has led to significant narrowing of the tax base and has introduced administrativechallenges that create inefficiency and leakages. The total number of reliefs identified and documented by the NRA stand at 148. Of this number, 50.7% are income tax reliefs, 22.3% are GST reliefs, and 20.9% are customs reliefs whilst the remaining 6.1% are other reliefs. In 2015, government estimated to have lost Le837.4 billion (3.8% of GDP) from the 148 reliefs granted by fiscal authorities. A report by an NRA consultant has identifiedsome of these reliefs as structural or administrative and therefore could not be reduced,representing 30% of the total cost of exemptions. They are worth about Le 600 billion (2.72%). Furthermore, the Income Tax Act grants total relief to the President and 50% relief to the Vice President on PAYE. Additionally the President, Parliamentarians, Ministers and their Deputies and High Court Judges were granted duty free concessions for one vehicle for their personal use during the life time of Parliament. Except for the President’s privileges under the Customs Tariff Act, the other concessions were granted on the basis of Cabinet conclusion CP23 (96)13. Such exemptions not only undermine revenue they create an unfair tax system that can and has been used to promote political patronage.
Secondly, uncertainty in tax policy environment is engendered by the fact that every year new tax laws and regulations are passed under the Finance Act, sometimes without fully evaluating the success of the previous regulations. This proliferation of tax laws creates uncertainty in the tax system affecting investment decisions. Such action also increases the turnover of business (i.e. entry and exiting of new business) as exemplified by the Telecoms sector. New mobile companies enter the market, only to leave after a few years mainly because of the level of unpredictability of the tax regulatory system affecting the sector.
Thirdly, increased politicization of the revenue authorities has considerably reduced their autonomy and effectiveness thus increasing political patronage and corruption in the administration.
There are a lot of under-declaration and under-invoicing in the tax system, resulting from weak capacity in the tax administration to properly audit businesses. Studies undertaken by consultants of NRA have shown that tax gaps associated with import duty under- declaration for 2015 is estimated at around Le94 billion ($20.6 million). Moreover, GST productivity in 2015 was estimated at 19.26% which is very low compared to the African continental average of 36.5%. If Sierra Leone’s GST collection was in line with other low income countries (at C-efficiency of 38%), the revenue potential from GST could be approximately Le1.17 trillion. Actual GST collection in 2015 was Le593.047 billion given a difference of Le576.953 billion, which implies that about half of GST revenue is not collected.
Secondly, weak capacity generally is a major factor underlying low revenue uptake in Sierra Leone. Inadequate skilled staff, transfer pricing, thin capitalization and inadequate Information Technology infrastructure have all combined to undermine effectiveness in revenue mobilization in Sierra Leone. The tax system also lacks an integrated administration – multiple IT systems, software and high use of disorganized manual systems and unreliable data. Current NRA administration spent Le1.425 billion on so-called corporate social responsibility in 2016 almost trebling the Le502.668 spent in 2015. Such a colossal amount could have adequately covered the cost of training more auditors to carry out specialized audit.
Thirdly,according to the audit report 2016, there is currently a problem of inadequate reconciliation between assessment and actual collection by the NRA, and a great deal of inadequate reconciliation exists between NRA cashbooks and transit bank statements, and between the transit banks and the Consolidated Revenue Fund. The audit report also identified taxes due for collection from individuals, corporate bodies and other institutions by the Domestic Tax Revenue and Customs Divisions of the National Revenue Authority but remained uncollected stood at approximately Le3.8 billion in 2016. Similarly, in 2014 GST Customs and Excise (C&E) revenue of Le280 billion was reported in the ASYCUDA but only Le266 billion was collected, a shortfall of Le13.9 billion. Total receipts of Le191.3 billion were recorded in the VIPS (a software system used to record GST liabilities for both large and medium tax payers) but only Le152.5 billion was reported in the cash book. Thus the GST revenue reported was understated by Le38.76 billion.
Fourthly, taxation is not only about revenue raising; it is also a fundamental part of state building and democratic accountability. Taxes make government more visible and ultimately more accountable. However, without transparency and access to information, citizens are less able to hold governments to account. Without knowing how much tax is being raised and from where, the people are less able to make proposals about how the money should be spent.
The New Direction macro-economic transformation will focus on the following priorities: (i) Revenue Mobilisation; (ii) Public Expenditure Management; (iii) Public Debt Management and (iv) Exchange Rate Management.
- Revenue Mobilisation
The overall objectives of the New Direction for revenue mobilization is to increase domestic revenue from the current 11.1% of GDP to 20% of GDP within 3 yearsand to build a fair, transparent and accountable tax system that promotes investment and growth.Our key strategy is to push for better taxation collection rather than imposing new taxation. Such efforts hold the potential to stimulate growth and investment whilst also allowing for increased levels of tax collection.Specifically, the following shall be the focus:
- Review existing tax laws, agreements, policies and strategies to ensure that they meet the objectives of maximising tax revenue collection as well as impacting on the well-being of all Sierra Leoneans, especially low income earners and small business enterprises
- All holders of elective office and political appointees, including the President and Vice President, will pay tax on their earnings to ensure fairness in the tax system
- Develop and legislate a National Tax Policy that articulates how the Sierra Leone Tax System will look like in terms of focus, administration and rate changes in the medium term.The new National Tax Policy will ensure the coordination and harmonisation of taxing authorities in the country to avoid the multiplicity of taxes.
- Evaluate the on-going tax reforms with a view to enhancing the capacity of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) in tax assessment, collection and reporting through training; developing tax ICT infrastructure, working environment and introducing performance- based remuneration system for staff.
- Implement all audit reports findings and recommendations and ensure that every cent collected is paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
- Enforce the Fiscal Accountability and Management Act that obligates all MDAs to transfer all funds to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. To this end, the new SLPP administration will immediately commence the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system that would allow Government to aggregate receipts from all government sources in order to give a better oversight of public finances, improve cash management and reduce reliance on bank financing.
- Mandate the NRA and the Ministry of Finance to upload on a regular basis tax information on revenue collection by sectors, tax rates particularly on frequently imported commodities, assessment and rate of tax compliance by sector
- Further strengthen the tax administration core processes, specifically in the areas of filing, assessment and payment and in dispute resolution
- Develop the capacity of local councils, particularly the city councils, in revenue assessment and collection
- Establish a One-Stop Shop (OSS) that will enable importers to clear goods within 24 hours
- Develop a more robust and transparent policy and law for granting duty waivers
- Mobilise resources from non-traditional sources such as issuing of Diaspora Bonds within the context of controlling the debt burden, South-South cooperation, public-private partnerships, tourism and Carbon Financing.
- Develop and create strategic partnerships with crypto currency and crowd funding platforms through smart contracts using block chain technology to raise funds by pledging unexploited mineral deposits (gold, diamonds and rare earths) and using the funds to reinvest in social programmes like health care and education
- Enforce tax laws especially rental income taxation and ensure timely settlement of all tax obligations. For rental income tax, update rental income tax database using the existing database on holding and letting agents, and conduct field audits on rented apartments and houses.
- Public Expenditure Management.
The New Direction specific policy actions that will be pursued to manage public spending in an efficient and effective manner are:
- Evaluate the on-going reforms and introduce reforms to strengthen public expenditure management.
- Develop and introduce a standardized overseas travel policy for the public service and covering all categories of workers including Government Ministers.
- Develop the capacity of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies in expenditure planning, management and reporting
- Separate the Ministry of Finance from the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning and enhance the latter’s capacity for more effective coordination of donor spending; improving programme/project design, implementation support and monitoring and evaluation
- Strengthen Public Expenditure Tracking (PET), Audit Service Commission and the involvement of Non-State Actors in monitoring public spending
- Develop a National Development Monitoring and Evaluation System that will generate real time information on outputs and outcome of all development projects implemented by government and donors
- Reduce spending on purchase and maintenance of government vehicle as well on fuel by introducing a vehicle pool and movement tracking system.
- Expand and improve efficiency in public spending on social services through deepening the decentralization process, developing the capacities of MDAs in the various districts for service delivery and encouraging public-private partnership in service delivery
- Re-establish the authority of the Public Service Commission as the primary authority to recruit civil servants
- Harmonize the wage structure in the public sector to keep the wage bill sustainable.
- Public Debt Management.
- The New Direction will introduce the practice of annual debt ceilings beyond which Government cannot borrow and link the borrowing ceiling to a clearly laid out medium-term debt management strategy
- Limit external financing of social services to grants
- Access concessional loans with low interest rates and long grace periods
- Direct loans to productive sector and infrastructural development with high economic returns
- Reform the institutional and legal framework for accessing external and domestic debt for the central government, local governments, and parastatals.
- Exchange Rate Management
The New Direction exchange rate management strategic objective is to maintain low, stable and competitive exchange rate through increasing exports and reducing imports of consumer goods. The specific policies are:
- Improve on the current account balance through (a) review of existing policy framework for rural banking and financing to support cash crop production and marketing; (b) improve supportive marketing infrastructure and facilities; and (c) promote agro-processing to add value to farm products for exports and maintain low import levels, particularly on consumer goods.
- Sustain competitive interest rate with the aim of attracting foreign capital.
- Maintain single digit inflation to improve on the purchasing power of the currency.
2.2 Developing the Private Sector
A vibrant private sector is the driver for economic growth, income generation, employment and ultimately poverty reduction. We will promote competitive, fast-growing and liberal economy led by the private sector. The private sector can substantially assist in building the capacity and capability of Sierra Leoneans.
The Sierra Leone private sector is largely informal. Large formal private sector activities are restricted to mining, hotel and tourism, construction, banking and a few agriculture activities. Overall, the Sierra Leonean private sector is characterised by foreign dominance, high cost and risk of doing business, limited access to finance, poor infrastructure, and weak legal and regulatory frameworks, poor macro-economic environment and corruption. The problematic factors for doing business identified by the Global Competitiveness Report are accessing financing, corruption, inadequate supply of infrastructure, inflation, tax rates and foreign currency regulations, crime and theft, poor work ethic in national labour force, inadequately educated labour force, poor public health, inefficient government bureaucracy, insufficient capacity to innovate, policy instability, tax regulations, restrictive labour regulations and government instability.
Evidence from the World Bank Doing Business Report and the Global Competitiveness Report shows Sierra Leone as relatively uncompetitive. According to World Bank Doing Business Report, Sierra Leone dropped in ranking for ease of doing business from 140 out of 185 in 2012 to 145 out of 190 in 2016 and further to 148 out of 190 in 2017. Similarly the Global Competitiveness Report ranked Sierra Leone 133 out of 134 countries surveyed in 2012. Subsequent ranking did not change significantly and stood at 132 out of 138 countries surveyed.
The APC Government introduced policies as well as legal and regulatory framework for private sector development but continued to stifle the sector by exercising an inordinate amount of control through MDAs. Administrative barriers to investment that have been removed reappeared as most decisions had to be taken right up to the top.
Many companies carry out bad employment practices. Although a very high percentage of workers are Sierra Leoneans in major companies, their top managerial tier comprise expatriates and there is little inclination to recruit or train competent Sierra Leoneans.
There is also poor participation of local companies in businesses given out by many major companies whose attempt to empower Sierra Leonean businesses remains scanty. Government interference is rife and politically connected people have been given unfair concessions in contracts and in importation of goods, thereby giving them an unfair advantage. A considerable lack of transparency in many business dealings still exists.
In the New Direction, the SLPP government will ensure that Sierra Leoneans are given priority in many businesses and employment. However, this will be done in a way that does not undermine efficiency. The promotion of goods and services from Sierra Leoneans and the employment of Sierra Leoneans will be legislated through a Sierra Leone First Policy. Companies will be required to provide the necessary training for Sierra Leoneans and also review their procurement and employment rules to ensure this is achieved. The focus will be on (i) increasing access to finance; (ii) reducing the cost of doing business; (iii) promoting local entrepreneurship; (iv) capacity building and (v) developing the infrastructure.
In the New Direction, the SLPP policies and actions will focus on the following areas:
- Increasing Access to Finance
- Introduce a partial guarantee scheme to provide loans to high potential private sector entities in order to reduce the cost of finance for investment
- Review and strengthen the regulatory framework for Micro-finance Institutions (MFIs)
- Expand on mobile technology to improve on access to credit and repayment
- Re-establish National Development Banks to provide equity capital to Sierra Leoneans in businesses with credible foreign companies
- Establish a fund to provide access to medium and long-term capital to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and encourage lending institutions to lend a significant proportion of bank loan portfolios to SMEs.
- Reducing the Cost and Risk of Doing Business
- Review all policies and laws governing business and update them in line with best practice
- Broaden and deepen regulatory reforms in areas such as labour laws, property registration and licensing procedures
- Modernise the legal and regulatory framework governing business and commerce
- Deregulate the investment climate to boost investment and private sector development
- Implement prudent fiscal and monetary policies to ensure a stable macro-economic environment
- Establish One-Stop-Shop (OSS) that will reduce business registration from 10 days to 2/3 days.
- Implement a land policy to ease leasing, ownership and disposal of land
- Review licensing procedures and reduce number of municipal licenses and ease accessing permits
- Capacitate the fast track commercial courts to reduce the time and cost of enforcing commercial contracts and provide mechanisms for low-cost alternative dispute resolution.
- Promoting Local Entrepreneurship
- Establish a Presidential Initiative on local entrepreneurship and social enterprise
- Continue to support business plan competition to give recognition and reward Sierra Leoneans with innovative ideas
- Mainstream, institutionase and invest in entrepreneurial skills training at tertiary education levels and business organisations
- Develop the capacity of business organisations to provide relevant market information and advice to their membership and enhance their capability in business negotiations and dialogue with policy makers
- Review and implement the Local Content Act to give preference to Sierra Leoneans in the award of contracts and employment
- Withdraw fiscal incentives from companies that do not comply with employment and local content laws
- Review policies and laws relating the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
- Support the domestic private sector to create linkages with large domestic as well as foreign firms
- Capacity Building
- Enhance Government’s capacity in viable project identification and appraisals, trade negotiations through technical assistance to the Ministry of Trade and Industry
- Create a forum for constantly engaging the private sector especially through Chambers of Commerce
- Strengthen the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) with a view to facilitating domestic and foreign investment
- Design and deliver priority programmes, including investment promotion initiatives, ensuring alignment of GOSL policies and statutes with relevant international conventions.
- Developing the Infrastructure
- Develop a framework to ensure that prioritisation of roads is based on investment potential of particular areas
- Improve on electricity supply in Freetown and all district capitals
- Re-establish a special industrial zone outside Freetown with uninterrupted power supply, water, and communications to attract investment
2.3 Strengthening the Financial Sector
The financial sector is critical for any economic development. It pools and allocates resources to promote productivity and economic growth. This, however, depends on the quantity and quality of its services and the efficiency with which these services are delivered.
Currently, there are 14 licensed functional banks in Sierra Leone. Only one of these (Sierra Leone Commercial Bank) is solely owned and another (Rokel Commercial Bank) is partly owned by the Government of Sierra Leone. One is entirely owned by Sierra Leoneans and all others are foreign dominated banks. These foreign dominated banks control 75% of financial sector assets.
There are few well-qualified bankers available in the country. New and mainly foreign owned banks are growing fast. They have the potential to dominate the sector. The banking system, with capital exceeding 17% of total assets, is sound, and banks that are well managed appear profitable. However, non-performing loans are a problem, at 16% of total loans, and banking supervision may not be sufficiently risk-oriented.
The financial sector has not provided adequate support to the private sector. Access to finance, particularly for businesses outside Freetown, is grossly limited. Some of the challenges in the banking sector include weaknesses in the central bank, particularly in the area of banking regulation and supervision, weak infrastructure, weak policy and legal environment, inadequate bank coordination, shortage of skilled professionals, insufficient technological resources, a weak interbank market, the lack of payments mechanisms, absence of credit-risk information, inadequate short-term financial markets, absence of longer-term finance and foreign currency lending and ignorance of banking products and procedures .
In the New Direction, the overall objective of financial sector development will be consistent with the Financial Sector Development Plan 2009. It will entail developing a strong, sound and effective banking system that will increase access to both short-term and long-term capital for investment purposes. Efforts in the New Direction will focus on (i) Capacitating Bank of Sierra Leone; (ii) Strengthening Commercial Banks; (iii) Developing Micro-Finance Institutions; (iv) Re-establish Development Bank and link it with Community Banking; (v) Strengthen Non-Bank Financial Institutions
- Capacitating Bank of Sierra Leone
- Strengthen regulation and supervisory role of the Central Bank in terms of staff competency, systems, technology
- Improve and sustain risk-based supervision of commercial banks
- Review the current Banking Act
- Rationalise remittances and develop a framework for using remittances for development purposes
- Develop the ICT infrastructure
- Strengthen the payment systems through improving Information, Communications and Technology
- Develop a manpower development plan based on skill gaps analysis and strengthen capacity of the bank, particularly in areas of research, banking supervision, Management Information System and internal audit
- Develop policy and regulation to allow commercial banks to lend in foreign currency.
- Strengthening Commercial Banking
- Review policies and laws relating to commercial banking supervision to make them competitive and in line with international best practices
- Provide support to government-owned commercial banks to make them competitive
- Strengthen Association of Commercial Banks
- Develop the Code of Ethics for the banking industry
- Expanding Micro-Finance Opportunities to Potential Entrepreneurs
- Review policies and laws relating to micro-finance operations in Sierra Leone
- Strengthen Micro-Finance Institutions in terms of lending to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) and agriculture
- Design and implement a credit guarantee scheme that will not impose a burden on government or the commercial banks for lending to SMEs and agriculture.
- Re-establish Development Bank and Strengthen Commercial Banking
- Re-establish National Development Bank with private sector participation
- Delink community banks from the central bank and link them with the Development Bank
- Strengthen Non-Bank Financial Institutions
- Conduct a comprehensive institutional review of NASSIT
- Review the NASSIT ACT
- Develop a framework for regulation and supervision of the investment arm of NASSIT
- Review the Insurance Act 2000
- Strengthen the Sierra Leone Insurance Commission (SLICOM) and Sierra Leone Insurance Association (SLIA)
- Improve on insurance supervision and regulations
- Strengthen the capital market, notably the stock exchange and discount houses
- Develop policies and procedures for issuing long-term government debt
- Improving Training
- Revise curriculum for banking training in line with international standards
- Establish a national school of banking and finance
- Organise a yearly conference on the financial sector
- Developing the Agricultural Sector
Agriculture is the mainstay of Sierra Leone’s economy. It contributes almost half of the country’s GDP, employs at least 60% of the population and contributes to foreign exchange. Food crops, notably rice and cassava, and cash crops, mainly cocoa, coffee and oil palm are grown in Sierra Leone. Agriculture remains the engine of economic growth and development in Sierra Leone because it substantially impacts all other sectors of the economy. Sierra Leone is blessed with a favourable agricultural environment comprising of vast lands, various agro-ecologies, rich agro-biodiversity, abundant rainfall and favourable year round temperatures, as well as several rivers with huge irrigation potential that could support the production of enough food to meet local consumption demands and much more for export.
Although the sector is important and large, it is characterised by small scale subsistence farming and is plagued with various biophysical and socio-economic constraints that continue to limit food production and the achievement of food self-sufficiency. Rice and cassava are two major food crops grown and consumed in Sierra Leone. Yet, the country is not sufficient in rice and cassava production. Sierra Leone continues to be a net importer of rice. Recent estimates put total import of rice at US$150 million out of US$540 million representing 27.7% of total import bills. The Budget Statement 2018 estimated rice import at US$108 million for the first half of 2017. For 2017, this figure is projected to be at least US$200 million.
According to the 2015 Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis study conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and AgricultureOrganisation (FAO), 49.8% of households were food insecure in 2015 compared to 45% in 2010. That is, they consume limited or insufficient food to maintain a healthy and active life. Global Hunger Index 2017 ranks Sierra Leone as the third hungriest country in the world with percentage of population that is undernourished estimated at 38.5% compared to 28.6% in Guinea and 16.2% in Ghana. Between 2007 and 2017, 10 years of APC administration, food prices have quadrupled. Price of 50 Kg bag of imported rice, for example, rose from Le 60,000 to Le 250,000.
Budgetary allocations to agriculture was 4.1% in 2017 which was far less than 10% target under the Maputo Declaration. Per capita public spending is barely US$8.6 compared to US$ 33.9 in Ghana and US$19.3 in Togo.
The major problems in the agricultural sector and the fight against hunger include the absence of a robust food security policy, limited access to finance to enable farmers acquire farm inputs such as improved seeds and technology, poor management of agricultural land, limited value addition to farm products, poor roads, limited market information, limited human capacity, inadequate research, low investment in agriculture and recently, the use of land for biofuel instead of food production.
The APC government’s National Sustainable Agricultural Development Plan (NSADP) was developed without any reference to the nationally approved Agricultural Policy document. The result has been an unrealistic and inappropriate agricultural plan that has been haphazardly implemented with no positive impact.
The problems hampering the drive towards increased food production and food security are not adequately addressed by the APC government. Although the APC claimed to have imported 300 tractors, we continue to import rice. The tractorisation programme has failed because of the imbalance in the distribution of the tractors and the non-payment for them. Not more than 40% of the money invested in them has been recovered. Most of the Agricultural Business Centres (ABCs) are mere white elephants. Rural roads have been abandoned for a few urban roads and agricultural extension workers are inadequate and under-resourced.
In the New Direction, the overall goal of our agricultural policy is sustainable and diversified production of food, including crops and animals, on a scale sufficient enough to feed the growing population as well as providing gainful employment while maintaining the natural resource base. Priority actions will focus on (i) increasing investment in agriculture (ii) increasing food crop production (iii) increasing cash crop production (iv) increasing livestock production (v) improving irrigation water management (vi) improving land management and (vii) improving governance and research.
- Increasing investment in agriculture
- Increase budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector to 10% in line with the Maputo Accord.
- Promote domestic financing of schemes that would compel persons seeking political office at ministerial and parliamentary levels to invest in agriculture
- Work with all mining firms to invest into agriculture, particularly, in support of land owners in their new locations as part of their resettlement plans
- Encourage local banks through various incentives to lend to the private sector for agricultural purposes
- Revisitthe policy and legal framework on land tenure to make agriculture attractive to foreign investors and at the same time protect the interest of land owners
- Increasing Food Crop Production
- Improve the seed bank system through rejuvenating the seed multiplication centres to attract reliable private sector players in seed multiplication and linking appropriate farm enterprises and the Agricultural Business Centres with seed companies for the production and distribution of certified seeds.
- Develop and implement mechanized commercial farming to transform the traditional subsistence agricultural sector.
- Diversify crops production through introduction of non-traditional crops
- Review the present input and output market system to offer farmers and stakeholders along the value chain an opportunity to assess the prevailing input market environment vis-à-vis constraints and potentials for future development purpose
- Review the legal, regulatory and policy framework guiding the importation, distribution and use of farm inputs
- Provide duty free support, concessions to local industries engaged in the fabrication of farm tools and supply for other farm inputs
- Put mechanisms in place for public and private partnership in tractor management
- Provide and adopt appropriate varieties, coupled with efficient use of water, nutrients and technology to increase productivity in rice and cassava
- Promote the safe use of organic and inorganic fertilisers
- Rehabilitate feeder roads linking farming communities to markets
- Increasing cash crop production
- Adopt the use of improved varieties of cocoa, coffee, cashew, oil palm and non-traditional cash crops
- Facilitate the establishment of cash crop cooperatives and provide training in processing of cash crop to become competitive for export
- Upgrade the capacity of Standard Bureau to effectively monitor quality of cash crops
- Provide support for rehabilitation of existing plantations and establishment of new ones
- Increasing Livestock Production
- Revive livestock research stations, notably the Teko Livestock Research Centre and the Musaia Livestock Station
- Re-establish veterinary clinics in all districts
- Support Njala University and proven poultry farmers to establish and expand on hatcheries that will ensure the supply of adequate day old chicks to meet the growing demand in the country
- Promote the production of maize to provide basic feed inputs and
- Establish pilot intensive cattle production areas in appropriate agro-ecologies in the country to ensure amicable coexistence between cattle rearers and farmers
- Provide training at tertiary level in animal health
- Establish livestock clinics in all districts and build capacity of middle level manpower in providing health care to animals
- Improving Water Management
- Develop productive In-land Valley Swamps (IVS) and water ways to increase productivity through the invigoration of Land and Water Development Division (LWDD) of the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS)
- Increase, develop and rationalize the water resources and agro climatological activities in relation to agricultural development and the agro ecological areas of the country
- Develop a national soil conservation and management programme geared towards controlling land degradation
- Develop a national irrigation and drainage programme geared towards reducing dependence on rain-fed agriculture and rationally develop and use agricultural water to take advantage of agro-climatic conditions
- Improving Land Management
- Improve mechanisms of land leases for bio-fuel for the benefit of food production with less or no social conflict
- Develop clear policies and laws relating to leasing of land
- Make public all land agreements
- Define and implement the regulatory framework and effective enforcement mechanism
- Put in place better environmental management mechanisms
- Improving Governance and Research in the Agricultural Sector
- Develop a robust policy framework and action plan to guide the planning and development of the sector
- Enhance capacity of agricultural stakeholders through the development and implementation of comprehensive Human Resource Development Plan targeting farmers, agricultural workers and agricultural instructors and teachers and establishing links in the education system from formal teaching to professional training.
- Promote agricultural research through the establishment and strengthening of Research institutions
- Strengthen capacity of the Ministry of agriculture at all levels, farm associations and relevant institutions linked to agriculture.
- Re-introduction of co-operatives to improve value addition and marketing of food crops, cash crops and livestock products from the rural communities to national level.
2.5 Improving the Management of Mineral Resources
Sierra Leone has good potential for additional discoveries of mineral deposits. Currently, major minerals include rutile, bauxite, diamond, iron ore and gold. Direct and indirect employment in large-scale mines engage over 30,000 people, with an estimated 300,000 people (including dependents and extended families) deriving their livelihoods from these mines. The mining sector contributes about 24% to GDP and over 80% to export earnings. However, it contributes well below its potential,on average of 15% of total revenue.
The contribution of the mining sector to domestic exports fluctuated between 2007 and 2016 due to changes in international commodity prices. It stood at 89.5% in 2007, increased to 94.5% largely as a result of the iron ore boom and dropped to 75.9% in 2016 when production resumed after iron ore companies went into administration in 2014 and 2015. Between 2013 and 2016, iron ore production dropped by about 51.5% compared to 10% decline in diamond production. In contrast, the production of rutile increased by 28.9% during the same period.
In 2007, diamonds accounted for the lion share of mineral exports followed by rutile. The share of diamond exports was 65.4% of total mineral exports and that of rutile was 17.6%. In 2013, iron ore was the most significant export earner representing 56.8% of total mineral exports. As a consequence of the closure of the mines between 2014 and 2015, the situation reversed. In 2016, diamonds accounted for 33.8% of total export earnings compared to 30.3% for iron ore and 22.8% of rutile.
Corruption in the mining industry has been institutionalized. A recent report by a civil society organization entitled“Not Sharing the Loot” states that in 2010, the mining industry accounted for 60% ($200 million) of the country’s exports and 8% ($24 million) of government revenue. Government revenue from mining accounted for only 1.1% of GDP. Companies paid the government a mere 2.2% of the export value of minerals as tax; only Sierra Rutile paid corporate tax, the others reported heavy losses and so paid no tax at all. As a result, the government raised only $2.4 million from the mining sector or 10% of its total revenue from the sector. Companies paid considerably lower than the stipulated 37.5% corporation tax in the Income Tax Act or the general company tax rate of 30%. They also had a considerable number of waivers or reduction in other fiscal imposts.
The mining sector suffers from extreme lack of transparency. There is a lack of information at all levels which creates mistrust and ignorance about the financial position or intentions of government and companies.
The institutional capacity of this sector, like most other sectors, is very low coupled with appointmentsbased on political patronage instead of technical competence. Recruitment into the National Minerals Agency and Geological Surveys is riddled with corruption and nepotism impacting negatively on service delivery. There is no capacity building in the lower cadre of workers (the mines wardens).The Ministry lacks adequate and trained personnel and the few that are in service do not enjoy good conditions of service with some going for months without wages. All this fuels the potential for corruption to prevail.
The 2009 Mines and Minerals Act was enacted to regulate the industry. There are however huge gaps which serve as disincentives to serious investors. Neither the establishment of the National Minerals Agency nor the Kimberley Process of Certification have improved transparency in the industry. Local authorities who have attempted to ask questions like the Mayor of Koidu have been subjected to summary dismissal without due process.
These obstacles in the mining regulations create huge uncertainties among companies and mining communities as to who is really responsible and for what. Unpredictability in the investment environment has also hindered serious investors from having long-term forward planning.
There is a dearth of adequate data about the mineral resources of Sierra Leone. The government is essentially at the mercy of companies which report their discoveries with little or no proper monitoring and evaluation.
In the New Direction, the new SLPP will provide efficient political and economic management of our natural and mineral resources. The SLPP administration will prioritise the following:
- Review the Mines and Minerals Act 2009 to realign it with the new Mining Policy consistent with international best practices
- Review all contracts to bring them in line with international best practices
- Review the relevant law to allow for the establishment of a Natural Resources Account for all revenues generated from extractives.
- Decentralize the mining revenue collection and utilization in line with the increased national decentralization programme under the New Direction.
- Strengthen the National Minerals Agency (NMA)
- Allocate percentages of revenue from the mining sector to education, health and the general development of mining communities.
- Ensure full transparency in the sector through complying with the EITI standards, make all contracts public, and provide updated and validated information on tax and other contributions from the mining sector to the government
- Require mining companies to increase procurement of goods and services from Sierra Leone to strengthen trickle-down effects from the mining sector
- Require transactions between mining companies and their affiliates to be made upon arms-length terms (including pricing), and requiring such transactions to be accompanied by contemporaneous documentation. The Government should have the right to review the terms of all such transactions
- Discourage advance taxation except under exceptional circumstances. In such cases this will be made public and will be within the framework of the national budget
- Ensure that companies provide meaningful employment for Sierra Leoneans especially in management positions and carry out requisite training.
- Put in place policies and mechanisms to support value additions to our mineral resources with a view to generating jobs and additional income to Sierra Leoneans
- Ensure that all mining companies comply with the local content policy.
- Enforce corporate social responsibility in all mining activities.
2.6 Improving the Management of Oil and Gas Exploration
Oil and gas exploration in Sierra Leone has had a very chequered history. Mobil and Amoco drilled the first two exploration wells in 1984 and 1985 respectively. The unfavorable oil and gas geopolitics of the late 1980s and early 1990s (culminating into the Gulf War) resulted in low international demand and prices for crude oil. This situation led to the strategic abandonment of high risk projects in new oil and gas frontiers. In 2003, the government of Sierra Leone acquired its first 2D seismic data on the hydrocarbon potential of the nation.The 2D seismic data triggered the first oil block bidding round in 2003. AGIP, REPSOL, ANADARKO, and ORANTO PLC obtained the first exploration licenses.
Following the record high demand for and prices of crude oil from 2006 to 2008, coupled with the discovery of huge reserves of sweet-light oil in Ghana, international oil and gas companies expressed renewed interests in the geology of the Gulf of Guinea. From 2009 to 2013, Sierra Leone drilled three successful exploration wells and one highly prospective appraisal well. By 2015, due to undisclosed reasons, all operating oil and gas companies in Sierra Leone, except African Petroleum, had backed out of their contractual commitments and abandoned their operations.
In 2009, Anadarko, an American oil and gas company, drilled Venus-1 well to a depth of over 2000m and discovered high quality reservoir sands that contained high grade sweet–light oil. A saturated oil and gas-condensate reservoir of 45 net feet pay zone was geophysically tested for fluid and reservoir petro-physical properties. All tests indicated the presence of good API quality of crude oil flowing in excellently porous and permeable reservoir sands. Anadarko appraised its Mercury-1A well in 2011 and discovered 114 net oil pay zone. News of this discovery excited the international oil and gas market of the geological potential of the Sierra Leone – Liberian basin.
Talisman, a Canadian company, partnered with Lukoil Overseas to drill Djembe-1X exploration well in block 10B in the Sulima offshore terrain. The petro-physical properties of the reservoir indicated uniform flow of high grade reservoir fluid contained in high pressure – high temperature reservoirs – suggesting the presence of huge hydrocarbon gas. This discovery was ensued by Lukoil’s 73 net meters pay zone find made on its Savannah-1X well. The magnitude of the pay zone and the dynamic characteristics of the reservoir discovered provided proofs of the presence of a huge geological oil and gas reserve in the Sierra Leone – Liberian basin.
There are presently no oil and gas exploration activities in Sierra Leone. All oil companies, except African Petroleum, left Sierra Leone citing logistic and technical difficulties. Unlike Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea have made significant progress in exploration and development – enhancing both nations to the status of oil and gas field development. Liberia is expected to produce its first crude oil by 2020.
There is a confluence of factors that affect the growth of oil and gas exploration and production in every nation. Principal among them are demand and supply, prices, political threat and corruption, petroleum fiscal regime, remoteness of the environment, availability of required technology and expertise.
The rapid transitioning from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy alternatives has become not only a political and environmental imperative but also an economic one. With increasing supply and decreasing demand for fossil fuel, oil and gas companies are re-designing their exploration strategy with a focus on cost optimization and recoverability. Therefore, low potential oil and gas nations (with limited geological information) which construct extraneous cost checkpoints for oil and gas companies can hardly win in this business. In view of this, the Government of Sierra Leone has not been able to provide theinvestment climate needed to leverage exploration costs. Oil and gas investments are huge. Therefore, oil and gas companies are more willing to invest in less corrupt and more stable political environments. The oil and gas investment climate in Sierra Leone has not been friendly to oil and gas companies. MDAs and Government Ministries, including the Office of the President, have been excessively demanding thereby frustrating companies and increasing their cost of exploration. Presently, the Government determines who gets oil block licenses without due diligence on the financial and technical competence of companies and those who are given licenseshold them without the requisite technical or financial expertise. Instead political interests predominate. This hassignificantly frustrated international partnership and stifled growth in exploration.
The petroleum fiscal regime of Sierra Leone is promising. It is largely speculative and has not been able to create a competitive and efficient business landscape that promises fair and equitable returns on investment. The fiscal system is royalty based – meaning the government bears no physical percent of carried interests on any oil block. Its returns come wholly from taxes, Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR)and licensefees.
Oil and gas operations utilise well-developed infrastructures such as roads for the hauling of heavy pipes and equipment, spacious seaports for offshore supply vessels, airport spaces for offshore helicopters and industrial yards for equipment storage. Poor infrastructure affects the operations of oil and gas companies and offers them the opportunity to downgrade oil reserves commerciality.
Sierra Leone oil reservoirs are situated in deep water environments with an average water depth of about 2,500 meters. Expensive and cutting edge technology with high technical expertise are required to enhance the oil and gas capabilities of Sierra Leone. Today, the Department of Oil and Gas in Sierra Leone is ill-capacitated with a staff that has no business or field experience to negotiate good petroleum sharing agreements and maximize technical approaches toward the development of the industry.
The existing Petroleum Sharing Agreement (PSA) undermines exploration investment confidence. It is laden with production sharing conditions that are not germane to exploration. This has stifled the growth of the industry because investors are hesitant to bear all the risks involved in exploration ventures. The fiscal regime is likewise no less prohibitive.
Corruption, political inference, unfair oil blocks bidding, global demand and supply, lack of requisite expertise and technology have been the main stumbling blocks in the development of an industry that is highly capital intensive. The APC government has staffed the Petroleum Directorate along regional and ethnic lines with incompetent personnel that have failed to meet the high technical demands of the industry.
The New Direction will have as its overall objective the use of oil and gas development to generate wealth without compromising environmental protection and sustainability. Accordingly, the focus will be (i) Oil and Gas Governance; (ii) Petroleum Fiscal Regime and (iii) Capacity Building
- Oil and Gas Governance
- Design a more appropriate petroleum policy taking account of the national context in the expectation of achieving rapid results and better practice, allowing incremental improvements to governance
- Review policies and laws on oil and gas to be guided by a clear vision for the development of the country and a strategic view of how the petroleum sector will deliver that vision
- Invest in geological data acquisition and strengthen pre-qualification criteria and ensure transparency to attract the best oil and gas companies
- Simplify both negotiations and tax structures to mitigate knowledge asymmetries with oil companies in order to reap early revenues and maximize long-term national benefits
- Government and the oil sector will engage and share information with concerned communities to manage local expectations regarding the sector and build trust
- Government will build capabilities for the meaningful participation of national organizations in oil and gas resource development
- Government will enforce the implementation of local content laws by working with oil companies to increase the participation of Sierra Leoneans and their competent businesses in the oil sector.
- Petroleum Fiscal Regime
- Enact policies that will extend to ensure promotion, attraction and facilitation of foreign oil and gas investments through a competent and independent petroleum directorate
- The government will assert its commitment in providing lucrative fiscal incentives for foreign oil and gas companies. It will also embrace policies to assist investors with corporate and business formalization processes
- Expedite investment approval processes and acquisition of all necessary licenses, permits and authorization within acceptable timeframes
- Re-evaluate oil block data and dimensions to enable the best companies to have the most prospective blocks, guarantee a supportive and favorable legal framework that promises effective facilitation, protection and guaranteed foreign investments rights
- The fiscal regime will require companies to meet their end of grace time drilling in order to maintain their licenses. Defaulting on drilling obligatory wells will require a complete drilling programme from the concerned company to ensure that it meetsits contract obligations and accelerates development and production.
- The new policy will award licenses to companies who have proven track records of finance and technical performance.
- Capacity Building
- Restructure the Petroleum Directorate by recruiting trained and qualified Sierra Leoneans without reference to their ethnic or regional origin
- Regular performance assessment will be conducted to maintain competence and improve output
- Through Corporate Social Responsibility schemes, the government will work with companies to train and employ Sierra Leonean women into the diverse pool of specialties in the sector
- Strengthen and upgrade the Petroleum Directorate to a Commission to report directly to the President and will be solely responsible for the affairs of oil and gas in Sierra Leone.
- Improving Management of Marine Resources
The marine fisheries of Sierra Leone comprises artisanal fishery in estuaries and inshore waters and industrial fishery operating within the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The fisheries sector is a vital componentof the economy of Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone’s fisheries are worth over US$100 million annually with a total biomass value of about US$500 million It provides direct employment to some 200,000 persons and indirect employment to some 600,000 persons (almost 10 percent of the population) along coastlines in Freetown, Kambia, Port Loko, Moyamba and Pujehun. More specifically, in coastal areas an estimated 25 percent of the male population of working age is reported to be involved in part-time fishing. The sector contributes about 9.4 percent to the country’s GDP.
In the decades after independence, with the increased demand for high-value fish species in the international markets, fish harvests increased exponentially between the 1960s and 1980s to a peak of 150,000 metric tons in 1989 for the industrial fisheries. By the early 1990s, available annual catch data from the industrial fisheries suggest a significant decline from a peak of 150,000 metric tons to barely 15,000 tons. This situation has continued to deteriorate and the average annual catch data for industrial fisheries is currently fluctuating between 13,000 to 15,000 tons. Unlike the industrial fisheries, the small-scale fisheries experienced a significant surge in catch landings from a level between 40,000 to 500,000 tons during the 1980s and 1990s to a total of roughly 120,000 tons in 2006. In recent times, with more entrants into the fisheries sector due to the huge exodus of people from the interior to the coastal areas, the trend of the small-scale catch has declined considerably.
An International Symposium on Fisheries Crime held recently in Vienna, Austria, on 25 September 2017, has revealed the impact that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is having on the African economies. The annual revenue loss caused by illegal fishing to Sierra Leone is estimated to be in the region of US$29 million and to the West African region as a whole the loss is put at a staggering US$1.3 billion; money crucially needed to fund social services, health and education. The main culprits of such illegal fishing include foreign fleets whose illegal activities within the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the affected countries also include tax evasion, under-reporting and overfishing that degrades the marine environment and takes livelihood away from the local fishing communities.
Standalone Government actionhas proven inadequate and ineffective to curb this menace making it clear that a lot more concerted government action is required. This points to the need for collective regional initiatives especially as illegal fishing is invariably intertwined with international trade in narcotics and human trafficking. We recognize here the imperative for weaving an intricate web of national, regional and international effort of co-ordination, collaboration and regulation among states under the aegis of bodies like the MRU and ECOWAS if the IUU fishing activities are to be effectively curbed in West Africa. All too often these illegal activities involve wealthy cartels operating in highly sophisticated ways and with powerful connections thatfacilitate the movement of their contrabands across international boundaries.
Inland fisheries similarly plays a pivotal role in providing cheap protein for the population in the interior as well as income for the fishermen, processors and traders. In terms of fish production, it has great potential, which the Government could exploit by providing support to make it more economically viable and environmentally sustainable.
In the case of aquaculture, the untapped potential is immense because of the suitable natural environment and if well-developed could become a main source of income and food as well. The Government, with the support from the FAO and other international agencies, has made some strides in this regard particularly with regard to the Tilapia and Catfish species. However, environmentally friendly commercial fish farming is still in its rudimentary stage and the enabling environment is inadequate: there is low capacity from the hatchery facilities for quality fingerlings to feed supply and farming equipment and technology. There are also no functioning research centers to promote transfer of modern technologies and no demonstration farms from which farmers can benefit. It is therefore vital for the Government to invest in these areas.
The overall policy objective of the New Direction isto create a profitable fisheries sector that contributes significantly to socio-economic development through sustainable management and utilization of fisheries resources while also conserving the environment. The SLPP government will focus on (i) Good Governance and Sustainable Management of the Fisheries; (ii) Reduction of illegal fishing (iii) Improved handling of fish and fisheries products; and (iv) Aquaculture development.
- Promoting good governance and sustainable management of fisheries
- Strengthen policy and regulatory framework for fish resources by:
- Revising the existing fisheries policy and finalization of the fisheries and aquaculture legislation
- Developing a Strategic Action Plan to implement the policy
- Institutional and management review of the MFMR
- Register all fishing vessels:
- Develop a web-based database of all industrial fishing fleets
- Conduct a survey of all artisanal canoes and conduct systematic registration of the artisanal fleet with markings
- Assess the status of key fish stocks (knowledge on the status of resources):
- Enhance the MFMR data collection system
- Enhance the research institute (IMBO)
- Conduct periodic indirect surveys of key fish stocks (Pelagic and demersal)
- Promote transparency by publicizing all fisheries management information such as the revenues, licence fees, vessels committing infractions, fines paid by vessels, etc.
- Prepare and implement Management Plans that set levels of sustainable exploitation for targeted fisheries and create rights and allocation mechanisms for such fisheries
- Introduce community-led management systems at the community level, transferring management responsibility to the community to manage their adjacent coastal fish resources
- Develop inclusive communication strategies to serve as platforms for publicizing and informing the public about government’s vision and development programmes for the fisheries sector.
- Reduction of illegal fishing
Establish an enabling environment for reducing illegal fishing through regional and international cooperation and collaboration:
- Establish an enabling legal and regulatory environment for combating illegal fishing
- Revitalize the Joint Maritime Committee (JMC)
- Implementing effective and sustainable surveillance systems
- Improve handling of fish and fish products.
- Construction of fish landing site clusters
- Construction of Fish Harbours with solar-powered cold chain facilities
- Construction or rehabilitation of existing landing sites
- Training on basic hygiene practices and sanitary operating procedures
- Rehabilitation of existing laboratories for fish quality and support accreditation to certify fish and fisheries products for export to the EU and other foreign destinations
- Strengthen the capacity of the competent authority to certify fish and fisheries products for export
- Training and demonstration on new smoking and drying technology
- Facilitate the establishment of micro-credit facilities for women engaged in fisheries
- Aquaculture Development
- Develop a policy and regulatory framework for sustainable aquaculture
- Construct pilot hatchery stations to produce fingerlings in pre-determined locations
- Develop a business model and market analyses of Sierra Leone’s capacity in feed production and farming technology
- Identify linkages between wild fisheries and aquaculture, paying special attention to the mangrove area protection and replantation.
- Developing the Tourism Sector
Tourism is one of the key industries driving change in many parts of the world. It generates foreign exchange, facilitates regional and international trade and investment linkages, promoteseconomic growth and improves livelihoods. Sierra Leone has high potentials for tourism development. It is endowed with pristine and high quality beaches stretching over 350 km, hills and rich biodiversity and interesting wildlife, pleasant weather during peak season, rich history of slavery and freedom of slaves, navigable river for water-based exploration, unique ethnic cultures, low cost of locally available goods and services, relatively high security and social capital. Additionally, it has 18 national heritage sites linked to Sierra Leone’s rich history in the slave trade and as home for returning slaves. Sierra Leone is only 3 hours to Lagos, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous city, 8 hours from the US and 6 hours from Europe. Sierra Leone has 31 protected areas with unique wildlife including pygmy hypos, chimpanzees, jungle elephants and different species of birds.
The potential of Sierra Leone’s tourism remains largely untapped. United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that the Africa region receives only a 3% share in tourism receipts and a 5% share in worldwide arrivals. However, UNWTO forecasts shows that by 2030 the number of international arrivals in Africa is expected to increase by more than double, from 50 million to 134 million, increasing the global market share of Africa to 7%. The Sierra Leone tourism narrative isnot geared towards taking advantage of this forecast especially with the provision of the necessary infrastructural and energy needs to make the industry more attractive to investors.
Tourist arrivals continuously increased from 32,000 in 2007 to 81,000 in 2013 and dropped to 44,000 in 2014 as a result of the Ebola outbreak. It should however be noted that only 10% of the tourist arrivals were for leisure while the remaining 90% were business visitors, mostly officials of NGOs, donors and businessmen interested in mining and agriculture.
The tourism sector remains one of the most underdeveloped and underfunded sectors of the economy. The APC government has transformed the sector into a hospitality business, overlooking the relative value of cultural and heritage sites, as well as biodiversity and wildlife that could contribute substantially to the economy by creating more jobs, strengthening the rural economy and improving local infrastructure. A lack of comprehensive tourism register as well as institutional capacity to identify and publicize tourism products and services, have hindered the sector’s potential to generate additional revenue and rebuild the country’s post-war image.
Other critical challenges include weak policy and regulatory framework for the industry, weak intra and inter-governmental organisations and with the private sector engaged in tourism, limited skilled labour force, low capacity to market regionally and internationally, limited capacity both in terms of human and capital capacity, poor service delivery and limited access to finance, poor infrastructural facilities (water, electricity and emergency health services), unfavourable country image due to the war, Ebola and now growing corruptionand failure to preserve historical sites due to encroachment.
IntheNew Direction, the overall objective is to increase revenue and jobs from tourism and promote the cultural heritage of the country.The specific policy actions will cover (i) Improving the Policy and Legal Environment; (ii) Developing Historic Sites; (iii) Developing the Infrastructure; (iv) Promoting Marketing and Improving International Image; (v) Skills Developmentand (vi) Diversification of Tourism Product
- Improving Policy and Legal Environment
- Review and upgrade all tourism-related laws, regulations and policies to ensure consistency with regional and global best practices
- Develop a master plan for the tourism sector in line with the revised laws and policies
- Establish a Tourism Information Register (TIR)
- Rehabilitating and Develop Historic and Cultural Sites
- Prepare a rehabilitation plan for all strategic historic sites in Sierra Leone
- Establish public-private partnership to manage historic sites
- Developing Infrastructure
- Designate tourist attraction areas and provide them with the needed infrastructure including water, electricity and communications
- Develop tourist infrastructure (such as beach resorts, ecovillages and research camps)
- Facilitate the construction of a toll bridge to link Freetown and Lungi Airport
- Promoting Marketing and Improve the International Image of Sierra Leone
- Develop an improved web portal for tourism promotions
- Participate in international tourist activities
- Collaborate with the Embassies/Missions to showcase the tourist potentials of Sierra Leone to the outside world
- Contract an international PR firm to promote the international image and showcase the tourist potential of Sierra Leone
- Developing Skills in Tourism
- Conduct a Skills Audit of the Tourism Sector
- Prepare a Manpower Development Plan for the Tourism Sector
- Upgrade the existing school for hotel management and tourism in terms of materials, equipment and staffing
- Introduce higher education programmes for tourism
- Promote public-private partnership for tourism training
- Diversifying Tourism Products
- Promote adventure tours such as safaris, jungle tours, mountain trekking
- Support local entrepreneurs to promote tourism based activities linking with rural economy, harvest seasons, wildlife, farming practices, art, culture and religions
- Developing the Manufacturing Sector
The manufacturing sector offers great opportunities to transform the economy of Sierra Leone. .
Presently the manufacturing sector is dominated by informal small and medium-scale enterprises and a few formal consumer goods producing industries producing alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, cement, paint, flour, food juice, textiles and apparel, handicrafts and furniture. The contribution of the manufacturing sector to GDP is very minimal dropping from 2.6% in in 2006 to 1.6% in 2013.
The main challenges in the manufacturing sector are weak infrastructure, unfavourable business environment, limited access to finance, limited skilled workforce and unreliable supply of raw materials. Electricity and water supply is still irregular and unreliable. There are no developed industrial zones provided with needed infrastructure. Ease of doing business is still challenging and Sierra Leone is not competitive even in the Mano River Union. There are limited opportunities for accessing loans from the banks or even from the international financial market. Often we rely on foreign work force for critical labour because our training institutions do not provide the training required for modern manufacturing. Neither can the underdeveloped agricultural sector provide the raw materials required by our local industries.
The overall objective of manufacturing sector is to increase manufacturing sector share of GDP from less than 2% to at least 5% in 5 years. The focus will be on value addition to agricultural products through agro-processing, consumer and intermediate goods and high potential job creating industries. The specific policy actions will focus on (i) improving manufacturing infrastructure; (ii) improving the environment for manufacturing industrialization; (iii) establishing Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and Export Processing Zones (EPZ); (iv) providing finance to local entrepreneurs for manufacturing industrialization; (v) technical skills development; (vi) promoting manufacturing industries producing farm implements, schools materials and medical supplies and (vii) promoting the production of agricultural activities.
- Improving Infrastructure
- Develop reliable, regular, cost effective and sustainable energy sources for manufacturing sector development
- Develop and adapt technology for manufacturing
- Develop transport network linking sources of raw materials and manufacturing zones
- Improving the Environment for Manufacturing Industrialisation
- Review policy and laws to promote local manufacturing
- Improve on the ease of doing business and competitiveness of manufacturing industries.
- Establishing Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and Export Processing Zones (EPZ)
- Identify and plan locations for establishing SEZ and EPZ with environmental protection focus.
- Provide the SEZ and EPZ with all needed infrastructure
- Providing Finance for Local Entrepreneurs for Manufacturing Industrialisation
- Encourage credit institutions including banks to provide credit to entrepreneurs in manufacturing sector, particularly those in agro-processing
- Train nationals in enterprise management
- Technical Skills Development
- Align the curriculum of technical and vocation institutes with the needs of the manufacturing sector
- Provide training materials and equipment for practical training
- Train staff in areas relevant for manufacturing industrialisation
- Develop a national internship and apprenticeship programme in areas relevant for manufacturing industry
- Promoting Manufacturing Industries producing Farm Implements, School Materials and Medical Supplies
- Provide special incentives to industries producing farm implements, school materials and medical supplies
- Promoting Trade Integration to Promote Export
- Actively participate in regional trade initiatives withinthe Mano River Union (MRU) and ECOWAS
- Develop roads infrastructure linking neighbouring countries to Sierra Leone from all border districts
- Supporting the Production of Manufacturing Raw Materials
- Incentivise credit institutions to provide credit to agricultural activities producing raw materials for local manufacturing industries
- Provide support in the forms of improved seedlings, extension services and transportation to farmers.
HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT
Human capital development is both a means and an end in development. Development is about people. No meaningful development can take place in any nation without developing the human capital. Human development is about improving the lives of people and giving them the freedom to choose the decisions that affect their lives. Human capital development covers improving education and developing skills, improving health care, protecting the poor and vulnerable population groups.
- Improving Education and Skills Training
Investing in quality education – primary, secondary, and post-secondary (including technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and university) will help transform Sierra Leone’s natural and mineral resources into sustainable development. Education is the key to individual, community and national development. Education helps lift people out of poverty and creates vast new opportunities to reduce unfair income distribution and increase choices. It creates awareness and helps to sustain democracy and peace.
Sierra Leone had an impressive education system dating back to the pre-colonial days. Since the APC first assumed power in 1968, the quality of education has persistently deteriorated. Overall, only 2 out every 5 adult Sierra Leonean can read or write English. Access to education is low and the quality is poor. Only 13.7% of children between 3 and 5 years are enrolled in pre-primary level. Enrolment rates drop from primary to secondary school. According to the Annual School Census 2016, gross enrolment at the primary level is 130.2%. This indicates that 30.2% of children in primary school are over aged (exceed 11 years old). At the Junior Secondary School, gross enrolment is 65.5% meaning 34.5% of children between 12 and 14 years do not attend school. At the senior secondary school, it was 29.5% meaning 70.5% of children between 15 and 17 are not enrolled in school. Most of the children who are enrolled at the various levels do not complete the required years of schooling. About a quarter of children who enroll in primary school do not attain Class 6 while 35.5% that enroll in Junior Secondary School do not attain JSS 3 and 27.6% enrolled in Senior Secondary School do not attain SSS 3. There are limited number of qualified teachers at all levels. Only 55% of teachers at pre-school level, 42% at primary level, 35% at JSS level and 49% at SSS level are qualified to teach. Number of pupils for any qualified teacher varied from 35 at JSS level, 44 at SSS, 48 at pre-primary and 69 at the primary level.
The most appalling situation of our educational system is the total neglect of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). Government is yet to finalise the National TVET Policy and there is no clarity on which institution actually leads TVET in the country. The curriculum for TVET is not standardised and the National Council for Technical Vocational and other Academic Awards (NCTVA) is faced with serious challenges notably funding, irregularity in the conduct of examinations and the poor perception by students. The Government funded TVET institutions are very few and are restricted to provincial capitals. Most districts lack permanent institutions pursing TVET programmes. In the few instances, TVET is provided by private sectors and short-term vocational training by NGOs.
University education is in dire straits. It is characterized by poor condition of service for lecturers leading to frequent strikes, inadequate and poor infrastructure, inadequate facilities for research, unproductive structural organisations, accountability and increasing politicisation.
The change in the education system from 6-3-3-4 to 6-3-4-4 is challenging. The existing classroom blocks and teachers are not adequate to meet the needs for pupils for additional year of schooling. This change in the educational system has also impacted on teenage pregnancy and school drop-outs among girls who consider the number of years of schooling to be too much.
This poor performance in the sector can be ascribed to the low priority accorded by this Government as reflected in the low budgetary allocation and disbursement. In 2016, only 16.1% of total budget was allocated to education which was less than the Education for All (EFA) target of 20%. Due to the economic challenges, actual disbursements are usually less than the allocated amounts. This low budgetary allocation is manifested in the forms of poor infrastructure including physical facilities and furniture, limited learning and teaching materials, poor school management and supervision, low morale and productivity of teachers, limited focus on early childhood education and limited number of qualified teachers.
For the APC government, education is not a right but a privilege. For the New Direction to succeed, Sierra Leone needs a new education model that priorities free education and primary and secondary school levels, science and technology, skills training and development and social enterprise. The current system remains unsuitable to the development demands of the country in the 21st century. The current education system continues to produce more and more graduates who are unemployed, cannot find relevant jobs, not able to integrate themselves into the labour market and the emerging knowledge-based economy.
This APC Government’s efforts to improve education have largely focused on hunting down ghost teachers. Early childhood education for instance has been slapped on to the back of a new 6-3-4-4 system which now replaces the 6-3-3-4. This has been done without giving due attention to critical challenges of staffing, training and infrastructure. Mere change for the sake of change is never the answer. The education system has been completely politicised. Employment, promotion of teachers and lecturers, even recruitment of students in tertiary institutions and award of grants have been biased in favour of persons perceived to be APC members or supporters.
The primary objective of the New Direction is to increase access to quality pre-primary, primary, secondary, technical and vocational education and training as well as university education that will enable them engage in meaningful productive economic activity. The New Direction education policies will focus will be on education governance and financing, human resource management, teaching, primary and secondary school management and supervision, TVET and university education.
- Education Governance
- Revert from 6-3-4-4 system of education to the 6-3-3-4 with focus on improving learning and teaching and providing for those who cannot pursue university education.
- Implement and fund a new Free Education Programme for primary and secondary levels.
- Enhance the capacity for education planning, management, monitoring and coordination
- Develop a new National Education Policy and Action Plan to translate the New Direction into concrete programmes
- Develop a robust policy and legal framework for Public-Private-Partnership in the education sector.
- Develop a new NGO/donor co-ordination policy that would make them more accountable and integrated into the public education programmes
- Strengthen Education Management and Information System (EMIS) to support informed strategic decision-making, programme development, management and evaluation by providing quality data at all levels at all times
- Develop the capacity of School Inspectorate for effective school monitoring and supervision.
- Build the capacity of School Management Committees (SMC) through regular training and providing incentives for their contribution to school management
- De-politicise the Board of Governors of schools, redefine their roles, and introduce a compulsory reporting requirement for Boards
- Respect and support the autonomy of the National Union of Students (NUSS).
- Education Financing and Management
Whilst the Government will continue to be the principal investor in the education sector, it will also secure support from donors, NGOs and the private sector within a context of a more robust policy and legal framework. Specifically, in the New Direction, the Government will:
- Increase government budgetary allocation and disbursement from less than 15% to 20% of GDP in line with the Education for All (EFA) target
- Develop a new policy and legal framework to attract additional donor and private sector investment in education
- Improve on the co-ordination of all interventions by government, donors including NGOs
- Strengthening the management of all resources allocated to the education sector and effectively track all donor resources to the sector
- Promote social dialogue with relevant stakeholders in the education service delivery including the Sierra Leone Teachers Union
- Improving the conditions of Teachers
In the New Direction, the SLPP will raise the morale and productivity of our teachers. To this end, a Presidential Initiative for teachers will be launched. The Initiative will ensure that matters relating to teachers are treated with utmost importance. Other specific actions include:
- Review the functions and making functional the Teachers Service Commission with a view to creating opportunities for teachers to have a career path
- Develop a special incentive scheme for Science and French teachers as well as teachers in remote areas and those in special needs institutions
- Introduce THE BEST TEACHER award for the most innovative, ingenious and dedicated teachers at national and district levels
- Build additional staff quarters and embarking on long-term housing scheme for teachers
- Provide free university education for three children of every school teacher with at least 10 years’ teaching experience
- Review the status of Community Teachers nationwide
- Increasing the number of Qualified Teacher
- Establish teacher training campuses/colleges in all district capitals
- Expand and improve on distance learning education for teachers
- Provide free tuition for teacher education
- Introduce and expand on teaching of foreign languages, notably French in teacher training colleges
- Increasing Access to Quality Education
- Introduce free quality education from pre-school to senior secondary school
- Introduce free university for students pursuing science and technology courses as well medical disciplines.
- Promote development of child-friendly schools that will be provided with recreational facilities, toilet facilities and safe places in each district.
- Provide sponsorship to students to access higher education through the effective management of the Grants-in-Aid policy and introduce Students Loan Scheme.
- Promote Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) by mainstreaming nursery and kindergarten education into the national education system, training of teachers and encouraging the private sector to participate in providing nursery and kindergarten education.
- Build and support at least one primary school in every administrative section in every district, at least a Junior Secondary in every administrative chiefdom or electoral ward and at least a Senior Secondary School equipped with a science laboratory in every electoral constituency
- Construct student hostels for at least 500 pupils attending different schools in every district headquarter town and support schools with boarding facilities
- Expand and improve school feeding programmes in all pre-schools and primary schools
- Remove the double shift system within 3 years by constructing additional classrooms and schools in populated communities to reduce overcrowding in school.
- Promote Inclusive Education through improving facilities and free education for the physically challenged.
- Provide subsided school bus services in all urban towns
- Establish functional district libraries equipped with computers and promote mobile library services.
- Establish High Schools of Excellence for Science and Technology education in all regions.
- Make French a core subject in Junior and Senior Secondary Schools
- Increasing Access to Functional Adult Literacy Education
- Establish at least one Functional Adult Literacy Centre using existing school facilities in every chiefdom.
- Support special functional literacy programmes for women
- Review the development of a curriculum for adult literacy
- Integrate literacy programmes into agricultural and livelihood programmes.
- Increasing Access to Quality Technical and Vocational Education
- The New Direction believes that training is the foundation for enhancing the country’s competitiveness. SLPP will establish in every district capital one polytechnic that will be fully equipped with modern tools and equipment for technical vocational education and training in areas with high potential for job creation as part of our Skills for Jobs Competitiveness Programme
- Establish technical and vocational centres in all chiefdoms that would provide training in areas relevant for the rural sector such as hand-pump repairs, bicycle, motorcycle (okada) and vehicle repairs, fabrication and maintenance of agricultural tools and equipment
- Review and standardize the curriculum and certification for TVET for government and private service providers
- Develop a national apprenticeship scheme which can provide internship for trainees of TVET institutes and at the same time provide direct training for youth
- Increase budgetary allocation and disbursement for technical and vocational education to improve on the infrastructure, training tools and equipment, human resources development as well as monitoring and supervision of TVET so that degrees and certificates by local TVET institutes are of quality standard and nationally and internationally acceptable
- Adopt a policy for private companies to provide support in the form of infrastructure, modern tools and equipment and specialised training to TVET institutes within and around their areas of operation in line with Local Content Act and as part of Corporate Social Responsibilities
- Grant autonomy and empower District Councils and the private sector to supervise TVET in order to allow central government freedom to focus on governance and policy particularly through implementation of new programmes. These interest groups and stakeholders are better placed to drive TVET at district level.
- Higher Education
- Establish a separate Ministry of Higher Education (covering technical and vocational education, teacher training, and the universities)
- Review all statutes relating to higher education
- Establish a university system that employs its own leadership as chancellors with distinguished and proven records of higher education leadership, significant international clout and contacts (funding and research networks), and who are reform-minded. In the New Direction, the President will no longer be the Chancellor of the Universities.
- Encourage judicious internal resource allocation and management
- Encourage internal initiatives to keep faculties well-compensated, motivated, productive, and accountable
- Upgrade curriculum of tertiary education to match skills acquired to job requirement
- Create the environment for the tertiary institutions to invest in profitable ventures and use profits for developing the University
- Provide incentive schemes to encourage Sierra Leonean writers
- Develop Research and Development in the University
- Introduce entrepreneurial education in the University that will develop and nurture the entrepreneurial mindset to create jobs for themselves and for others even before they complete their university studies.
- Civic Education
- Launch a National Programme on Civic Education
- Develop curriculum and materials for civic education
- Re-introduce Civic Education in schools
- Train civic educators
- Improving Health Care
Good health condition is imperative for increasing productivity in agriculture, improving learning and teaching, child survival and development and reducing maternal mortality, increasing investment and savings. In Sierra Leone today the health situation is deplorable. This was clearly evidenced by how fast the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) spread across all districts in the country in less than six months in 2014, affecting more than 10,000 people and causing over 3,000 deaths including 300 health workers and 12 medical doctors.
World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated life expectancy in 2015 at 50 years compared to 53 in neighbouring Liberia and 59 in Guinea. According to the Demographic and Health Survey (2008), infant mortality rate increased from 89 per 1,000 in 2008 to 92 per 1,000 in 2013 and under-five mortality rose from 140 per 1,000 in 2008 to 156 in 2013. Maternal mortality was 1,165 per 100,000 live birth in 2013 compared to 857 in 2008. WHO even estimated maternal mortality at 1,360 per 100,000 live births and put Sierra Leone least on the child survival league table. Two (2) out of every five (5) maternal deaths is due to teenage pregnancy. Malnutrition in under five children is high with a prevalence of under weight, stunting and wasting. The 2014 Nutrition report reveals that 1 in 3 under-fives are stunted, about three-quarters of children between 6 and 59 months are anaemic and 7 out of every 10 pregnant women are anaemic.
The New Direction particularly notes the rise in teenage pregnancy and its calamitous implication for maternal mortality and the development of our female population. About 15% of our girls have sexual intercourse before 15 years; adolescent pregnancies is among the top 10 countries in the world and about 28% of adolescent women age 15-19 years are already mothers or pregnant and 44% of girls are married before 18 years. About 44% of pregnancies below 20 are lost after 7 months of gestation or babies die within 7 days of life. Teenage pregnancy accounts for 40% of maternal deaths.
This poor and dysfunctional state of the health system is partly blamed on the low public investment in the sector. In 2015, WHO also put per capita government expenditure on health at US$14 compared to US$25 in Guinea and US$16 in Liberia. Government expenditure on health as a percentage of total expenditure has never exceeded the 15% threshold under the Abuja Declaration. It was 11.4% in 2015 and was even less than 10% in 2016. There are currently 1,190 health facilities and less than 200 physicians providing health care for the 7 million population.
The figures above indicate that the Free Health Care launched in 2010 has not created the desired impact. There are still reports of leakages in the distribution of drugs, limited manpower to provide health care and poor incentive for the limited staff. Despite the much trumpeted health strengthening efforts under the Post-Ebola Recovery Strategy, the health condition remains poor. The health sector continues to be plagued by limited public investment and untimely disbursement, weak human resource base, weaknesses in disease prevention, control and surveillance, poor service delivery and poor governance.
At least 25% of the population do not have access to a health facility within 5 mile radius. The few health facilities are ill-equipped, lack adequate drugs and medical supplies and often do not have adequate health workers. The trained and qualified health workers are unequally distributed in favour of Freetown. Due to the poor conditions of service, the trained health workers are not retained in the clinics. Many seek other jobs in the private sector or travel overseas for greener pastures. Laboratory and diagnostics facilities such as scanning or dialysis machine in our hospitals and clinics are very poor. Huge amount is spent on treatment of public officials oversea. Financing health care services and procurement and distribution of drugs are other challenges in the health sector.
The underlying principle of the New Direction in the health sector is that without a healthy population, a well-resourced and functioning national healthcare delivery system, the country will continue to face depressing socio-development indicators and limited economic growth. Health sector significantly impact on all productive sectors of the economy. The New Direction strategic objective in the health sector is to transform the under-resourced, ill-equipped, dysfunctional and inadequate health infrastructure and healthcare delivery system to make it high quality, efficient, reliable, cost-effective, affordable and sustainable capable of responding to epidemics such as cholera, Ebola Virus Disease.
The thrust of the New Direction is increasing access of the population (particularly mothers,children and the elderly) to quality health services in an equitable and efficient manner. The focus will be on (i) health governance; (ii) health financing; (iii) human resource; (iv) free health care; (v) disease prevention and control (vi) service delivery. The New Direction will implement the following:
- Health Governance
- Enhance the capacity for health planning, management, monitoring and co-ordination.
- Develop a new National Health Policy and Action Plan to translate the New Direction into concrete programmes.
- Develop a robust policy and legal framework for Public-Private-Partnership in the health sector.
- Develop a new NGO/donor co-ordination policy that will make them more accountable and integrated into the public health programmes
- Develop and implement a Blood Bank policy that will ensure that blood is available in facilities at critical moments such as surgery and delivery.
- Review laws and policies relating to regulatory bodies such as Medical and Dental Association and make them more functional
- Promote social dialogue with relevant stakeholders in the health sector including but not limited to the Sierra Leone Health Service Workers Union, the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association and the Nurses and Midwives Association
- Strengthen Health Management and Information System (HMIS) to support informed strategic decision-making, programme development, management and evaluation by providing quality data at all levels at all times.
- Health Financing
- Increase budgetary allocation to health and sanitation from its current level of less than 10% to 15% as required by the Abuja Declaration and ensure timely disbursement of allocated resources
- Review and implement the National Health Insurance Scheme to provide universal access to health care and establish a Board to manage it
- Improve on the co-ordination of all interventions by government and donors including NGOs.
- Strengthen the management of all resources allocated to the health sector and effectively track all donor resources to the sector
- Human Resource Management
- Strengthen human resource management making functional the Health Service Commission and developing a comprehensive Human Development Plan that would ensure the immediate absorption of trained health workers in the public service
- Improve on the conditions of health workers for all categories to attract and retain them.
- Develop special incentive scheme for trained medical doctors and those working in remote areas
- Expanding and Improving Free Health Care Management
- Expand coverage for free health care to cover not only children under five years, pregnant women and lactating mothers but to include all school going children
- Legislate the free health care programme
- Establish and strengthen national, district and community-based monitoring of free health care drugs and services
- Strengthen the drug distribution system
- Disease Prevention, Control and Surveillance
- Improve waste management in growing urban communities through
- re-introducing special cleaning days
- strengthening and expanding coverage of public-private partnership in garbage collection
- introducing recycling and incinerator facilities
- promoting waste to energy project
- re-introduce sanitary inspectors under the supervision of the local councils
- Intensify campaigns against diseases and promote hygienic practices
- Scale up interventions for the prevention and management of both communicable and non-communicable diseases
- Develop diagnostics and treatment facilities that can provide quality health care service at affordable cost and save the much needed foreign exchange usually spent on people for treatment overseas through
- Equipping laboratory facilities in all district hospitals with modern equipment and materials for testing and x-ray facilities
- Provide modern equipment including scanning and dialysis machines, CD4 count machines in all regional hospitals that will diagnose illness we usually pay for overseas
- Scale up and sustain delivery of maternal and child immunisation programmes
- Service Delivery
- Increase the number of health facilities to ensure that every citizen can access health facility within 3 mile radius
- Ensure that every facility has the minimum number of technical staff as required by the Ministry of Health
- Review and upgrade the training curriculum in existing health institutions for all levels of training to provide care services for existing ailments
- Develop the infrastructure and provide trained tutors to the health training institutions
- Introduce a National Ambulance Service through public-private partnerships
- Establish blood transfusion units in all district hospitals and ensure regular and adequate supply of blood in health facilities, particularly during birth.
- Review policies and strengthen systems and scale up interventions to address maternal and child malnutrition.
- Introduce a National Tele-medicine Programme to deliver health education and care services to all.
- Improve on the procurement, storage and distribution of drugs and supplies to ensure drug availability in health facilities at all times.
- Launch a flagship programme for sexual and reproductive health for adolescents to reduce teenage pregnancy and the alarming maternal mortality
- Introduce public-private partnership in health facility management and health care service delivery in public hospitals and Peripheral Health Units
- Establish modern Infectious and Tropical Disease Control Centres in Freetown and in the regional capitals.
- Develop Mental Health Treatment and Care Facilities in Freetown and build new facilities in the provinces.
3.3 Empowering our Youth, Women and the Disadvantaged
Development is about people and by the people. The number one priority of the New Direction government will be to develop the human capital of the country. In the New Direction, the SLPP will consider human development as both a means and an end to the development process. This will require investing in youth, women, children and the disadvantaged groups as well increase the productivity of our workers and improving the working environment and conditions.
3.3.1 Empowering our Youth
Sierra Leone’s population is mostly youthful. Youth (persons 15-35 years) account for about 33% of the country’s population and represent about 63% of the economically active population of which 67% are unemployed. Our youth are untrained and lack the skills required in the job market. The rural youth who are mostly farmers face serious challenges ranging from inputs, financing and technology. The urban youth comprising early school leavers and illiterate youth are mostly engaged in artisan and small-scale business activities. Like their rural counterparts, the main challenge facing them is the lack of capital and employment opportunities. Graduate unemployment is also on the increase. A large number of our graduates from the universities and other tertiary institutions cannot find jobs because of low level investment in job creation and the mismatch between areas of study and job requirements.
Music and performing arts provide jobs for thousands of Sierra Leonean youth, particularly the early school leavers.
Despite the loud pronouncements by the President on youth, empowerment has been a mere cliché. The APC has reduced youth empowerment to the establishment of National Youth Commission and appointment of a few youth in public office. Instead of enhancing youth capability for employment, the APC has made them garbage collectors in Freetown and other urban towns. The real challenge now confronting us is unemployed and underemployed youth; a phenomenon which started as a little tremor is now a full-blown youthquake posing a serious threat to national stability if future prospects for education and training and productive and gainful employment are not assured. Courageous and ambitious reforms to effectively tackle this growing problem, accompanied by significant investments, are as inescapable as they are unavoidable.
Construction and mining companies create casual and low paid jobs. Youth do not benefit from sustained and high paid jobs because they are generally unskilled. The APC Government has done very little to tackle the serious problem of graduate unemployment. Youth have coped through resorting to thieving, commercial sexual activities, drug abuse and relying on hand-outs from politicians.
Despite its huge potential to create jobs, the APC government has done very little to promote music and the performing arts. Overall, the policy and legal environment is weak. APC government legislated the piracy law but failed to put in place the necessary mechanisms for enforcement. Piracy is still very rampant as the copyrights laws are not enforced and the infrastructure is not attractive to investors. The national dance troupe which used to be the cultural ambassadors of our nation has been rendered dysfunctional largely as a result of their eviction from the Aberdeen Cultural Village. There are limited studios for music and film production and no auditorium for musical shows and screening of films. The APC has stifled creativity through censor and political interference. Low private investment in music and the performing arts is due to a combination of factors including the weak policy and legal environment, particularly the seditious libel law. In addition, training in music and the performing arts is not done by most schools and colleges
There has been a dramatic decline in sports over the past decade. The critical challenge facing sports development include weak policy and legal environment, perennial crisis in the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) largely as a result of political interference, no organised national league for over 5 years now, no inter-football and athletics competition and virtual elimination of physical education in schools. Consequently, Sierra Leone has not qualified for major international sporting competition in recent times. Additionally, there are limited standard stadium and community fields for football and other sporting activities
Overcoming youth unemployment will be at the centre of our fight against poverty and our efforts to consolidate peace. In the New Direction, the youth problem will not only receive our topmost priority, but will also be viewed as a human development and security challenge. It is our view that stimulating job creation requires a holistic approach. Our approach will be integrated and coherent. The priority will be:(i) Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET); (ii) National Youth Scheme;(iii) Economic Empowerment; (iv) Sports; (v) Music and Performing Arts; (vi) Public Works and (vii) Agriculture. Allied to these is that everything will be done to improve the competitiveness of the economy and create the enabling environment for the private sector to invest in the country and participate fully in its development.
- Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)
The objective of TVET is to provide technical skills to youth in areas relevant for the job market as prescribed under the section on education and training.
- National Youth Scheme
- Review the current design of the National Youth Service and support its implementation
- Promote internships to enhance the capacities of graduates to enable them compete effectively for jobs in the labour market
- Promote public-private partnership in the redesign and implementation of the scheme
- Economic Empowerment
- Establish a special Youth Empowerment Fund to support youth engaged in small and medium scale entrepreneurial ventures.
- Promote youth engagement in agriculture through the provision of direct support in the form of finance, market information, technology and technical advice to youth (including agricultural graduates) to engage in commercial agriculture and agro-processing activities.
- Public Works
In the New Direction, the SLPP Government will increase investment in housing and public works to create jobs for youth through:
- Train youths in the use of local materials and the use of appropriate technology for housing construction
- Design and implement a national programme for housing and urban renewal programme in all local councils for the improvement of roads, drainages, bridges, general sanitation and poor environmental management for job creation
- Music and Performing Arts
- Review and enforce the copyright laws.
- Review policies and establish standards for promotion of music and performing arts.
- Establish institutions and introduce training at vocational and university level in music, film and video production.
- Establish an Arts Gallery and Theatre for Performing Arts in all regional capitals.
- Promote Sierra Leonean music and musicians nationally and internationally and maintain good business ethics in the industry.
- Re-establish and develop cultural village.
In the New Direction, the SLPP government will:
- Review the policy and legal environment for sports development
- Allocate a minimum of $20 million equivalent to Le 150 billion from the budget to support sporting activities, in particular football, athletics, cricket, volley ball and basketball.
- Establish a Sports Development Fund that will be financed from various sources, including corporate establishments and international sporting organizations and Government
- Develop and implement a comprehensive capacity building programme for all sporting disciplines
- Reactivate school and community sporting activities with a view to identifying and developing talents for national and international competitions
- Recommence national competition for all sporting activities
- Establish sports academies and provide facilities for sports development and recreation around the country
- Develop the administrative, technical and support services for sports.
- Empowering our Women
Women account for about 51% of the population. The economic, social, cultural and political status of women in society has been identified as a major determinant of the poverty status of a country. Recognition of women’s roles and their empowerment is critical to poverty reduction at the household level and to the overall development of the nation.
Women face major challenges in their communities, in accessing justice, social and economic opportunities and seeking overall advancement. Specifically, the challenges of women include (a) gender-based violence, (b) barriers to women’s economic empowerment, especially in terms of access to markets, training, finance, infrastructure, technology, education, counseling and entrepreneurship development, (c) exploitative or hazardous forms of the livelihood of poor, unskilled women and girls, especially commercial sex workers, (d) inadequate sensitisation and education on gender and development issues and (e) low political participation as a result of socio-cultural, educational, legal and policy environment and economic factors.
Despite the importance of gender, there is low expertise in the field of gender in the country and lack of appropriate gender disaggregated data for planning and monitoring. In addition, gender is perceived as a welfare issue instead of an economic empowerment issue. There is also need to domesticate and implement international instruments in support of gender empowerment.
The last SLPP government made efforts to enact laws and develop policies for the empowerment and development of women. Some of these were the Domestic Violence Act (2005); the Devolution of Estate Act (2007) and the Customary Marriage and Divorce Act (2007). In addition, two gender policies: the Gender Mainstreaming Policy and the Policy for the Advancement of Women were developed. Little has been achieved in terms of the implementation of these laws and policies. The current APC Government lacks the political will to support their effective implementation.
Despite several promises made by the current President to grant a 30% quota to women in elective and appointment positions, this government has failed to pass into law the 30% Quota Bill which would have created the framework for increased female participation in politics.
In the New Direction, we will promote gender equality, equity, empowerment, and the protection of the rights of women either as mainstreamed interventions, or as stand-alone initiatives. Our specific actions will be to:
- Provide training and educational opportunities for our women
- Establish a Women’s Development Fund to support female entrepreneurs
- Promote women in agriculture through direct support to them for large scale farming and agro-processing activities; providing market information about local and export markets and facilitate the exporting of farm products; providing improved facilities for fish processing and poultry, and promoting female access to land and other strategic resources
- Enhance female access to modern energy by investing in rural electrification, clean cooking fuel and household energy needs.
- Make amendments to the procurement laws that would give preferential treatment to performing female contractors
- Provide support for women’s led organization in rural areas to participate in economic and political activities.
- Provide free education to women pursuing sciences, engineering and medical disciplines at university.
- Establish a National Commission for Gender Affairs to develop, co-ordinate, monitor and support the implementation of gender laws and policies
- Improve expertise in the field of gender by supporting training programmes for gender in institutions
- Domesticate and implement national and international instruments in support of women empowerment.
- Increase the chances of women in politics through:
- Amendment of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone with a view to increasing the chances of women to participate in politics.
- Make mandatory for all political parties to enact gender policies that will specify among other things a threshold for women in executive positions and local councils and parliamentary positions.
- Review and enact the minimum 30% Quota Bill which creates the chance for women to hold 30% of positions in elective and appointive positions.
- Provide training and funding for female candidates for public elections.
3.3.3 Protecting Persons Living with Disability and our Aged
The most disadvantaged group in Sierra Leone is the physically challenged. About 1.1% of the population is physically challenged or live with disability. This includes mainly the blind, deaf, polio persons and amputees.
The major challenges the physically challenged persons face include limited access to food, shelter, clothing, jobs, education and health care. They also face the problem of negative public attitude towards them in many instances. Their coping strategies include begging to earn a living and sleeping in public places. They are also marginalised in public life.
The aged are another disadvantaged group. In Sierra Leone, where social security is weak, the aged are generally cared for by the children. With a drop in real income and growing hardship, very little is provided for them. They too can be seen on the streets begging for basic survival.
The APC government has failed to address the plights of physically challenged persons. Although the last Parliament enacted the Disability Bill, no concrete action was taken by this Government to provide basic services to persons living with disability or even implement the provisions of the Act. To date, the basic structures for implementing the Act are weak. Government budgetary allocation is low and actual disbursements are not regular. Additionally, support by NGOs is limited and restricted to provincial capitals.
Public buildings and roads including schools and health facilities are not disability friendly. Persons living with disabilities face frequent discrimination in public transport and even in renting private accommodation. Accessing maternity services is also another challenge this disadvantaged group face. Basic materials and equipment that can enhance capacity such as brail and white sticks and canes are inadequate.
Conditions in major institutions such as the School for the Blind have worsened. In 2007, the APC inherited from the last SLPP administration, a Social Safety Net Programme that provided cash assistance to the most vulnerable and the aged. The APC misappropriated the residual funds, politicized the management of the scheme and employed negative discriminatory practices in its administration and implementation.
In the New Direction, the SLPP government will:
- Review and implement policies and laws relating to disability, especially making public facilities disability friendly.
- Revisit the administration and implementation of the Social Safety Net Programme
- Provide free education for the physically challenged at all levels pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary level
- Review and improve incentives for Teachers in Special Needs Institutions.
- Provide free health care for the physically challenged and the aged
- Increase access of persons living with disability and aged to public housing
- Provide welfare assistance to persons living with disability and the aged
- Provide livelihood support to persons living with disability for economic empowerment.
- Protecting our Children
The SLPP Government recognises that childhood is a one-time opportunity for physical, mental, emotional and social development. The war, Ebola and even recent disasters have devastated the lives of a high proportion of our children. They have been perpetrators and victims of violence. They suffered from separation and displacement. Investing in children is therefore a priority and a necessity and not a choice. Some of the critical child protection issues are sexual based violence, teenage pregnancy, early and forced marriage, child trafficking, child labour and female genital cutting.
Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) has published evidence to show that over 3,362 women and girls across Sierra Leone experienced rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual harassment, forced marriage, human trafficking or other forms of violence within the last 24 months. According to figures released from the Family Support Unit (FSU) of Sierra Leone Police 11,362 cases of violence against women and children wererecorded in 2016 compared to 10,940 cases in 2015. Out of the reported cases, there were 9,135 domestic violence cases (8,043 cases in 2015), 2,149 cases of sexual penetration(2,398 cases in 2015) and 78 rape cases (103 cases in 2015). A study by UNFPA indicates that 1 out of every 3 adolescent girls is pregnant. Pregnancies are one of the main causes of school dropout among girls and maternal mortality. During the 2014/2015 academic year alone, it was estimated that over 15,000 girls got pregnant when schools were shut down by the government as part of their strategy to contain and end the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak.
It is estimated that 18% of girls are married before the age of 15 and 48% before the age of 18. Girls between the ages of 13 and 17, especially in rural areas, are the ones mostly affected by child marriage, teenage pregnancy and sexual violence. Teenage pregnancy is often the driver of child marriage as girls who are not married become stigmatised.
Child labour, including trafficking and forced labour, are among common child abuse practices. The forced recruitment of children in armed conflict, child prostitution and pornography, illicit activities and work that harms the health and safety of a child are other forms of child abuse that are pervasive. About 50% of children aged 5-14 years are subjected to child labour. Currently, children continue to be trafficked internally, particularly from rural to urban areas as well as outside of Sierra Leone, including through employment agencies taking them abroad (especially to the Middle-East) and other non-monitored schemes. According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2011, 50% of children in Sierra Leone are engaged in some form of child labour, though the majority are balancing work with education. It is common to see children engaged in street trading, quarrying, mining, farming and domestic servitude across the country. Many children, as young as 10 and below, are often seen selling cold water and other items on the street during school hours and at night. While most families accept that involving children in work is often unavoidable, they also believe that contributing to the family is a positive lesson for children and teaches responsibility.
A national headcount of street children in Sierra Leone, conducted between September and November 2011, revealed that 49,698 children across the country live and work on the streets for their survival. Nationally, 22% of children are not living with their biological parents and 13% of children have at least one deceased parent.There are about 500,000 children living in informal fostering (menpikin) situations.Although “menpikin” may provide children with better opportunities for education, improved health care and nutrition, there is much evidence that children in these situations are also at increased risk of discrimination, abuse, violence and exploitation. Since the 2011, those numbers may have significantly increased due to increased poverty and separation of children from their parents due to neglect and violence as well as natural catastrophes such as the Ebola epidemic, mudslides and floods. Children deprived of a family environment often become easy prey for illegal adoptions, trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.
Although international standards require states to use detention as a measure of last resort, 86% of children that go through the juvenile court in Freetown are detained at the Remand Home. In provincial districts, there are simply no juvenile courts nor remand homes. In the absence of separate child detention centres in 12 out of 14 districts and with limited alternative measures to deal with children in conflict with the law, both the police and prisons usually detain children together with adults, in clear violation of international standards. During police investigation, many children are usually held up either at the open lobby at the police or kept in police cells, mostly together with adults’ due to lack of special holding facilities for children.
Moreover, due to the absence of an effective legal framework to regulate juvenile justice, the number of children entering and detained in the criminal justice system keeps increasing. Remand Homes in Kingtom and Bo as well as the Approved School in Wellington are overcrowded and their condition remains deplorable. Food, medical care and educational opportunities are particularly lacking for juvenile detainees. In addition, rehabilitation and reintegration services for offenders are limited: the lone government institution meant for rehabilitation – the Approved School in Wellington – simply lacks rehabilitation facilities and services.
The last SLPP Government enacted the Child Rights Act, 2007. The Act requires the setting up of institutions for its implementation. This current APC Government failed to adopt a Child-First approach to development and therefore failed to set up structures necessary to implement the provisions of the Act.
While more cases of sexual violence are being reported, investigation and prosecution processes remain slow and complicated. On average, the number of days taken by the Police/FSU to investigate a sexual offence on children in Freetown and regional headquarters (HQ) towns is 11 days, while the average number of days taken to conclude prosecution of a sexual offence against a child victim in Freetown and regional HQ towns is 89 days. In smaller district headquarter towns, which are more rural and isolated, it takes even longer. Moreover, the rate of successful prosecution of sexual offenders remains low, mainly because of the large prevalence of impunity.
Investigation and prosecution processes are further slowed down due to the non-affordability of medical treatment and certificates, as well as accessibility to medical facilities, for survivors of sexual violence. While section 39 of the Sexual Offences Act of 2012 provides that a victim of any sexual offence shall be entitled to free medical treatment and report, the government fails to provide resources for its implementation. In this context, child victims are still requested to pay an average of Le 100,000 to receive treatment and the certificate required to proceed with the legal prosecution of the offender(s).
Despite the fact that government had developed a strategy to end teenage pregnancy and established a teenage pregnancy secretariat, actions have mainly been implemented by NGOs and UN agencies in piecemeal. Moreover, major aspects of the above-mentioned strategy, such as the development of a Policy for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights has not been realised. Finally, while the strategy on teenage pregnancy is currently under review, the process is particularly slow.
Moreover, the laws dealing with child marriage such as the Child Rights Act of 2007 and the Registration of Customary Marriage and Divorce Act contradict themselves on the minimum age for marriage: whilst the Child Rights Act provides 18 years as minimum age for marriage without any condition, the Customary Marriage and Divorce Act allows marriage at 16 through parental consent. This is currently under review to harmonize the two laws and effectively prohibit child marriage, but the process must be finalized. Overall, child marriage is inextricably intertwined with other issues that include sexual violence, teenage pregnancy and female genital mutilation and is a major threat to girls’ access to the right to education and economic inclusion, thereby leading to high poverty rate among girls and women in the Sierra Leonean society. Finally, while the government has joined the African Union’s campaign to end child marriage, no real structures have been put in place.
While the government has adopted an Alternative Care Policy in 2011, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs lacks the necessary resources to effectively implement it. There are no measures in place to support and strengthen the capacity of parents to perform their responsibilities in the upbringing of their children, for example, through efficient family support programmes. With the support of UNICEF, the MSWGCA had drafted a Child Welfare Policy but it has not yet been adopted by the government.
In 2005, the government of Sierra Leone passed the Trafficking in Persons Act and set up the National Taskforce for Trafficking in Persons, which comprises relevant MDAs, NGOs, UN agencies and the American Embassy. Beyond the above, government has not done much to identify, arrest and prosecute traffickers and ensure that victims receive protection and rehabilitation and reintegration services. The US States Department Report 2017 puts Sierra Leone at Tier 2 as practical results remain quite minimal. The government demonstrated increasing efforts by investigating and initiating prosecutions of trafficking cases, as well as identifying and referring 34 victims to service providers. However, for the sixth consecutive year the government did not convict any trafficker. Judicial inefficiency and procedural delays negatively impacted access to justice for survivors.
In addition to ethical concerns, child work is still seen as a problem as involvement in labour affects school attendance, has negative health consequences or often leads to exploitation and trafficking. While the Child Rights Act of 2007 regulates children’s engagement in apprenticeship work, the provisions are not enforced, neither monitored, thereby leading to many situations of abuse and exploitation in the context of apprenticeship.
The major law that governs the administration of juvenile justice is still the Children and Young Persons Act, Cap. 44 of the Laws of Sierra Leone 1960 volume 1. This law is outdated andit lacks provision for procedures for arrest, investigation, remand of children and has no stipulated time period for pre-trial detention of children in conflict with the law. Overall, the National Child Justice Strategy 2014-2018 that is supposed to effectively address juvenile justice in the country has yet to be adequately implemented to create the desired impact.
In the New Direction, the next SLPP Government will ensure a Child-First approach for the survival, protection and development of children, including disabled and vulnerable children. Specifically, the next SLPP administration will implement policy actions and programmes to address (i)sexual violence; (ii) teenage pregnancy; (iii) child marriage; (iv) orphans and vulnerable children; (v) child trafficking; (vi) child labour and juvenile justice,
- Sexual Violence
- Review and increase budgetary resources for the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act of 2012.
- Strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA) and national NGOs to provide psychosocial services to all victims
- Strengthen knowledge of the referral pathway of sexual abuse
- Stigmatization of perpetrators of sexual violence
- Increase the capacity of the FSU, the Ministry of Justice and the judiciary by putting accountability measures in place to investigate and prosecute reported cases and punish the perpetrators without any exception, including by not accepting any out-of-court settlements in such cases
- Strengthen protection, rehabilitation and reintegration support for victims of sexual abuse.
- Teenage Pregnancy
- Review and implement the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy
- Strengthen Teenage Pregnancy Secretariat
- Design and launch a national programme on adolescents and sexual and reproductive health
- Increase opportunities for pregnant girls and teenage mothers to have access to education through appropriate means.
- Child Marriage
- Design policies, harmonise and standardise laws to combat child marriage
- Develop a national strategy to combat child marriage
- Provide protection, rehabilitation and reintegration support for victims of child marriage
- Make school attendance for children legally compulsory and penalise parents/guardians who wilfully flout the law.
- Children Deprived of Family Environment
- Carryout a nationwide survey of children without care and protection, including children living in the street
- Review, adopt and implement the draft Child Welfare Policy, ensuring that vulnerable families are given support to take care of their children and address violence against children in the home
- Strengthen the capacities of the MSWGCA and city and district councils to fully implement the Alternative Care Policy on street children
- Amend the laws regulating adoption laws and ensure that measures are put in place for legal procedures for adoption.
- Child Trafficking
- Review the 2005 Trafficking in Person Act and include sufficiently stringent sentences that include longer term imprisonment
- Increase efforts to arrest, prosecute and convict traffickers, including addressing procedural delays and judicial corruption as well as ensuring survivors’ safety and enabling their participation in judicial processes, both to increase prosecution rates and offer survivors compensation
- Train prosecutors and judges to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases
- Enact the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Crime (2000).
- Child Labour
- Review and enforce laws relating to child labour
- Develop a comprehensive strategy/policy to address child labour in all its forms and ensure that there are increased opportunities for children to access quality education
- Strengthen the Local Councils to monitor and ensure the implementation of Child Labour Policy and/or Strategy
- Juvenile Justice
- Develop and implement a new comprehensive law on juvenile justice, particularly ensuring child justice;
- Provide training for all professionals and personnel dealing with children in conflict with the law, including police, social workers, probation officers, magistrates and judges
- Develop community-based rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for juveniles in conflict with the law, thereby lessening the risk of recidivism
- Rehabilitate places of deprivation of liberty for children and equip them with psychosocial and educational programmes
3.5 Protecting and Empowering our Workers
The most valuable asset of any nation is its workforce. A nation needs a workforce that is well motivated for the transformation of the natural resources to wealth. Over 65% of Sierra Leone’s working population representing nearly 2 million people participate in the labour market and women participate almost as men. Of the working-age population, 62.2% are employed and 2.8% were unemployed. Most workers are employed in relatively low productivity jobs in farm and non-farm self-employment; fewer than 10% are in wage employment. Overall the conditions of service for our workers are amongst the worst in the sub-region.
Employment laws and regulations are not only weak but their implementation is also undermined. The institutional framework for the issuing of work permits exposes our potential workforce to unhealthy competition from other nationals who are usually put on better terms and conditions. The enforcement of our labour laws is weak. For instance, the provision that firms should only resort to foreign workers in the absence of qualified Sierra Leoneans is undermined with impunity. Most big industrial companies do not have medical and health insurance policies and where they exist they are of the barest standards. Core labour standards comprising the series of rules and principles regarding the minimum standards recognised internationally for treating workers have been violated. These labour standards are fundamental principles that protect basic human rights of the workforce.
Minimum wage has not only been low, but incomparable to living standards. In the past five years, the APC has failed to enact or enforce the necessary laws and policies or respect international standards to overcome most of these challenges. There are hundreds of foreigners in positions that can otherwise be filled by Sierra Leoneans. Illegal dismissals without benefits are common.
The pension scheme, National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) which the last SLPP administration set up is facing serious threats. The misuse of the pension fund, non-payment of contributions by both government and private employers, wrong investment decisions of the pension fund, non-reporting of dividends (if any) from investment of the pension fund and the politicisation and poor leadership of the Trust are now the norm.
Despite the enactment of the Sierra Leone Local Content Act which provides the legal framework for Sierra Leonean-first in employment and contract award, nationals remain disadvantaged.
In the new Direction, the next SLPP Government will adopt a Sierra Leonean First Policy wherein the interest of Sierra Leoneans will be first. The next SLPP Government will:
- Implement the Local Content Act
- Review existing mechanisms issuing and enforcing work permits with a view to creating opportunities for Sierra Leoneans to hold positions for which they are qualified and make the monitoring of people issued work permits more effective
- Review all laws, regulations and agreements to ensure that apart from statutory social security benefits, employers have in place medical and insurance policies consistent with international best practice
- Train Sierra Leoneans either by way of a buddy system, having them as counterparts or other alternatives that ensure that skills transfer is enhanced
- Include in agreements with foreign firms the requirement to fund critical skills
- Domesticate (where necessary) and enforce core labour standards adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO)
- Strengthen the industrial court and ensure that all labour related disputes are speedily tried
- Establish a Minimum Wage Board comprising Government agencies and private agencies with the primary responsibility of setting minimum wage at regular intervals
- Capacitate the Ministry of Labour to enable it to monitor and enforce the labour laws, policies and regulations effectively
- Review and adopt corporate governance code setting out the key principles relating to ethical and sustainably managed organizations
- Collaborate effectively with the Sierra Leone Labour Congress and relevant Trade Union organisations within the Congress to promote social dialogue to ensure industrial peace and maintain harmonious industrial relations in the country
- Conduct a comprehensive systems audit that will entail financial, procurement, technical and management audits and an audit of all its investments with a view to restructuring NASSIT and making it more effective and efficient
- Review the NASSIT Act and restructure the institution to make it more efficient and effective for achieving its objectives.
The SLPP sees governance as the process where all interest groups interact to develop and implement policies that adhere to rules and laws and that are shaped by and for power. In the last ten years under the APC rule, we have witnessed a dramatic retrogression from the scrupulous adherence to the Rule of Law to outright disregard for the National Constitution, a classic example of monumental failure by a business executive turned politician. The New Direction Government is determined to reverse this deplorable trend so that every citizen of Sierra Leonewill interact to make governance work for all by undertaking robust, ambitious and courageous programmes in the following areas of state governance;
- Building and Promoting National Cohesion
National unity and cohesion is critical to the co-existence of all segments of Sierra Leone society. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report called for “a new and equitable citizenship in Sierra Leone. This new citizenship demands a new culture of mutual respect, understanding and tolerance by Sierra Leoneans for all Sierra Leoneans and other peoples” Despite the potency of this recommendation, the APC has deliberately chosen to institutionalise regionalism, tribalism, intolerance and extreme partisanship in the governance of the state.
In the last ten years, the building blocks of national cohesion and the feeling of belonging of all citizens have gravely crumbled. The APC’s governance strategy has been characterized by divisiveness, exclusion and the weakening and subversion of state governing institutions. The patterns of dismissals, appointments, promotions and transfers within the public service are among the most palpable, threatening our fledgling democracy and national cohesion. Since 2007, over 1,000 competent Sierra Leoneans have become victims of dismissals, demotions, transfers to second rated departments in the civil service, public enterprises and institutions, military and police; and even the universities and colleges have not been spared. Their only crime is their perceived non-support for ruling APC or their region of origin. There has been a constant state of fear and a feeling of segregation among persons perceived as non-APC. This mood has stifled many government institutions, thrown the public sector into utter chaos and undermined the productivity and morale of a large part of the workforce.
Even the awarding of scholarships to students for overseas and in-country studies which present the greatest opportunity for building human capital has not escaped abuse. Family members of APC party activists are usually the more favoured beneficiaries for such awards. Also, the special Diaspora Office and other offices in State House have been converted into avenues for compensating unproductive and incompetent APC operatives. Cronyism has become the order of the day and political cronies have been the biggest beneficiaries of government contracts.
From the highest to the lowest level of the leadership in the present APC government there is abundant evidence of partisanship along regional and ethnic lines. This is the overarching challenge that must be urgently addressed. In addition, there is a lesser display of patriotism and civic responsibility on the part of many as a result.
The New Direction SLPP Government will make every citizen of Sierra Leone to feel and believe they are an integral part of an inseparable and indivisible country. It will promote inclusive politics, inclusive governance and inclusive development as the only guarantor for enduring peace and security.
In the next SLPP Government will launch a Presidential Initiative that will be heralded by a national conference on diversity management and rebuilding of national cohesion. Specifically, we will:
- Initiate policy reforms to ensure that Sierra Leoneans are free to live and work anywhere in the country regardless of tribe, region and other considerations. In this regard, the template requirement on all official documents that identifies the ethnic identity of individuals will expunged.
- Fully implement the national youth service scheme where young people from one part of the country will be cross-posted to other parts for their national youth service.
- Encourage all political parties to undertake initiatives aimed at diversifying their membership across regional and ethnic divides.
- Fighting Corruption and Improving Accountability
Corruption has been the main governance Achilles-heel for successive governments in Sierra Leone and the greatest threat to national progress and development as well as posing the biggest threat to our national stability and security. From the highest echelons of political office to the justice and security sectors; from the streets to the hospitals and classrooms; in almost every facet of public life there seems to be corruption. It was identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as one of the main causes of the Civil war.
The New Direction SLPP Government will therefore fight corruption as a governance priority and will launch the following:
- democratic war against corruption
- democratic war against indiscipline
- democratic war against poverty
Despite the gains made in the fight against corruption symbolized by the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) by the last SLPP Government in 2000 and its empowerment with independent prosecutorial powers by the APC Government in 2008, national development is still perennially constrained by corruption at various levels of administration. At the core is the absence of political will reflected in the inability or unwillingness of Parliament to scrutinize the public accounts audits submitted to it by the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL). In the past five years of the APC administration (2012-2017), for example, the nation has witnessed the publication of a series of robust annual audits by the ASSL providing evidence of leakages to support the claim of gross inefficiency and ineptitude giving rise to a culture of meaningless corruption investigations and rendering the President’s promise of “no sacred cows” a sham. Parliament’s oversight is completely moribund, entrenchinga culture of impunity for corrupt practices. At no time was this failure to scrutinize more amply demonstrated than the competing claims of competent jurisdiction between the Parliament and the ACC with regard to the Ebola Audit Reports. To this day these audit reports are renown more for gathering dust in the archives of the National Legislature than for their observance. Within the existing constitutional framework, the ACC is stymied to act on audit reports tabled before Parliament for fear of incurring its displeasure.
In a recent report of the “Pay No Bribe” platform of the ACC for the last quarter of 2016, no fewer than 7,027 cases of corruption were identified by members of the public. Of this figure, about 79.7% (5,602) reported paying a bribe of which about 48.7% were attributed to the Sierra Leone Police, 23.3% to health officials, 22% to the education sector, 4.6% to electricity workers and 1.3% to the water sector.
Since 2000, under the former SLPP administration, the subject of corruption has taken centre stage in the national political economy discourse. The SLPP government enacted the Anti-Corruption Act and established the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2002. In 2008, the Act was amended. Among other things, the Commission was given explicit prosecutorial powers and a prescription for assets declaration was introduced to foster integrity in public office.
Corruption in public and private life in Sierra Leone includes but is not limited to bribery, embezzlement, mismanagement, procurement irregularities, conferring unlawful or wrongful advantages (nepotism and favoritism). These are usually manifested in the inflation of government contracts in return for kickbacks,bid rigging, collusive tenders for public contracts, examination malpractices, corporate fraud (tax evasion), falsification of accounts and certificates,stealing of public funds and the perversion of justice.
Currently, there is limited integrated approach in the management of public funds and services. In recent years, some changes have occurred in financial management including budgeting and financing controls but the principles underlying management systems have hardly changed. For example, there has been little progress in the structure of incentives, methods of evaluation, recruitment procedures and human resource management.
Notwithstanding the amendments to the anti-corruption law, corruption is still rife in the country. Government Ministers who were fined after being found guilty of corruption charges returned to active public service because they are generally perceived to be “sacred cows” of the President and his APC Party. In situations where the ACC has insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction the prevailing practice seems to be to quietly settle out of court leaving the accused free to continue in public office without sufficient public accountability. A case in point is the NASSIT Ferry case.
In the New Direction, the SLPP government will treat corruption not only as a governance issue but as a national security threat.It will therefore leave no stone unturned in its fight against corruption. In particular, the New Direction will:
- Review within the first 100 days the ACC Act to include the publication of all assets declaration forms of all public officials before they take office and upon leaving office.
- Commit the political leadership to lead in the fight against corruption
- Review the relevant provisions of the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 (including Section 119 in particular) and the ACC Act to strengthen the ACC’s investigative and prosecutorial mandate with respect to audit reports tabled by the ASSL before Parliament to give it powers to proceed without the need to wait for Parliamentary investigations
- Develop value systems and implement a robust merit and reward system in public andprivate life.
- Categorize corruption and measure it in terms of its economic costs to the nation such as low, medium, high and very serious, in a manner that attracts harsher and stiffer penalties for more serious infractions.
- Ensure the full implementation of all recommendations in annual audits of the ASSL and of Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
- Commit to adhering to and implementing the Access to Information Act to deepen the fight against corruption.
- Adopt a new framework to ensure accountability and transparency in the public sector in the form of National Public Sector Transparency and Accountability Initiative (NAPSTAI) to subject the public sector to more scrutiny by civil society and development partners.
- Provide support to CSOs to enhance their capacity to prepare appropriate shadow reports on issues of transparency and corruption.
- Enhance inter-agency cooperation at the local and national government levels to prevent, detect and punish corrupt practices.
- Set up a system for planning, monitoring and reporting on Development Results referred to as Results-Based Management (RBM) wherein development targets will be set at the start of each year and senior managers will be accountable for delivering on these results.
- Improve social accountability in which public officials and non-state actors will give account of their stewardship.
- Strengthen Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS), District Budget Oversight (DBO) by citizens.
- Popularize and enforce a comprehensive code of conduct for public officials to regulate their conduct whilst in public office.
- Establish a special anti-corruption division in the High Court to promote judicial specialization and expeditious trial of corruption cases.
4.3 Improving Security Governance for Development
National security is the cornerstone of a country’s development. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) found that the failure to deliver security ‘was largely a result of the failures in governance and institutional processes’. In the ten years of APC rule, there has been signs of only marginal governance progress according to the Mo Ibrahim Governance Indicators 2017. The security sector remains bedeviled with enormous challenges around corruption, service delivery, adherence to the rule of law and over centralization of services mainly in Freetown and provincial cities.
The security sector presently consists of about ten agencies with political oversight from the Office of the President in the case of the Office of National Security (ONS) and the Central Intelligence & Security Unit; Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) under the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Internal Affairs has oversight responsibilities for the Sierra Leone Police, National Fire Force, National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), Immigration Department and National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency.
While we have made progress since the end of the war in key indicators such as personal safety and national security, recent trends particularly since 2007 show warning signs with an annual average score of -0.23% and -0.45% respectively, putting Sierra Leone among ten other African countries according the Mo Ibrahim Governance Index for 2017. These trends are manifested in the areas of capacity, equipment and logistical hardware, institutional development, politicisation of the forces, human trafficking, international crime and terrorism, trafficking and abuse of drugs; police violence and neglect of rural and remote population from the security architecture.
Notwithstanding the deterioration and warning signs, in 2014, Government spent a whopping 18.7% of national budget amounting to nearly Le 224 billion on the security sector. Just few months to 2018 elections, there was a leadership overhaul in key security agencies and the long overdue promotions of more than 4000 personnel in the Police force further heightening public perception of the politicisation of the forces.
The Sierra Leone Police (SLP), whose mandate is to provide internal security for life and property, has an estimated 12,500 manpower with an annual budgetary allocation of Le 97.5 billion (5% of the 2018 national budget). The brave men and women of the SLP have continued to serve in international peacekeeping operations especially in Africa.
Although security threats are mostly internal, there is nevertheless need to maintain and strengthen a professional, robust, well-equipped and well-resourced military for the maintenance and sustainability of peace, security and development and enhance its effectiveness in international peacekeeping operations. The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) presently has an estimated manpower of 10,750 with a budgetary allocation of Le 85.8 billion in 2016(7.2% of the annual budget) and Le 106.6 billion taking 5.5% of the 2018 national budget. Since 2008 the RSLAF has participated in peacekeeping operations across Africa with deployments of contingents in mainly Somalia and South Sudan.
The National Fire Force has been the most neglected security sector component, lacking in institutional and manpower capacity, equipment and specialized machinery such as fire engines and vehicles. It is highly centralized in Freetown and the three provincial cities of Bo, Kenema and Makena, and Lungi which hosts the country’s only international airport;
The Immigration Service has too long been plagued by problems of mismanagement as well as accusations of lack of accountability in the handling of revenues. Staffing is made up of regular civil servants many of whom have not had any professional training. .
Other security agencies including the NCRA, Sierra Leone Correctional Services and National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency continue to suffer in all aspects including labour force and institutional capacity.
Notwithstanding the steady progress made by the previous SLPP Government, especially from 2002 to 2007, the country has experienced major failures and challenges in the security sector between 2007 and now. These include but not limited to inadequate logistical support inhibiting and impeding the collection and analysis of intelligence; poor conditions of service leading to corruption at every level of the sector; dependency on donor support creating uncertainty around continuity of reforms; limited co-ordination between various security agencies; inadequate budgetary allocation and delays in payments; unmanned border crossing points posing security and economic risks; inadequate dwelling quarters for service personnel and their families; and overcrowding in most detention and correctional facilities.
The New Direction will seek to build TRUST between citizenry and security forces.
We will build on the progressive reforms of the security sector that commenced after the end of the war, with a focus on professionalization, de-politicisation and equipping of all forces and agencies for effective service delivery.
Specifically, we will:
- Improve the conditions of service of all service men and women.
- Ensure recruitment, promotions, transfers and deployment of service personnel are conducted in a fair and transparent manner taking due account of professionalism.
- Re-introduce community screening of recruits into the RSLAF and SLP.
- Provide adequate housing for RSLAF and SLP service men and women and their families.
- Make fully functional the Air Force and Navy as part of the Tri-Service of our RSLAF.
- Work towards mechanizing and modernizing the RSLAF to enable them generate revenue to contribute to nontraditional military functions such as relief, disaster interventions, agriculture and construction.
- Upgrade healthcare for service, ex-service men and women and their families
- Within the first hundred days, pay all outstanding payments to ex-service and war veterans of RSLAF.
- Provide subsidized education support for all RSLAF and SLP officers intending to pursue professional higher education at national institutions.
- Ensure a more transparent and value-added participation of our security sector in peacekeeping missions around the world.
- Review all allowances of men and women serving in UN Peacekeeping Missions to bring them in line with new increases by the UN and ensure that they are paid at their duty post.
- Take immediate steps to decongest our prisons and institute reforms in the areas of pre-trial detention, prison management and sentencing.
- Develop an updated fire policy with attendant regulations and guidelines for the fire force.
- Establish and equip fire force services at district headquarters
- In the first hundred days, remove disaster management from the ONS and establish a national specialized agency for disaster preparedness and management.
- Set up an integrated immigration network system linking key border posts with the immigration headquarters in Freetown to facilitate data processing and storage.
- Increase support to the civil registration system.
- Institute measures to create a National Immigration Service with a view to making it semi-autonomous in the discharge of some of its functions.
- Reverse Sierra Leone’s image as an easy target for money laundering and drug transshipment.
- Review the laws against drug trafficking with a view to empowering the state to seize and forfeit assets of drug traffickers to meet national and international obligations.
- Strengthening and Repositioning the Civil Service
The public service and its core values, which underpin its professionalism, are critical to public interest and the advancement of state objectives. Citizens expect to receive high quality and professional public services that are directed, managed and delivered by civil servants. The Sierra Leone public/civil service has taken an undeserved battering for over four decades significantly diminishing its conditions of employment and leaving it ill prepared to effectively perform its role in the state. The Government of Sierra Leone Public Sector Reform Unit in a 2009 civil service reform paper largely portrayed the service as grossly inefficient, obsessed with process rather than outcomes and resistant to innovation and change.
The Sierra Leone Civil Service once prided itself as the best in British West Africa and this was the status quo in the immediate post-independence era of the country. The tangible products were the high quality of education, a functionally efficient judiciary and an economy that supported national growth and development.
The Civil Service in Sierra Leone, once the pride of Anglophone West Africa,is today the recipient of technical assistance from Nigeria. .
In 2002, the Sierra Leone government initiated a civil service reform program through the Governance Reform Secretariat to conduct pilot management and functional reviews of selected ministries.Following another review in 2008, yet another was undertaken in 2009. These reviews revealed that progress was scanty owing to lack of human, technical and financial resources, to say nothing about the absence of the political will to drive the reform agenda. To overcome this, a Public-Sector Reform Unit (PRSU) was set up in the office of the president to drive the recommended reforms from 2009 – 2012.
At the heart of this reform was the need to shift the values and professional practice of the Sierra Leone Civil Service from the traditional/old public administration, which focuses on processes rather than outcomes, to what is now known as New Public Management whose focus is on outcomes, efficiency, performance and a leaner workforce to do the job.
Despite the many civil service reforms, many challenges remain. Prominent amongst them are weak human capacity, filling of senior positions by donor-funded consultants,weak training institutes, over-centralization in Freetown,poor remuneration, weak expenditure management,poor accountability and ineffective parliamentary oversight. For example, the reports of the Auditor-General and the Anti-Corruption Commission, amongst many others, have hardly been acted upon. In addition, patronage networks and ethnic politics remain an important barrier to building a professional and non-partisan civil service for a modern democracy.
While the decentralisation process has made some progress, challenges are legion. This includes the lack of clarity around the structural functionality and accountability of central civil servants vis-à-vis local council authorities. These inconsistent management and accountability lines create confusion and frustrationfor staff affected and local councils making it imperative to devise an alignment between public service reforms and the decentralisation process. Until this is done service delivery at both ends will continue to be haphazard, weak and unpredictable.
The APC government has failed to move the entire public-sector reform agenda since its inception over five years ago. Instead there has been increased politicisation of appointments, transfers, dismissals and promotions. The DFID-supported Management and Functional Review (MFR) made recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the public service but the APC government failed to implement the recommendations. Appointments in the public service institutions such as PSC and LGSC are done without proper scrutiny of the professional competence of appointees and the general failure of APC government to demonstrate the necessary political will for public sector reform has led some donorsto discontinue their support.
The New Direction will strengthen and modernize the Civil Service for effective and efficient service delivery. In the New Direction, the principal objective will be to restore the professionalism and efficiency of the civil service. Specifically, the SLPP government will:
- Reinforce political commitment and provide strong leadership in the reform agenda
- Rationalize the structure of the public service with a view to having a clear political leadership and direction.
- Restructure the Human Resources Management (HRM) Office by creating the necessary departments that will be staffed by career Human Resources Officers with the right competencies and skills with a view to modernizing the Civil service to face the challenges of the 21st
- Develop a new architecture of State governance and a national civil service organogram.
- Review the Civil Service Code and Regulations
- Establish a National Civil Service Capacity Enhancement scheme.
- Reintroduce and scale-up ‘hire purchase scheme’ and housing scheme for serving members of the Civil and related services to enable them to acquire capital items (with values consistent with their official emoluments).
4.5 Advancing Rule of Law,Promoting Justice and Human Rights
Sierra Leone’s judiciary has come under serious scrutiny and condemnation under the APC government with perceived unconstitutional intrusion from the executive arm of government under what has become popularly known as “orders from above”. Consequently public confidence in the system of justice deliveryat all levels is at its lowest ebb.
The justice sector in Sierra Leone is marred bypoor service delivery, limited access to justice, limited allocation of resources, shortage of staffing and limited capacity. Since the end of the civilwar several attempts have been made to reform the justice sector and for this there has been a heavy reliance on the country’s development partners. According to an Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) report 80% of the sector’s sustenance is contributed to by development partners. Between 2007 and 2014, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) alone contributed £44 million for a major reform of the justice sector.
The country can only boast of 21 Judges and 20 magistrates. They are mainly resident in Freetown and the provincial cities of Bo, Kenema and Makeni. In many of the districts there are no resident magistrates and lawyers.
The political supervisory role, seemingly embedded in the role of the conjoined Office of Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, remains problematic. Even worse, the Judiciary and the Police are generally perceived to be not only victims of APC Government manipulation, the dearth of professional staff to support the dispensation of justice country-wide has further exacerbated the problem of the entire justice delivery system. The result from all this is most disturbing as evidenced by inordinate and inexcusable delays in the dispensation of justice and the ever-increasing backlog of cases leading to human rights abuses as suspects are kept in remand for protracted periods. Furthermore, the inadequacies and deficiencies in detention and custodial facilities for all categories of inmates (men, women and juveniles) are today so overwhelmingly acute that public accusations of corruption and collusion directed at the justice system are not uncommon further lowering public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the Judiciary.
Thus, the biggest challenge confronting the Judiciary today is the growing erosion of public confidence. Neither are the Judges of the superiorcourts immune from public chastisement and this is occasionally engendered by their suspension from office without due process and their replacement by colleagues with known sympathies for the APC. The present status of the judicial system therefore continues to be a huge source of grave concern for the maintenance of good governance and national stability.
The New Direction government will as a matter of utmost urgencyundertake an overhaul ofthe judiciary and the justice delivery system in the country with a view to restoringpublic confidence in its independence and impartiality and make justice accessible and available for all.
Specifically, the next SLPP government will:
- Facilitate a national dialogue on ‘A New Justice and Rule of Law System for 21st Century Sierra Leone.” This will lead to the preparation of a comprehensive Capacity Building Plan for the Justice Sector and increase budgetary allocations to the justice sector
- Introduce legislative measures to further reinforce the independence of the justice system and reforms to demystify the law to expand access to justice
- Train a cadre of ‘paralegals’ to support the sector in the country’s extreme rural communities where the services of trained legal practitioner’s currently pose a huge challenge.
- Strengthen and capacitate the Legal Aid Programme to continue to provide legal aid services to our indigent and vulnerable citizens
- Promote social dialogue with the Sierra Leone Bar Association to enhance effective and efficient judicial service delivery.
- Consider the necessity to pursue a claim for international reparationsarising out of the Civil War
- Strengthen the Judicial Service Commission for the effective management of an independent justice system and for raising it to recognized international standard.
- Make justice easily accessible by ‘Tooling and Equipping’ of the entire Justice sector – from police to the Supreme Court’ through comprehensive capacity building.
- Ensure effective partnership between justice sector and civil society.
- Ensure that the Law Reform Commission is adequately resourced and strengthened to execute its mandate.
- Promote and protect fundamental human rights by establishing specialized Human Rights Courts in the judicial system and enforce a right based Bail and Sentencing policy.
- Request technical assistance from the Commonwealth for augmentation of the justice system
- Review legal education and promote measures for establishing an effective, fair and independent regulation of legal education and practice in Sierra Leone
- Separate the role of Minister of Justice from the office of Attorney-General
- Executive Power and The Presidency
A presidency that is powerful beyond the limits of democratic governance is dangerous for any democracy. Sierra Leone can ill afford an elected autocrat in our presidency.
The last 10 years of APC rule has left Sierra Leoneans stunned by the unlimited and unbridled use of “Executive Power”. State governance has been treated by President Ernest Bai Koroma as if there are no constitutional injunctions or limitations under the 1991 Constitution. The result has been that the Rule of Law has suffered enormous damage in the last 10 years. Furthermore, state governing institutions have been subverted and misrule and corruption have become the order of the day.
This blatant and reckless governance style has ushered in a total breakdown of law and order at all levels. Corruption and disregard for the rule of law have also been rampant since the unconstitutional sacking of the Elected Vice President.
The President under the New Direction will be a constitutional President and will only use powers vested in him by the National Constitution or recognized by the law.
Under the New Direction the next SLPP Government will commit itself to adhere to the rule of law and institutional reforms to maintain law and order in society. This will mean the next President will lead by example, demonstrating the necessary discipline to refrain from acting unconstitutionally and scrupulously respecting the rule of law in the best interest of national development and stability. Accordingly, the SLPP Government after March 7, 2018 shall endeavor to:
- Review unlawful acts of the last Government by way of Judicial and Parliamentary review to facilitate the quick restoration and maintenance of the rule of law
- Strengthen Judicial Independence to avoid the current embarrassment engendered by the ECOWAS Court Ruling in the Sam Sumana case
- Avoid the reckless use of Supreme Executive Authority and so-called Orders from Above
- Presidential appointments to be guided by proven competence and qualification
- Sustain a general policy of respect for the rule of law by the President and Government
- Examine the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Commission with a view to giving effect to them as much as is practicable.
- Expanding Decentralisation and Strengthening Local and Chieftaincy Councils
The key purpose and spirit of decentralisation and resuscitation of local government is to bring governance to the people. History is replete with evidence that the APC government has always reneged on the devolution of power to local councils as exemplified by its dissolution of local councils in the early 1970s and recently by its refusal to make progress on the decentralisation and local government reforms started by the previous SLPP government.
Since 2007, the APC government has shown little or no interest in implementing the decentralization process despite its many public pronouncements to that effect. They are all mere rhetoric. Human resource management has been politicized with unwarranted transfers of staff who are deemed to be non-APC supporters and the disbursement of funds to local councils has similarly been politicized.
Between 2004 and 2007, whilst developing the capacities of the local councils, the then SLPP administration devolved 40 out of 72 functions. Between 2007 and 2017, only 18 additional functions have been devolved by the APC government. It also resuscitated defunct District Offices to run side by side with the local councils.
The Local Councils were supposed to collect all revenues in the district and use the proceeds to develop the chiefdoms and wards within the District. With the re-introduction of District Officers, Paramount Chiefs no longer comply with this arrangement. For example, they collect market dues and refuse to account. The Chiefs believe they should champion development at the local level which should not be the case. Paramount Chiefs are required to send Annual Chiefdom Budget Estimates to the Local Councils as input into the District Annual Budget. But this is not happening.
Funds to Local Councils stand at 18% of the annual national budget which means Councils are constrained to undertake development. In fact, most of the 18% allocation to the 19 Local Councils barely cover recurrent expenditures. In 2016, for example, the national budget approved 3.3 Trillion Leones but only 68 Billion was disbursed to all the 19 Local Councils.
In the area of chieftaincy, the APC government has denied Paramount Chiefs the annual subvention previously paid to them by the SLPP government, thereby making most of them to rely on government handouts. The Local Councils as well as the Chiefdom Councils have failed to deliver on their mandates for efficient service delivery to communities while the authority of Paramount Chiefs has been undermined by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development as exemplified by the appointment of Court Chairpersons without the involvement of Paramount Chiefs for purely partisan considerations.
The power struggle between the Local Councils and the Councils of Paramount Chiefs is a huge problem especially in the area of revenue mobilization.
Staff demotivation has largely stemmed from the lack of security. There is also no growth structure for council staff. For instance, it is unlikely for one staff to be promoted from one stage to the other. A Deputy Chief Administrator of Council can only be promoted upon the retirement of the Chief Administrator or when he dies. Upon retirement there is no pension or gratuity for staff of councils.
There is a huge disconnect between the Civil Service and the Local Government Service Commission. Further, the Chairpersons and Mayors of Local Councils are not on salaries and there are no retirement benefits.
Personnel working for devolved sectors at the district level do not take orders from the Local Councils because there are no strings pinning them to the authority of the Councils. In fact, personnel are paid directly by MDAs and this undermines Council’s authority. Medical doctors, district directors of education, agriculture, rural water, social welfare etc. go straight to Freetown or the central government for directions. This means that their pay packets come directly the central government.
Neither do the revived District Officers have a clearly-defined role vis-à-vis the local governance structure.
In the New Direction, the SLPP government will:
- Review the National Decentralisation Policy and amend the Local Government Act 2004
- Complete the devolution of functions within the first one year
- Reorganize the Local Government Service Commission and provide it with the relevant policy and regulatory tools, financial and organizational support to position it like its counterpart, the Public Service Commission
- Review the local government grant making mechanism with a view to ensuring that the initial principles underpinning it (equity, need, lack of capacity to raise adequate own/local resources and even development across the country) forms the basis of computation, allocation and distribution of all grants irrespective of location and partisan composition
- Allocate a standing Block Grant to support a scheme that will focus on performance
- Bring chiefdom governance in line with local governance and make chiefdom structures play a major role in the decentralised service delivery process
- Restore the dignity of Paramount Chiefs and bring them back to the centre stage of national governance with rights and obligations fully recognized and respected
- Define new conditions of service for Paramount Chiefs and most essential chiefdom staff with a view to building capacity for future challenges
- Provide mobility for Paramount Chiefs to facilitate outreach and the performance of their roles.
- Harmonize the relationship between Local Councils and Council of Paramount Chiefs to ensure mutual respect and trust for effective service delivery
- Restore the dignity and prestige of Paramount Chiefs by improving their conditions of service and making them an integral part of the local governance development process.
- Construct official residence for all Paramount Chiefs
- Review the Revenue Schedule to achieve clarity in the areas of responsibilities and roles of the different agents within the decentralization process
- Reintroduce the Development Grant Allocation to Councils and increase the percentage of National Budget Allocation to Councils commensurate with their devolved responsibilities
- Ensure that staff of MDAs managing the devolved sectors are supervised and controlled by the Local Councils.
- Ensure that the salaries and other conditions of service of Local Council staff are aligned with the conditions of service of the Civil Service Commission
- Ensure that Local Council staff have the opportunity of serving at the central level and vice versa
- Take steps to entrench local governance in anyRevised National Constitution.
- Strengthen Democratic Institutions
Almost all democratic institutions including the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), the Political Party Registration Commission (PPRC)and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) were all established by the SLPP at the end of the Civil War to help deepen the culture of democracy and respect for the rule of law. The Independent Media Commission (IMC) was also set up to promote ethics in the media profession. The National Commission for Democracy (NCD) was established to promote civic education among the citizenry. However, these institutions have been weakened owing to government interference and patronage.
These institutions have been starved of competent human capital to enable them function effectively. Even worse, they have been grossly politicised to the extent that they have lost their operational focus and independence. The APC government has also failed to create any new vital national institution to support the deepening of our national democratic culture. Typical examplesof this failure is amply exemplified by the Independent Media Commission and the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC). Whilst the former’s directives are often challenged with impunity the latter is preoccupied with propagating the agenda of the ruling Party with little or no regard for its mandate as a national broadcaster that should be neutral and objective. Consequently they have lost the trust and confidence of the public. Democracy is therefore on trial in Sierra Leone.
The next SLPP administration will ensure that all national democratic institutions are put back on track as a matter of urgency by restoring their autonomy, creating the necessary enabling environment to execute their statutory mandate and to serve the people well.
Specifically, the new SLPP government will:
- Review laws and policies guiding the functioning of democratic institutions with a view to restoring their autonomy and independence
- Increase the role of non-state actors in the management of democratic institutions
- Increase the transparency of the operations of democratic institutions
- Develop the capacities of democratic institutions through adequate funding, qualified and competent human resources as well efficient and effective systems and procedures
- Support the budgetary needs of democratic institutions without seeking to control their operations.
- Constitutional Reform
Since its enactment in October 1991, the 1991 Constitution has been subjected to several reviews: the first by a Commission set up by the NPRC in 1992 under the chairmanship of the late Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and the second in 2008 by a Committee led by Dr. Peter Tucker. Neither was put to a referendum nor did they usher in a new constitution. Both, however, generated a comprehensive review of the 1991 Constitution. The outgoing APC Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma made the most costly review of the Constitution ever undertaken but the final report presented by the Commission led by the Honourable Justice Edmund Cowan was unashamedly rejected by the Koroma Government even though most of the Commission’s recommendations found resounding resonance with the will of the people. The Koroma Government issued a White Paper that narrowly selected only those recommendations it was comfortable with. It then attempted to push through the last Parliament a draft Constitutional Amendment Bill 2017 on the very eve of its dissolution on 6 December 2017. Eventually it was forced to abandon the Bill for want of compliance with the procedural provisions in Section 108 of the 1991 Constitution relating to the amendment of the Constitution; nor was it compliant with Article 2 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance barring ECOWAS Governments from enacting substantial modifications to their electoral laws in the six months preceding general elections unless it has the consent of a majority of the political actors. Ahead of the APC Government’s Constitutional Review, the 1991 Constitution was subjected to countless breaches, infractions and abuses by President Koroma and his APC Party culminating in the unconstitutional sacking of the Elected Vice-President of the Republic of Sierra Leone in 2015.
At the heart ofsubversion and manipulation of the national constitution, the supreme law of the land, by President Koroma was his avowed determination to impose himself on the country for a Third Term in flagrant violation of the mandatorily entrenched two-term presidential limit enshrined in Section 46 of the 1991 Constitution. The motive for seeking a wholesale constitutional review in 2014 was not driven by altruism but rather to obtain an amendment of this particular provision to make a third presidential term possible.
The next SLPP Government will maintain an unflinching fidelity to the 1991 Constitution and will give it every opportunity to grow and mature fully in its observance consistent with the will of the people before contemplating any wholesale review. In the meantime, weaknesses, shortcomings and other lacunae that manifest themselves in the course of application of the terms of the Constitution will be remedied by way of specific amendments of its relevant parts in order to give efficacy to the promotion and protection of good governance and respect for the Rule of Law at all times. To this end the next SLPP Government will:
- Encourage citizens’ participation in a strategic review exercise for swift amendments
- Engage state and non-state actors in identifying thematic areas of the constitution for review
- Undertake public education to underpin respect for the Constitution and the Rule of Law at all levels of society
- Foreign Affairs and Diplomacy
Sierra Leone still has a lot to do in the area of international diplomacy, foreign relations and international co-operation. The Foreign Ministry has been unable to make major imprints on the foreign and international scene in order to earn the country the much needed foreign direct investment and recognition in the sub-region, African continent and the world at large. The lack of a clear foreign policy orientation, the low capacity of our foreign diplomats, undue interference in the recruitment and performance of diplomats, among others, constitute the critical challenges in our efforts to optimize the gains from our diplomatic and foreign relations.The recent hiring of staff to serve in technical positions was a mere charade.
The outgoing APC government has undermined the country’s enviable diplomatic record left behind by the former SLPP government. The appointment of Ambassadors and High Commissioners has not been subjected to any meaningful critical scrutiny and there have been several scandals involving our Ambassadors to China, Liberia, Belgium and a Consul in the USA. Postings of unqualified and untrained civil servants to the foreign missions are not uncommon and they have been driven largely by partisan considerations like membership of the APC party or having an APC party operative’s recommendation. Most of the Missions have been without regular subventions, making their staffs extremely vulnerable to the vagaries of penury.
In the New Direction, the next SLPP government will place the highest premium on development and economic diplomacy as a core national interest. To this end, the location of existing and the establishment of new Embassies/Missions will be rationalised in order to achieve the greatest benefits consistent with the national interests of our country.
In the New Direction, the SLPP government will:
- Elaborate a new robust foreign policy for Sierra Leone with a clearly focused re-orientation that will de-emphasize dependence on foreign aid in favour ofpromoting favourable development and trade relations consistent with evolving global trends and anticipated outcomes for national economic development
- Restructure the Foreign Ministry to fully reflect the new national policy objectives
- Take appropriate measures to introduce professionalism in the Foreign Ministry by injecting and maintaining the highest degree of careerism starting with the recruitment and training of very high calibre personnel as diplomats to be identified from amongst the best University graduates. This is aimed at rebranding the Foreign Ministry in order to introduce greater efficiency and effectiveness in the diplomatic service of the country and the recruitment of staff will not be encumbered by factors other than those that will ensure the highest degree of competence and professionalism
- Evaluate our foreign embassies and missions for rehabilitation, upgrading and revitalizing
- Screen and evaluate all consular personnel and introduce performance criteria consistent with national development outcomes
- Support Research and Documentation to equip Foreign Ministry personnel with quality information at all times
- Support training schemes to enable our diplomats acquire second and third language proficiencies
- Raise the level of representation and performance in the organs of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the African Union (AU) and maintain full commitment for the domestication of all relevant international treaties and protocols
- Maintain and strengthen national commitments to the Commonwealth, Non- Aligned Movement and the United Nations and all other multilateral organisations
- Taking into account Brexit, develop a new development and foreign policy approach with the European Union.
- Promoting Press Freedom and Strengthening CSO
Governance is the process through which state and non-state actors interact to design and implement policies within a set of formal and informal rules that shape and are shaped by power (Word Development Report 2017: Governance and the Law). It is for this reason that the media and civil society have become the bedrock of modern governance. In Sierra Leone, the media and CSOs are at the forefront in holding state actors accountable.
The Fourth Estate has been very useful in informing and educating the public on governance issues. Since 2002, there has been a proliferation of press houses and radio stations. The Independent Media Commission (IMC) was established with responsibility to enforce professional ethics in journalism.
The greatest challenges presently facing the Fourth Estate are the continued existence of the seditious libel law, the absence of Freedom of Information (FOI), limited capacity of journalists,uninformed and unethical reporting and the absence of a truly independent and impartial national broadcaster.
Civil Society Organizations have been crowded out of their independent watch-dog role because of poor funding which has forced some of them to side with government and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs). Where INGOs decide to implement directly they usually end up depriving local NGOs and CSOs of funds. The APC government has also not helped the situation because they too have set up a number of units especially in the Office of the President, like the ABC Secretariat and the Diaspora Office, that very much resemble CSOs or NGOs and are seeking funding from the same donors as the genuine independent CSOs. .
The last SLPP Government set up the Independent Media Commission (IMC) and charged it with the task of regulating and monitoring media institutions in order to ensure that they operate in a way that promotes the public good. However, the IMC has failed to enforce its own ethics and like most democratic institutions, it has not escaped political interference from the APC.
In 2009, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) was transformed into a national broadcaster and renamed the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation. Its mandate enjoins it to be impartial and to provide equal opportunities to all political parties. Over time it has failed to discharge this mandate and is now virtually the mouthpiece of the ruling APC party.
In the New Direction, the next SLPP administration will introduce the following reforms for the common good:
- Repeal the seditious libel law
- Adopt policies and laws to develop the capacity of journalists
- Support the School of Journalism and other institutions to train journalists
- Provide funding opportunities for journalists to establish press houses as corporate entities ·
- Encourage the private sector to invest in the media
- Provide a budgetary subvention to SLAJ
- Enhance the capacity of the IMC to enforce the IMC Act
- Review the legal and operational status of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation
SLBC to make it a truly professional national broadcaster
- Facilitate full implementation of Right to Access Information Act
- Provide an opportunity for non-state actor quota to be reflected in aid received by the State from donors
- Review donor funding architecture to establish a level playing field for NGOs and CSOs.
- Streamline government operations especially in the Office of the President with a view to making it leaner, smarter, efficient and effective.
- Strengthen existing donor guidelines by ensuring that the Office of NGOs in MoFED is independent and effective.
- Reduce registration burden on non-state actors by eliminating multiple registration requirements.
- Diaspora Affairs
The Diaspora is a resource that Sierra Leone can tap into for its development needs. In the Diaspora reside some of the most educated, entrepreneurial and wealthy citizens. Most Diasporas are strongly attached to Sierra Leone and would be willing to contribute meaningfully to the country’s development. The next SLPP Government will put measures in place to facilitate this.
The APC Government created a Diaspora Office with the assistance of UNDP. Whilst its objectives are laudable, the Office has not been able to realise its full potential mainly because the APC has chosen to politicize its operations. Political partisanship has been the main determinant factor for staffing the office. .
The New Direction
In the New Direction, the SLPP will:
- Harmonise the laws relating to dual citizenship with a view to allowing Sierra Leonean Diaspora to fully participate in the politics of Sierra Leone
- Move the Office of Diaspora Affairs to the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning
- De-politicise the staffing and management of Diaspora affairs
- Mobilize highly skilled Sierra Leoneans for knowledge and skills transfer to Sierra Leone through volunteer services or short-term consultancy services or partnership between local and Diaspora professionals organizations
- Mobilize and leverage Sierra Leonean Diaspora business communities for investment and trade in Sierra Leone
- Study and develop mechanisms to facilitate investment and transfer of funds from the Diaspora in collaboration with Sierra Leonean financial institutions
- Develop interactive mechanisms and special incentives for Sierra Leonean Diaspora Business communities
- Encourage Sierra Leonean Diaspora to form professional fora abroad.
- Improve on the consular services to the Sierra Leonean Diaspora
- Build development funds targeting specific sectors of the economy and work with Diaspora or their representatives to be part of the implementation process.
- Take necessary measures to enable Sierra Leoneans in Diaspora to vote overseas in public elections
- Work with a host of countries to promote the interest and rights of Diasporas and allow them access jobs.
No country, no region and no continent for that matter, has ever developed without effective and efficient infrastructure facilities, systems and services. Sierra Leone is certainly no exception. Poor infrastructure is a critical barrier to accelerating growth, enhancing regional integration, reducing poverty and securing development. Sierra Leone’s infrastructure remains grossly inadequate and very poorly maintained. For example, Sierra Leone is ranked 49th out of 53 African countries within the African Infrastructure Index established by the African Development Bank. The country is severely impacted by the deficits in both the quantity and quality of its critical infrastructure. Investments in infrastructure are important for the development and stability of Sierra Leone.
In the New Direction, critical infrastructure covers energy (generation, transmission and distribution;. water (clean drinkable water, harnessing water supply, irrigation and navigation) and sanitation; transport (road, rail, air, sea and pipelines); ICT (Information Communication and Technology) and housing. The development and transformation of Sierra Leone is heavily dependent on its ability to plan, develop and implement infrastructure facilities, systems and services.
- Improving Energy
Improving supply of Energy is an imperative for any meaningful development and poverty reduction. Development of the energy sector permits the development of various energy based industries and the enhancement of the human capacity through improved educational facilities, better health services, improved industrialisation and communications facilities. In short, growth and industrialization are impossible today without sustainable and efficient energy.
Sierra Leone is among one of the least developed countries in the World in terms of power infrastructure. In the entire country, power generation and supply still falls below 100MW with less than 50 MW coming from the Bumbuna Hydro Electric Power Station in the North, 6MW from Dodo in the East and 2 MW from Charlotte in the West. The rest of the power is generated by hired or old thermal plants using heavy fuel in Freetown, Lunsar, Bo, and Lungi. There is also potential solar power generation in a few locations in the future.
Electricity availability in all district headquarter towns in the country is either non-existent or erratic with the exception of Makeni City in the Bombali District and Port Loko City in Port Loko District which enjoy almost 24 hours electricity daily – the political base of President Koroma and his APC Party. Similarly, in the Southern and Eastern provinces, only Bo City has intermittent power supply from the Dodo HEP and the Bo Thermal Plants, producing 6 MW peak power, under the twinning system of the Bo-Kenema Power System (BKPS).
Existing energy supplies, especially electricity, are delivered at very high cost. Sierra Leone has the highest electricity tariff in the sub-region. There is inadequate investment and insignificant private participation in rural energy development. This lack and cost of electricity is one of the most frequently cited challenges facing investors who have chosen instead to operate their own generators rather than face frequent power interruptions.
Between 2007 and 2012, the APC spent huge resources on electricity, estimated at over US$300 million. Yet, total electricity generated is barely 80MW, far below the target of 1,000 MW by 2018 in the Agenda for Prosperity. With the exception of the cities of Makeni and Port Loko, electricity supply in all other towns is irregular. Government recently installed solar street lights in district capitals but the maintenance of these was unsecured and some have even fallen in disrepair or the batteries and panels have been stolen. So most of these solar street lights are off because of low quality of the solar lights or lack of clear policy on maintenance.
In 2011, Parliament enacted the National Electricity Act 2011 the main thrust of which is the unbundling of the then National Power Authority (NPA) into two companies: Electricity Generation and Transmission Company (EGTC) and the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA). Water and Energy Regulatory Agency for both electricity and water has been set up. An Energy Policy has been formulated and ratified by Parliament.The APC government has however made little effort to implement the Energy Policy and only recently was the Bumbuna Hydro-electric power, Phase II, to provide 130MW of electricity ratified by Parliament.
Notwithstanding, the sector is facing serious challenges. First, there has been little transparency in the operation and management of the Bumbuna hydroelectric project causing high electricity costs. Second, the pre-paid meter system has been the subject of persistent scandals arising from the award of contracts and presently domestic consumers continue to face challenges with the meters. Third, the poor transmission and distribution network causing huge power losses compounded by low and irregular voltage continue to impact negatively on reliability, causing damage to personal equipment. Fourth, the APC Government has continued to rely on Independent Power Producers (IPP) for the supply of electricity using thermal plants at over bloated costs. Fifth, power stations in most of Sierra Leone are non-functional. Contracts for restoring provincial stations have been fraught with difficulties. Overall, the entire sector is ridden with inefficiency and corruption on an epic scale. There are persistent reports of poor procurement practices with contracts often going to party cronies who have limited capacity and knowledge.
In the New Direction, the SLPP Government’s objective will be to provide energy in sufficient quantities to all regions of the country to permit the continuous realization of the developmental goals of industry and the general population. The specific actions are to:
- Restore electricity supply to all district capitals
- Initiate a rural electrification programme that will supply electricity to all towns with population exceeding 20,000
- Institute a Rural Electricity Board and a Rural Electricity Fund to promote electrification of rural areas with a view to making electricity readily and widely available in rural areas.
- Each year, at least five villages and two towns in each district joins the national grid or are connected off-grid on standalone solar or mini-hydro schemes.
- Massive investment in renewable energy potential of the country in the areas of solar, hydro, wind and biomass
- Promote the use of renewables and modern forms of energy like Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)
- Encourage the start of min-hydro schemes, solar energy schemes and provide special financial incentives to companies in this sector
- Enhance female access to modern energy by investing in rural electrification, clean cooking fuel (propane gas) and household energy needs.
- Encourage mining companies and other major industries to sell excess power to the national grid for the supply of power to the communities in which they operate and other contiguous areas.
- Review and strengthen the institutional capacity of the regulatory Agency for the water and electricity sectors
- Promote energy efficiency measures nationwide
- Follow up on the reform of the power sector including connection in the West African Power Pool
- Improving Transport (Roads, Air, Rail and Sea) and Safety
Transport services are essential for the domestic and international movement of persons, promoting trade, agriculture, tourism, generating growth and development and even promoting human development. In Sierra Leone, the available means of transportation include road, sea and air of which road and sea transportation are the main means of internal transportation while air and sea transports link Sierra Leone to the rest of the world.
- Road Transportation
Road transportation is the most common means of transportation in Sierra Leone. It used to be dominated by vehicles but most recently, motor cycles commonly called Okada
In the 1970s, the railway system which was the main channel for internal trade, goods and people movements was replaced by buses in a country with limited all-weather and bituminized roads. The prices of goods and services especially agricultural produce skyrocketed after that. The free movements of people within the country has also been greatly affected since then. Sierra Leone still continues to put emphasis and priority on road transport. Due to the high cost of air travel and the poor development of water transport, road networks have been the preferred way forward for movement of goods and people. It is estimated by the Sierra Leone Roads Authority and the African Development Bank that Sierra Leone has about 11,300 Km of roads of which less than 10% are paved.
Traditionally, infrastructure development and implementation world-wide and particularly in Africa including Sierra Leone has been based on sector specific development with no coherence and relationship to other sectors. For example, road construction in Sierra Leone has never included other sectors and for the most part other transport modes. The culture of intermodal development is seldom embraced. As a result the utility and full benefits of the roads constructed are limited and never realized. Along all the corridors or alignments of the roads constructed in Sierra Leone, there are no other new or refurbished transport modes nor are there any new sector development that will capitalise and take full advantage of the new road constructed. Therefore, the full benefits or the utility of the road constructed are very limited and not fully realized, thus negating the economic and financial value of the investment. This does not unlock economic opportunities and create jobs.
The legacy of colonial infrastructure development of “pit to port” via rail and road still obtains in most African countries including Sierra Leone. This approach has led to skewed infrastructural development in Sierra Leone and the current APC government has embraced an even more backward mentality: that of “ethnic or region” based infrastructure development with complete disregard for areas or regions considered not its natural support base. This is why Kenema, for example, has been totally neglected by this government in their infrastructure development agenda.
Despite the much trumpeted successes of the APC Government in road construction, the conditions of arterial and feeder roads are very deplorable. Only the towns along the Trans-West African Highway, including Freetown, Masiaka, Port Loko, Kambia, Bo, Kenema, Bandajuma and Zimmi are being linked by Class 1 asphaltic roads. Recently Segbwema was added. There is no equity in the distribution of paved township roads. Different Kilometres have been paved for different towns depending on political connections and areas of economic importance have been marginalized due to their perceived opposition to the ruling party. In Freetown most secondary roads are in bad condition.
Cost of construction of a kilometre of road funded by the APC government is the highest in the world. The quality of the roads constructed is poor and implementation very shoddy. Overall, corruption has marred road construction. In addition, co-ordination is weak among departments involved in public works to the extent that telecommunications and electricity cables and water pipelines have been destroyed during road construction.
Implementation of road projects has also been slow. Roads such as the Lumley-Kent Road for which funding was available in 2007 have not been completed 10 years after.
Political meddling by the Ministry of Works, Housing and Technical Maintenance with the operations of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) have led to loss of independence and objectivity in the handling of the affairs of the Authority. The APC Government’s road construction programme from internally generated revenue is mainly based on projects in urban areas, especially Freetown. These projects, like the Wilkinson Road project, are grandiose, poorly planned and exorbitantly costly. They are done with hardly any consideration of international best practice and cost benefit analysis.
Poor governance continuously afflict the management and sustainability of the Road Maintenance Fund. Government also not infrequently waives the contributions of petroleum importers on the pretext that this would help to keep the pump price low.
The International Airport at Lungi, the major gateway to Sierra Leone, is an embarrassment. The current Airport Authority is only sustainable because the government has given it a carte blanche to increase charges at will with nothing tangible to show for it. Currently the Authority’s airport levies are about the highest in the sub-region.
The New Direction will ensure that all towns and villages are connected by well-designed and safe roads to spur economic development and create linkages to markets. The SLPP government will plan, develop and implement infrastructure in Sierra Leone on an integrated, holistic and cross-sectoral development basis. In addition, full utilization will be made of inter-modal transport development. This approach will ensure inclusiveness and that the money spent on infrastructure development will bring about radical and major development across all sectors, thereby meaningfully transforming the lives of the people of Sierra Leone. For example, wherever a new road is constructed under the SLPP government, provisions will be made to ensure that along the same road corridor or alignment, there is a pipeline for foptic to improve ICT connectivity, or a pipeline for water to provide clean drinking water, transmission lines to transmit electricity to provide power and adequate electricity, industrial development such as manufacturing plants and factories, to provide jobs to improve the economy, agro-processing plants to ensure food security, access to other modes of transport such as in-land waterways, and rail and air access (as part of our future development plan). Therefore, by using this approach the construction of a single road will radically transform Sierra Leone by ensuring cross-sectoral and integrated infrastructure development. This will justify the amount spent on building the road rather than the current silo effect perpetuated by the APC government. Specifically, the SLPP administration will:
- Promote and implement a holistic integrated infrastructure and sectoral development programme that will maximize the utility and effectiveness of infrastructure, thus greatly contributing to the overall socio-economic development of the country regardless of region.
- Work collectively with the members of the MANO River Union (Liberia, Guinea and Cote D’Ivoire – CLSG) to develop further the sub-regional infrastructure Master plan particularly, in the Energy, Transport (Rail, Air, Sea) and ICT sectors, so that Sierra Leone’s obligations are met within the time frames established.
- Conduct an Infrastructure Audit and Value Engineering of all completed, incomplete, and planned infrastructure projects in last 10 years to ascertain the technical integrity of all the projects to ensure their safety and sustainability as well as their value for money
- Address the current traffic congestion in Freetown not only by the construction of new roads but also by employing proven and practical traffic engineering mitigation measures such as the use of actuated traffic light signals, directional traffic flows, channelization, the use of pedestrian only roadways, commercial vehicles only-roadway, peak and off-peak traffic directional flows, and effective traffic enforcement.
- Explore other modes of transport within Freetown and the Western Area such as the construction of jetties and ferry terminals at strategic locations for commercial ferry and boat transport.
- Explore the use of rail transport as part of the rail network to be connected to the West African Rail Network.
- Pave all roads linking district capital towns.
- Use of automated traffic signalization at key intersections in the cities of Freetown, Bo, Makeni and Kenema.
- Build wider roads and flyovers and under-passes to bridge gaps in the road network in view of easy East-West linkages in Freetown.
- De-politicise the management of the Road Maintenance Fund and ensure funds are available in a timely manner for the works.
- Devolve maintenance of township roads and feeder roads to local councils and especially provide requisite funding.
- Promote the use of non-motorized transport (such as pushcarts and bicycles) in rural communities while developing busing services for mass transit in urban areas.
- Complete a four lane express road from West to East Freetown within five years. Widen selected roads and build new flyovers at key junctions of Lumley, Congo Cross, Model, Eastern Police, Up Gun and Cline Town.
- Increase public bussing services to all areas: 18 hours service a day.
- Develop large transit centers at Masiaka, Rogbere Junction, Mile 91, Taiama, Moyamba, Boand Makeni with facilities for accommodation, showers, toileting and restaurants.
- Provide more mass transit facilities, especially by buses in large urban areas like Freetown, Bo, Kenema and Makeni.
- The Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) will work more symbiotically with SLRA to ensure the death traps in our roads and sidewalks are eliminated, while improving on traffic flows at major intersections.
- Ban the illegal use of unworthy and unlicensed articulated trucks on all major trunk roads after 1800 hours including heavy fines for the owners and drivers and seizure and confiscation of such vehicles
- Ban the use of extra fog lights on all big trucks save those originally manufactured and affixed to such trucks
5.2.2 Air Transportation
The development of the Air Transport market in West Africa cannot be overemphasized. Air transportation facilitates the movement of persons and goods in and out of the country and promotes trade and integration, serves as a catalyst for job creation and boosts economic diversification, economic growth and development.
International connectivity is served by Lungi International Airport (passengers and light freight). Over 200,000 passengers pass through Lungi yearly. Overall, the runaways, taxi ways and aprons are fairly good but need repairs. Although the departures and arrivals concourses have been recently rehabilitated, there is the need for expansion as passenger numbers increase. Local air travel is virtually non-existent. As population grows by more than 3.5% annually over the past decade and tourism stands to grow, this has exerted pressure on the existing road network causing massive congestions for vehicles leaving the capital area. There is therefore need for air travel within the country and the sub-region.
In May 2006, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conducted a Safety Oversight Audit Program (USOAP) of the Civil Aviation system in Sierra Leone. In a follow up, the ICAO sent an International Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) from 29th January to 5th February 2014. The mission evaluated the status of implementation of the latest corrective action plan (CAP) of Sierra Leone. The report of the ICVM revealed that Sierra Leone is at 20% compliance in terms of safety, which is far below the 60% safety threshold set by African Ministers responsible for Aviation in Abuja commonly referred to as the “Abuja Safety Targets”.
Politicisation of the management has been rampant. Enforcement of regulations by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) continues to be lax. The CAA is not economically sustainable given its inability to generate revenue and its low level of competency and capability. Little wonder that Sierra Leone’s Air Operating Certificates and aviation licenses have been used as “flags of convenience” by shady characters. On the other hand, due to low passenger volumes and the perception of the industry as elitist, over- taxation of the sector by the APC government is oppressive. The resultant effect of this is high cost of air fares and poor connectivity between Freetown and several cities in West Africa and beyond. Often, many passengers have to connect to African destinations via other continents, further adding to the burden of aviation customers.
From the 1960s onwards, Sierra Leone intermittently operated a national airline starting with the Sierra Leone Airways and ending with the Sierra National Airlines (SNA) in 2006. The country has been without a national carrier for several years now losing out to foreign airlines moving into the void.
In the New Direction we will work in consonance with the ECOWAS Vision 2020 to improve the Air Transport sector by developing a sound and seamless regional air transport system that is safe, reliable, efficient and affordable, well connected within West Africa and integrated with the global network. Specific policy actions will include:
- Enhance global civil aviation safety by certifying the Freetown International Airport at Lungi to meet international standards
- Improve ferry and sea coach services between Targrin and Freetown to support passenger travel and comfort
- Enhance global civil aviation security and facilitation
- Develop an Air transport master plan to foster the development of a sound and economically viable civil aviation system; develop Lungi International airport into an aerotropolis involving the development of an airport city which essentially will provide one stop airport support facilities including hotels, conferencing facilities, shops, restaurants etc. This will be a mix market high-density commercial development to serve as economic growth node and generate employment and improve incomes in the local economy
- Develop airport services and create a hub to handle increased foreign traffic to the East Coast USA, North Africa, Europe and South America and create a new carrier – Sierra International Airlines
- Create a sub-regional hub at Hastings/FNA with Air taxi services
- Revive all abandoned airstrips where practicable and construct new airstrips where necessary
- De-politicise the management of the SLAA and the CAA
- Privatise some airport services in a transparent manner.
5.2.3 Sea Transportation
Queen Elizabeth II Quay and Kissy Oil terminal as well as the two ferry terminals constitutes the port of Freetown. They constitute major logistics hub for Sierra Leone’s imports and exports.
The Queen Elizabeth II Quay comprises a multi-purpose terminal (general cargo), break bulk, containers and bulk and holds 4 berths. With the global trend of containerization wherein the bulk of cargo will consist of containers, the current terminal for containers is proving inadequate.
Most of the port operations have been privatised to Bollore Logistics Co. Ltd. Bollore has had numerous operational and management problems and disagreements with various Agencies at the Ports. Sierra Leoneans lose their imports for lack of funds to pay demurrage. Also, with the growing demand for petroleum products, Kissy oil terminal is now limited and its storage facility inadequate.
Maritime transportation is in a bad state in Sierra Leone today. The turnaround time for clearing goods at the Port is still high and both freight costs and clearing costs are prohibitively expensive, impacting on the retail cost of goods. Some regulatory agencies like the Sierra Leone Maritime Agency (SLMA) have been found to handle their mandate inefficiently and is in need of significant reforms.
In the New Direction, the overall objective of sea port development is to provide a conducive and competitive port facility. To this end, the specific policy actions shall include
- The parastatal agencies responsible for overseeing sub-sectors will be restructured and reformed with an emphasis on management improvements, privatization of certain functions and sustainable financing through user-fee based services and toll roads.
- Construct additional storage facilities as well as pumps and pipelines to increase the material loading rate
- Handle the remaining privatisation programme for the Port transparently
- Continue current expansion of port facilities to handle OGVs and ensure efficient discharges of cargo
- Establish a One Stop window at the SLPA for speedy processing of customs and other import and export clearances.
- Institute policies and regulations that will help reduce the costs of shipping and clearing goods
- Re-organise the Maritime Protection Agency to make it more effective
- Carry out a feasibility study to convert the Nitti sea port used by mining companies into a commercial sea port
- Develop a port at Sulima with the objective of supporting mining operations
- Ensure quality and pro-poor safe ferry services to various destinations where land access is restricted by constructing new berthing facilities and jetties
- Encourage and promote private sector development of inland water transportation services for passenger and goods as an alternate mode to road transport by using larger, more efficient boat buses and ferries between for example, Bonthe-Shenge – Freetown, Sulima – Freetown- Port Loko etc.
5.2.4 Railway Transportation
In the New Direction, the SLPP administration will consider instituting a National Railway Scheme following appropriate feasibility studies
- Increasing Access to Water Supply and Improved Sanitation
Access to safe drinking water is more a human right today than ever before. UNICEF and WHO have determined that improving access to safe drinking water and sanitation promotes good health and reduces mortality rates while reducing teenage female pregnancy and school dropout rates.
Sierra Leone is richly endowed with heavy annual rainfalls and several rivers. The main runoffs from these rivers is in the order of 22m3 per capita, which makes the citizens some of the richest in water resources in the world. Notwithstanding, most of the Sierra Leone population do not have access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation. Barely half of the population, 43% (86% in urban areas and 26% in rural areas) have access to safe drinking water and 13% have access to improved sanitation (24% in urban areas and 6% in rural areas). Pipe borne water supply is largely limited to Freetown. Rural areas depend on contaminated surface water.
The Guma dam, which supplies water to Freetown was intended to supply a population of about 500,000 but the influx of people from rural areas, returning refugees and high population growth have brought to the city and its environs about 1.5 million inhabitants. Deforestation has created further problems in the dam region creating mudslides, which fill in the lake and reduce the available supply. The newly restored water supply facilities in provincial capitals of Bo, Kenema, Kambia and Makeni are not effective as most households and communities in these townships are yet to either access water from those facilities or the supply is irregular or inadequate. Contrary to what was promised by the APC government, pipe borne water facilities in all other district capitals are not functional. Most rural communities access water from hand-pump wells and a few from gravity system. A substantial percentage of people even still access water from unprotected sources including hand dug wells and polluted rivers and lakes.
The management of both garbage and sewage in urban towns, particularly Freetown, is poor. To date, the institutional arrangements for city cleaning are weak. Deforestation of the hillsides largely for housing construction has compounded the problem by the mass movement of debris from hilltops to the streets. The accompanying high volume of water from the hill tops and the shallow drainage system all worsen an already appalling situation. Dumpsites in the West and East of Freetown are surrounded by communities creating serious health hazards. With the support of the German Government, sanitation in the provincial capitals of Bo, Kenema and Makeni have improved. Most shacks in Freetown do not have access to latrine facility and the conditions of the sewage pipes are deteriorating. It is not unusual for human waste to be seen in garbage and streets of Freetown. Rural sanitation challenges comprise disposing garbage in backyards and limited access to latrine facilities encourages the bad practice of open defecation.
In Freetown, the major challenge of water supply is inadequate water in the dams and poor and limited distribution networks. Only one dam is currently operational and is grossly inadequate to meet the demand of a growing population. Besides its size, houses have been illegally constructed around the catchment area causing threat to the dam. The distribution network is not only poor, it can barely cover three-quarters of the city. Most new settlements and households cannot access water directly from the Guma source. Besides, the water supply to most of Freetown is irregular. There is hardly a community now that have access to 24 hours water supply. This ugly situation forces children and adolescents to fetch water from far distances at odd hours making teenage girls vulnerable to rape and sexual abuse. Also, time spent to fetch water is often at the expense of study time.
The Local Government Act 2004 is devolving water supply functions to local councils. A new National Water and Sanitation Policy recommends major reforms which include: (a) shifting government focus from implementer to policy making and facilitation; (b) creation of a National Water Resources Board with responsibility for water resources management; (c) establishment of a regime for regulating water supply and sewerage services which effectively balances economic, financial, and social objectives; and (d) enactment of a new Water Law which creates a legislative framework for all those involved in the sector—public and private, present and future—and supersedes outdated water-related legislation. Only a few of the reforms have been implemented.
Mechanisms for sustaining services are inadequate, not least the maintenance of existing water supply facilities. The sector lacks sufficient manpower and logistics to enable it discharge its responsibilities. Guma Valley Water Company continues to face management challenges. Revenue collection is grossly inadequate. Corruption is also rife resulting in the granting of contracts to party cronies. There is poor co-ordination between the various MDAs dealing with water and sanitation issues and the APC Government has failed in enhancing the capacity of some of these MDAs.
The overall objective is to increase access of the population to safe drinking water and improved sanitation. In the new Direction government, a comprehensive water and sanitation strategic plan will be put in place to guide investment in the sector and public sector investment will be increased to a minimum of 10% from its current level of less than 3%. Some of the specific policy actions for improved urban and rural water supply and sanitation are detailed below.
Urban Water Supply
- Construct a new water reservoir for Freetown and its immediate environs
- Construct boreholes and gravity water supply facilities in hard to reach peri-urban areas in Western Area
- Rehabilitate water distribution network in Freetown and construct stand pipes in deprived communities
- Introduce flow meters to reduce wastage in urban towns.
- Rehabilitate existing water dams and protect all major watershed areas against deforestation and other environmental problems
- Speed up institutional and regulatory reforms of the sector, especially at GVWC and SALWACO, to improve on efficiency and cost recovery
- Separate water generation from water distribution and supply responsibilities as it is now the case with electricity
- Strengthen the maintenance culture and capacity of Guma Valley Water Company
- Encourage rain water harvesting all over the country
Rural Water Supply
- Construct boreholes, gravity water systems and solar water pumping schemes attached to shallow water wells in all villages
- Develop the capacity of Local Councils to effectively handle water supply issues in provincial areas
- Develop capacity of local councils and communities maintenance of water supply facilities
- Improve the coordination of the work of various International agencies and NGOs involved in water provision
- Engage in research and development of alternative water sources such as the harvesting of rain water
- Carry out a study of the needs of urban sanitation and develop a central sewage system to replace pit latrines.
- Enforce the change from pit latrines to Pour Flush or Full Flush in cities
- Re-introduce special cleaning day (last Saturday in a month)
- Strengthen and expand coverage of public-private partnership in garbage collection
- Introduce recycling and incinerator facilities
- Promote waste to energy project
- Re-introduce sanitary inspectors under the supervision of the local councils
- Consider alternatives to use of plastic bags
- Implement a rain water drainage system for the cities with high rainfall.
- Establish rural sanitary inspectorate that will be responsible for sensitising rural communities on improved sanitation practices and monitoring sanitation conditions in rural communities
- Develop and implement a National Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programmes that will promote improved sanitation practices in all villages in Sierra Leone
- Develop the capacities of communities to construct latrines in rural areas
- Improving Information, Communications and Technology (ICT)
An efficient ICT network improves human life and accelerates economic development. This includes telephones and computing, equipment, satellite equipment, right down to a regular television and radio service. Statistics all round the world have proved that countries that take ICT seriously develop faster than others and have improved competitiveness.
Sierratel has performed very badly over the years even though it had a monopoly of the telecommunications sector. In the last decade it was noted as one of the most profitable parastatals. In the aftermath of the war, landline telecommunications technology deteriorated rapidly and is now superseded by mobile networks. Currently, there is only one landline per 200 people compared to approximately 80% of the country under cellular coverage. At present, six mobile telecommunications companies dominate the scene in Sierra Leone and mobile subscription is growing at a pace commensurate with neighbouring countries. Internet usage has also been on the rise, with 5,000 new users from 2,000 in 2005 as telecommunication companies widen their scope of investment in the country. The licensed major internet service providers as of 2011 stood at 18 of which 3 are yet to commence service delivery to the public.
The number of Frequency Modulation (FM) broadcasting radio stations total over 60, including international media houses, the national broadcaster SLBC and commercial, community and religious radio stations. Following the landing of the first ever fibre optic cable in the country in 2013, further boost is anticipated for the sector. This will significantly reduce communication cost to the general public from present prohibitive levels offered by satellite networks for international telephone connections with broadband services. Despite these opportunities, NATCOM does a poor job in regulating the sector. Its operations are far from transparent and is not entirely free from undue political meddling.
The young generation is yearning for new opportunities to interact with their peers in other countries and on a real time basis. Social media has become the order of the day and there is increased demand on data bandwidth to respond to these demands. Although SIERRATEL was recapitalised using external funds, there has not been any marked improvement in the services provided. SIERRATEL is in fact burdened with debt problems and has recently been privatized by means not so transparent. Similarly SALCAB and the Ministry of Telecommunications have landed high speed fibre optics but there has been little improvement in the use of ICT in the country and very little is made public.
Again, because of political meddling, NATCOM’s role as an independent regulator is under threat. It is perceived to be inefficient. Several mobile phone companies have a chequered history of performance and do not provide value for money to consumers. There are also concerns about the non-transparent management of the international telecommunications gateway. The international gateway is still not fully liberalized leading to major losses in income. A monitoring mechanism has been installed to capture all data movement and get maximum benefits.
Under the New Direction the next SLPP Government will ensure that telephony and communications services are improved to such an extent as to contribute significantly to the country’s communications development and at affordable cost to all. More specifically the next SLPP administration will:
- De-politicise NATCOM to enable it carry out its functions efficiently and effectively
- Forge ahead with liberalising the sector, providing good regulation and the enabling business environment to spur the sector forward
- Establish an Electronic Governance system to manage government business electronically
- Increase access by the public, particularly the rural poor, to all aspects of ICT. In particular, the following measures will be adopted:
- Computer training and facilities will be established in Public Libraries, schools and colleges.
- Protect legal documents by establishment of digital storage centres at remote locations.
- Develop IT infrastructure resilience by multiple back up services for all government documents in all ministries, ensuring health records, land records, etc. are secure
- Increase encouragement for setting up of community radio stations
- Increase availability of ICT equipment by providing the requisite incentives
- Science teaching will be encouraged in schools and colleges through focused policies in education. This will lead to a growing pool of technical and scientific labour to create a middle manpower pool nationwide
- Further enhance broadband access across the country, improving rural telecommunications and creating customer choice and affordability
5.5 Improving Lands, Housing and Country Planning
Access to land for the citizenry of any country is not only important it is a fundamental human right. In the case of Sierra Leone, although the land mass is fairly large for its population with 10 persons per sq. km, rapid urbanisation has placed severe constraints on land especially in the capital, Freetown. Wasteful land use practices have also placed constraints on the use of land for alternative purposes.
With 60% of the rural population engaged in subsistence agriculture, using the traditional method of allowing the land to lie fallow for a considerable time, the increasing population imposes constraints to farming in most areas. There is need therefore for more careful planning of land uses, especially in urban areas, where the demand for housing and other infrastructural facilities has severely constrained the limited space. The disputes about land ownership overwhelm the courts often with multiple claimants. Also, land transfers are badly managed by the authorities in the Lands Ministry such that land issues have become overwhelming and contentious and the courts are increasingly inundated with a huge number of unresolved cases. This situation is untenable.
The scarcity of land and the ensuing high costs have made access impossible to more than 60% of the population. This has forced the urban deprived to occupy state lands and become illegal squatters. In some areas, slums have developed and assumed a quasi-legal status from long term occupancy. Several NGOs and MDAs are preoccupied with the attendant problems but without the right institutional framework.
The Provinces Land Act, Cap122 of the Laws of Sierra Leone 1960, imposes two limitations. First, the land tenure system in the Provinces inhibits Provincial land and property being readily accepted as collateral for credit offered by the financial sector. Second, persons who fall into the category of “non natives” are discriminated from owning freehold title in the Provinces.
Thus the land tenure system in Sierra Leone is proving to be huge a impediment to economic development and is therefore in need of urgent reform to make it compatible with the requirements of a modern economy. Land planning and the enforcement of related laws is poor and is also in need of radical reform. Consequently illegal structures abound in many areas. Successive governments have been hamstrung to provide the necessary remedies mainly for political reasons. The effect of such inaction is evident in the congestion, poor planning and severe sanitation problems in many communities.
In the New Direction, the SLPP government will sanitize and reform the land tenure system to make it compatible with the increasing demands of a modern economy and ensure equitable distribution of land and related issues. Other specific policy actions will include:
- Implement the National Lands Policy 2015 ensuring justice for all
- Improve the management of state lands with a view to ensuring equitable distribution
- Develop the capacity of Ministry of Lands and Country Planning to enable it establish branches in all district headquarter towns
- Set up a Lands Court to help speed up the trial of land cases
- Build affordable housing around the country for the underprivileged
- Create Land Banks to ensure availability and affordability
- In consultation with relevant professional bodies including the Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers (SLIE), the Professional Engineers Regulation Council and the Sierra Leone Institute of Architects (SLIA), improve the enforcement of land use planning and building regulations
- Digitize through the use of GPS all plots, streets and roads around the country
- Codify land tenure through a GIS Cadastral system with standard town lots as basic module. All private and state lands will be plotted as multiples of the standard lot.
- Large new and undeveloped areas to be pre-designed with standard lots and access roads prior to selling allowing for the provision of electricity and water services
- Enforce land use zoning system differentiating residential, commercial, industrial and mixed development areas
- Envision the modernization and beautification of the Western Area and particularly the City of Freetown 20 years into the future with multi-storey office and residential accommodation to replace the clusters of old, derelict, shanty, not fit for purpose buildings and create parking and green spaces around them. Flyovers will be built in key locations and critical roadworks in the City widened.
- The SLPP government will facilitate a national debate on land tenure reform consistent with the demands of a modern economy
- Improve the legal framework for leaseholds or gifts of land in the Provinces in order to make them amenable for collateral security and investment
- Revise legislation to remove the “non native” Sierra Leonean nomenclature and its attendant discrimination
- Structure the Land Policy so as to increase the scope for investment and provide for means of having legal redress
- Ensure land is available to all Sierra Leoneans anywhere in Sierra Leone
- Encourage the setting up of Home Finance Institutions
- Set up and enforce standards for building materials
- Encourage large-scale local production of building materials
- Provide fair and affordable access to decent housing to the citizenry either through public or private investments
- Improve access and distribution of imported and locally produced building materials
- Review and enhance the role and capacity of the Sierra Leone Housing Corporation (SALHOC)
- Facilitate access to credit for building and mortgage for regular income and non-regular income earners
- Support rehabilitation programmes for public buildings and state owned quarters nationwide.
- Rehabilitate Police Barracks, Military Barracks and construct new modern multi-storey quarters where necessary
- Support the creation of satellite areas around urban areas for housing major office buildings
- Pursue the feasibility of extending the limits of the capital of Freetown by the construction of a modern toll bridge linking Freetown with Lungi
- Ensure the provision of infrastructure services such as electricity, water supply and roads in new areas before they are developed for housing purposes
- The building of offices outside Freetown by public-private sector collaboration to ease congestion in the Central Business District
- Encourage private ventures to build multi-storey car parks, public toilets and bathing facilities in Towns and Cities by providing lands for such purposes;
- Develop a Land Acquisition Account and commence payments for buildings to be demolished in the planned areas to cover a 10 year period. Such areas will be used for car parks, recreation areas, transports and transit points
- Encourage banks to develop a housing loan fund that permits the construction companies to develop affordable housing
- Increase the width of access roads from 20’ to 30’ in all urban areas for vehicular and pedestrian traffic
- Encourage the creation of greenspaces and on-plot car parking.
5.6Improving Environmental Management
The country’s natural environment must be utilized to support the basic necessities of life of citizens, economic activity and security against climate change, natural health service as well as the foundation for cultural identity. Deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change, poor sanitation and waste management, land degradation and soil nutrient depletion, pollution caused by mining activities, all affect our daily lives and the ecosystem and services. These are all major environmental, economic and social challenges facing Sierra Leone today impacting national sustainable development, in particular, poverty reduction, improving health and education and increasing food security.
Climate change tends to undermine or reverse progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. A change in climate affects people, flora and fauna, ecosystems, food production, availability and use of water, and health status and can increase the frequency and intensity of natural hazards. Climate change affects the poor and rich alike, men and women especially in the fishing and farming communities, because they depend so much on climate sensitive natural resources. Women are likely to be the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in their multiple roles as food producers, providers and economic actors. In some places, floods and/or drought could easily severely impact on agricultural livelihoods, human life, especially those living in urban slums and flood plains.
In the rural areas, the major environmental degradation is caused by deforestation as a result of logging, fuel wood production and environmental pollution caused by mining activities and companies engaged in biofuel production. In urban areas, particularly Freetown, the key environmental degradation stems from deforestation of hillsides mainly for housing construction and fuel wood production leading to soil erosion and poor sanitation as a result of poor waste management.
Sierra Leone is presently ranked at the bottom of the Environmental Performance Index (163 out of 163 countries in 2010) indicating phenomenal regression since the end of the civil war. Budgetary allocation to key natural resource management sectors has remained inadequate. For example, the Government allocated the equivalent of a meagre budget of $110,000 to the Forestry Division in 2011 for the protection of all 48 forest reserves across the country. The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) reports that Sierra Leone currently loses the value of approx. US$29 million per year due to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) activities;
Sierra Leone is also ranked 158 out of 182 countries in terms of vulnerability to climate change, according to the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index. The 2013 Verisk Maplecroft Index ranks the country the 3rd most vulnerable to climate change in the world (or the 3rd country in the world with the least capacity to respond or adapt to environmental change). 13% of the country’s area and more than 35% of the population are at risk to disasters. In the last 15 years, 4 major floods have affected 220,000 people and caused severe loss and economic damage. There are two major (waste) dump sites but less than half of the 500-600 tons of solid waste (household, medical, hazardous, and toxic waste) produced in Freetown reach these sites for proper disposal.
In 2008, the Environment Protection Agency Act (hereinafter referred to as EPA Act) was passed giving the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment policy guidance and directional functions while the regulatory functions were passed to the Agency. However, the Minister is still in charge of the Agency whose Board is supervised by the Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment. In 2010, the 2008 Act was amended to completely change the governance mechanism of the Environment Sector. It removed all Government Ministries previously on the Board, transferred its supervision to the Office of the President and changed the title of the Chairman of the Board to Executive Chairman and Professional Head of the Agency. The Director of the Department previously the Secretary to the Board was also expunged from the Agency. All in all, the EPA has been generally dysfunctional without any effective collaboration and co-ordination between itself and the many MDAs so essential for the proper observance and implementation of environmental regulations.
Another abject failure of the APC government is its inability to design and operationalise a sustainable financing mechanism for the forestry sector. More than 80% of projects and programmes in the sector are donor-funded and funds are seldom utilised due to mismanagement and corruption. A classic case is the REDD+ capacity building project, previously implemented by NPAA and funded by the EU, whose Executive Director and two senior staff were suspended and charged with corruption offences. Another example is the so-called strategic plan for forestry for which no funds were allocated for forest conservation from 2012 to 2014. Similarly the ban on logging has been flouted with rank impunity as testified by both local and international media pointing to the never-ending illegal logging and exportation by associates of high APC government officials.
Moreover, there is so much discernible overlapping with regard to environmental management between MDAs like the NPAA, EPA, Meteorological Department, Department of Environment in the MLCPE and the Disaster Management Department (DMD) that the synergy between them is hardly noticeable. Neither have there been any recent environmental studies (e.g. on early warning and disaster preparedness) upon which sound decision making could be based to improve ecosystems and resources. The situation is also compounded by the lack of general public awareness of the value of environmental resources to community and ecosystem health as well as the need for regulation enforcement, as human settlements continue to sprawl into protected areas and mangrove sites continue to be sold for beach resort development in Freetown.
The overall objective in the New Direction is to protect the environment. Specifically, the policy actions will focus on (i) environmental governance; (ii) managing forest resources; (iii) ecosystem conservation and (iv) environmental education.
- Environmental Governance
- Review the EPA 2010 Act
- Revise the Agriculture Policy, Energy Policy and the Forestry Policy to incorporate measures that will halt, reverse and minimize land degradation
- Monitor industrial establishments for compliance with environmental laws and regulations
- Establish independent agencies for disaster management and meteorology to improve the knowledge base and expand actions for early warning and disaster risk reduction
- Develop a flood risk management strategy as part of a more ambitious, robust, and adaptive environment and natural resources management policy and strategic plan
- Develop a climate change policy and strategy and a work programme for country-wide adaptation and resilience to climate change
- Ensure environmental sustainabilityof development policies, programmes and projects at national and local level by mainstreaming environmental issues across sectors particularly agriculture, energy, infrastructure, industry, decentralization, finance and planning
- Develop action plans for and fully implement all Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)
- Build institutional capacity to improve sectoral programming and coordination, sustainable financing, and effective financial management
- Establish a National Environment Fund and an environmental court to help with resource mobilization and environmental litigation;
- Sustainably Managing Forest Resources
- Develop a national programme for the regeneration and shared management of forest cover and related products
- Provide alternatives to wood and biomass products for energy sources and promote agro-forestry
- Propose and operationalize a sustainable financing mechanism, including a benefit sharing mechanism for trade in carbon
- Strengthen public-private partnerships for forest conservation, especially the establishment of woodlots and commodification of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs)
- Develop the capacity of the Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security for planning, programme design and monitoring
- Revise the Forestry and Wildlife Acts of 2015 to harmonize them with best practices for adaptive collaborative forest governance across the region and promote Adaptive Collaborative Management (ACM) at all levels of forest management in the sector
- Adequately enforce laws and policies to protect forests and designate new areas for conservation and ecological tourism
- Promote research into forest ecosystems and biodiversity to quantify, document and disseminate the contribution of the forestry sub-sector to the national economy, and enhance the sub-sector’s position within national economic and sustainable development priorities; and
- Facilitate transboundary cooperation to transboundary forest resources management and policy harmonization;
- Ecosystem Conservation
- Adequately protect biodiversity hotspots and fragile ecosystems
- Ensure that all major mining companies and industrial establishments carry out Environmental Impact Assessments and take mitigating measures for damage caused by their operations as required by law and corporate social responsibility
- Ensure that all major mining companies and industrial establishments carry out SEAs and EIAs to make sure appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures are taken before, during and after relevant processes
- Ratify and respect the provisions of various Conventions on the Environment and Climate Change
- Ensure that environmental matters are given priority in decision making on allocation of lands for various purposes. The issue of alternative land use, taking environmental damage into consideration, will be included in such decision making processes
- Give priority to energy use and conservation
- Emphasise the use of modern forms of energy to encourage a shift from the use of wood fuel as a major source of energy
iv. Environmental Education
- Intensify education and information campaigns to reduce practices harmful to the environment
- Support the teaching of Environmental matters in the curricula of schools, colleges and universities
FINANCING THE NEW DIRECTION
The obvious question is how we intend to finance this ambitious plan. Whilst we shall continue to look forward to external support, it is imperative that we rely primarily on domestic revenue. In the medium term (2018-2023), we shall reduce the persistent budget deficit and even generate surplus through our revenue mobilisation strategy and expenditure control measures. In addition to budgetary resources and external aid (loans and grants) through traditional sources, we will finance our programmes from public-private-partnership, Diaspora bonds, carbon trading and South-South cooperation.
At present, it is estimated that the total shortfall in domestic revenue is Le2.5 trillion or about 7.0% of GDP. Also, estimates from the 2017 budget shows that if domestic revenue to GDP ratio increases from 12.1% in 2017 to 13.3% in 2018, a total additional revenue of Le1.028 trillion(equivalent to US$137.1 million) will be raised. When domestic revenue GDP ratio further rises to 14.6% in 2019, additional revenue of US$132.56 million will be generated and when it rises to 15.4% in 2020, additional revenue of Le 1.18 trillion or equivalent to US$157.06 will be raised. As it is, due to excessive duty and tax waivers, the APC Government cannot live up to their commitment to achieve the revenue targets. We have also seen that the current APC Government have over the years embarked on expansive and unsustainable expenditures underpinned by uncontrollable fiscal indiscipline resulting in mounting public debt and raising domestic revenue GDP ratio to 20% within three years. This will obviously expand the fiscal space for public spending on priority programmes. Thus, just by reallocating public spending, we can finance our core programmes from domestic resources. When we mobilise additional external resources from development partners, there will be sufficient resources to implement our core programmes.
In the New Direction, one of our flagship programmes is free primary and secondary education. This will be funded through mobilizing more domestic resources and undertaking disciplined expenditure measures. These are discussed below, including the indicative cost of the free education programme.
6.2: Indicative Costs
The costs of the Flagship programme are indicative and will be reviewed annually. Our analysis shows that the unit cost per pupil per year is about US$51(equivalent to Le380,000) covering tuition, core text books, uniforms and other learning materials and with projected total enrolment of 2,090,385 pupils over a five-year period based on 2016 Annual School Census figures, we will require Le115 billion in 2018, Le126 Billion in 2019 and Le 140 Billion in 2020. This estimate will increase at an average of 10% consistent with the school enrolment rate.
TABLE 1: SCHOOL EXPENDITURE PER CHILD PER YEAR
|Expenditure Category||Cost (Leone)||Cost in US$|
|* Social Science|
|* Integrated Science|
|* Exercise Books|
|Two sets of uniform & shoes||75,000||10.5|
|Other learning materials||80,000||10.5|
6.3 Measures to Mobilise Additional Revenue
Our broad strategy is therefore to push for better taxation collection rather than imposing new taxation. We commit to increase domestic revenue to 20% over 3 years. Such efforts hold the potential to stimulate growth and investment whilst also allowing for increased levels of tax collection.Specifically, the following shall be the focus:
- We intend to reduce these waivers by at least 50% in the first two years and level around 25-30% in 3rd to 5th These alone will provide additional revenue of around Le150 billion per year.
- All holders of elective office and political appointees including the President and Vice President will pay tax on their earnings to ensure fairness in the tax system. This will generate additional taxes of at least Le15.0 billion per year.
- We will implement ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) fully like in other countries, generating additional resources of about Le35.0 billion yearly.
- Implement without delay the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system that would allow Government to aggregate receipts from all government sources in order to give a better oversight of public finances, improve cash management and reduce reliance on bank financing.
- Implement the Carbon Trade facility; this will yield an estimated annual revenue of US$60.0 million or Le450.0 billion
6.4 Measures to Control Expenditure
Control of the Wage Bill
Uncontrolled wages and salaries caused by bloated public sector through presidential appointments and establishment of commissions that largely usurp the line Ministries’ functions, unregulated wage increases, double or triple dipping of salaries and pension as well as uncoordinated recruitment across the public sector.
If we are to restore credibility to the service, we must coordinate the wage bill. If we are to enhance staff moral and improve on service delivery, we must control the wage bill. Wages and Salaries must be harmonized on the basis of fairness and equity in the use of public resources. A commissioner or a director or director general must have an aligned appropriate grading within the civil service comparable to other public sector workers, payroll verification exercise between Government and NASSIT, public sector workers on Government payroll will be assigned biometric photos and personalized pin codes linked to NASSIT numbers. These measures, when implemented will lead to substantial savings to finance our programs. This will provide substantial savings to the Budget.
Goods and Services
The goods and services expenditures are mainly recurrent expenditures, wages and salaries and debt service payments. They include vehicles, utilities (telecom, electricity, water facilities, housing), travels, procurement of drugs and medical supplies. This is where we have very large leakages and unbudgeted expenditures. These are the areas that should be tackled decisively to make the required savings for financing poverty related activities.
Procurement and Maintenance of Vehicles
It is reported there are 100,000 vehicles registered by Government and related institutions. These exclude those registered under parastatals using private number plates. The purchasing cost of the vehicles, which are mainly SUVs, is around $65,000 to $110,000 each (Government prices). First problem, the vehicles are excessively overpriced.For example, a V6 Land Cruiser or Prado costs Government around Le660 million for 5 years covering high purchase price, customs duty/tax waiver/insurance and repairs. V8 Toyota Land Cruiser will cost Government Le1.09 billion in 5 years. We estimate that 10,000 vehicles cost is around Le6.6 trillion. Reducing this cost by at least 50% will make Le3.3 trillion in 5 years.
Concrete measures will include reducing spending on purchase of V8 vehicles, introducing pool vehicle system in the public sector; staff bus service for junior workers and vehicle loan system for certain categories of public sector workers.
Reduce Cost on Travelling
Over the last 10 years, overseas travel was an expanding Government area. Despite the cosmetic austerity measures, reports show that the travel budget after austerity is higher than the pre-austerity period. For example, the attendance of the President to UN, AU or ECOWAS Summits cost over Le4.0 billion in each case. Overseas travel expenses across the MDAs are uncontrollably higher, estimated at over Le250 billion or more than $30 million a year.
We recognize that it may be impossible to reduce overseas travel to zero. However, in order to to make savings the following measures will be adopted:
- Government delegations will be reduced or streamlined to the minimum-value for money travels
- Quarterly budget performance report on the outcomes compared to estimates of MDAs will be published
- Use of Sierra Leonediplomatic missions to represent Government except where there are unavoidable statutory meetings that lead to net economic benefits
- Adopt travel policy across Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) on ticketing, travel per diem computation, categories of class of travel for each category of staff.