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As budget hearing/discussions commences

VP demands seriousness from MDAs

September 26, 2019

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

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Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh

Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh yesterday urged Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to treat the national policy hearing and budget discussions seriously because it is the first step to link resources to policy outcomes.

“This budget hearing is critical to all stakeholders involved in the budget development process in order to arrive at a budget that is credible. I therefore urged all MDAs to fully corporate with the ministry of finance who stands ready to provide the support required to match your policies and budget plans with the national development objectives,” he said.

He was speaking at the Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown during the official opening of the 2020 national policy hearing and budget discussions, where he urged MDAs to attend the slated sessions on time.

He stated that the hearing provides a potential entry point for MDAs to outline their programs, showcase their relevance, specifically as it relates to the overall New Direction human capital focus.

He reminded them that the budget discussions is an opportunity to lay out their policies and budget plans, aims specifically at assisting the government to achieve economic growth and development.

He said budget discussions help in setting the stage for the start of the consultative process for developing the document for the financial year 2020, adding that the budget development process has immense implications on the execution and management of the budget.

“It did not come as a surprise to us that the theme for the 2020 budget is ‘fiscal consolidation for job creation and human capital development’. Youth unemployment and low human capital development are major challenges in Sierra Leone and government remains committed to tackle them as they are vital to the development prospects of our country,” Dr. Jalloh stated.

He disclosed that in the 2020 budget, they hope to efficiently allocate resources and fund policies and projects, aimed at improving human capital development, while at the same time create jobs for vulnerable groups, especially the youth.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Finance, Hon. Francis Kai Samba stated that over the years, they have had concerns from MDAs with regards late payment of allocations, which many a time disrupts their implementation of set activities.

He said as a parliament, they are expecting the finance ministry to prioritize the payment of allocations to MDAs so that the required services can be provided on time.

“We expect sincerity, accountability and the prudent use of funds allocated from MDAs. Once you collect these allocations, they are meant for the provision of services to the people. You ensure that your programs and projects reach the intended beneficiaries,” he urged.

He spoke about the current economic trend and the reasons responsible for that and the strides government is making to ensure they woo international organizations for better services delivery.

On his part, Finance Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa said: “Budget discussions and preparations are the heart of government. This is what makes Sierra Leone moves forward or backward. The budget process usually starts with issuing circulars to ministries and they are required to make submissions to us.”

He said while human capital development will continue to be a main focus of the government; they are looking at job creating sectors to ensure that additional jobs are created for especially the youth.