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As P’ment approves $1m grant agreement…

Opposition MP Cautions Ministers to consider Local Content

August 10, 2020

By Jariatu S. Bangura

Main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) Member of Parliament representing Constituency 48 in the Tonkolili District has on Friday cautioned the Minister of Finance and others to always take into consideration the country’s laws before signing loan and grant agreement on behalf of implementing agencies.

The one million United States Dollars project implementation agreement was signed between the Republic of Sierra Leone, the African Development Bank and the African Development Fund (as administrators of the transition support facility) and support to investment promotion agencies in transition countries.

Hon. Aaron Koroma of the APC commended the Ministry of Finance for going in for such agreement, stating that in most cases when grants are implemented, it lessens the burden on the interested country.

He reiterated that the country now has Local Content Agency hence it behoves ministers to consult implementing agencies before they go in for grant or loan.

He cited a certain clause in the agreement that provides for the contracting of an international consulting firm, failing to take into consideration that the country has competent individuals to take up such position.

He said $1.113m would be paid to the said international consultant as fees, a development he said does not augur well for the country.

In her presentation, Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Patricia Lavaley, said the grant agreement will benefit the country because it will provide support through outreach and training, facilitation and training activities for the Sierra Leone Import and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) to be efficient and make the country be attractive to investors across the globe.

She said the agreement will also create employment opportunities particularly for the youth and contribute to national development and growth.

On the question of localizing the consultancy for the would be project, she said synergy between the Local Content Agency and SLIEPA will be strengthened  and that the project will help create jobs and also strengthen the private sector.

She said the project will not be implemented without local content, stating that an African consultant would be contracted because it is a pilot project that would also be implemented in Liberia and the Gambia respectively.

Leader of the Coalition for Change (C4C), Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina,said the agreement is not controversial but very  necessary for  the country to have such grant.

“I am aware that our country has been transitioning from colonial rule to self-rule, from war to peace and from disease, and we are still fighting and having such grants agreement for diversification is very important as it will help boom the economy,” he said.