February 21, 2020
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Executive Director of the Institute for Governance Reforms (IGR), Andrew Lavalie, has urged the government of President Julius Maada Bio to declare performance target and to allocate resources to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) as he declares 2020 as a year of delivery in the country.
Andrew Lavalie made the above call on Wednesday 19th, February, whilst launching the 13th Edition of the Critical Perspective of Governance report titled “2020 year of delivery for Sierra Leone, but what are the performance indicators ,‘’ at the IGR headquarters on Wilkinson Road in Freetown.
Giving an overview of the report, he said in almost all government sectors across the country, financial investment has increased in the last 10 years, yet productivity levels are significantly lower than the years before the war.
“For instance, Government of Sierra Leone and its donor partners spent at least US$60 million per annum on agriculture between 2009 to 2019, yet productivity levels for rice stands at 1.13 million tonnes in 2018 compared to 2.7 million tonnes per annum in 1970. The same underperformance is reflected in investments in education and health, where Sierra Leone is reporting some of the worst human development indicators in the world,’’ he said.
He further said that despite those challenges, a blame game between the two political parties-the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party(SLPP) and the All People’s Congress(APC)- has persistently prevented elites from taking the country’s problem in their hands and tackling the root causes of state failure and underperformance.
“However, 2020 provides an opportunity to make a break with the past . President Bio has declared 2020 the year of delivery following the read of the 2020 budget (SL9.3 trillion -nearly US$1 Bn).At the opening of the third cabinet Retreat at the Bintumani Conference, he called on ministers and civil servants to focus on results. However, it’s now five weeks since the big declaration of year of delivery, unless concrete steps are taken to change business as usual with true commitment to attacking partisan politics and policies that enrich the few,’’ Lavalie said.
Lavalie went on to say that as the president has declared this year, a year of delivery , what they were asking for was that the government should give the people of Sierra Leone their target, to see what they wanted to deliver.
“The report concluded with four point reflections on how the government can mobilise the country to achieve on its year of delivery, that there should be recognition that the present divisive politics undermines performance and prevents institutional leaders from effectively developing and utilising the potential of every Sierra Leonean.
It added that this decision was starkly seen in the rhetoric of many current officials who present the root causes of state failure and underperformance as an APC collective guilt and an SLPP collective innocenc.
The IGR boss added that as part of their recommendations, there should be a national ownership and leadership on delivery indicators to send out a message that donor efforts, while valuable, are not enough condition for development focusing on results.
“Publicly declaring and displaying short term targets and budgets will not only minimise waste but help manage expectations and build trust amongst a population that has generally viewed politicians with suspicion and lacking transparency,’’ he said.