November 12, 2019
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Members of Parliament have enacted the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) bill into law in order to create a substantive existence rather than reviewing it after every ten years.
The bill was geared towards repealing and replacing of the 2001 and 2008 Act respectively, to be responsible for the promotion and implementation of community based-sustainable social protection and development programmes and to provide for other related matters.
The bill was committed on Tuesday 5th November to the committees of Legislative and National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) for thorough scrutiny on the grounds that there should be no need to create an office under the supervision of the Vice President instead of the President.
During the legislative session, 14 members of the committee voted against the establishment of NaCSA under the Office of the Vice President for supervision, stating that there has been no bill or any precedent that has been enacted by Parliament as such.
Also, Members of Parliament argued that board members should not arrange their numeration, fees and allowances, but rather it must be proposed and approved by the President.
According to the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mohamed Sidie Tunis, NaCSA is a multilateral stakeholders institution that comprises Ministries, Departments and Agencies, paramount chiefs, civil societies to name but a few, which the president thought it wise to have a superior office that would supervise it.
He said the Office of the Vice President also provides supervision for the Millennium Challenge Corporation Unit, the Public Private Partnership and many more, noting that NaCSA will not be an exception.
He said the President is determined to give the Vice President a space by giving him a role to play, noting that mere support staff will not be enough for the VP.
He said considering the workload on the president, there was need to segregate powers, hence urged members to accept the designation of the VP as indicated in the bill.
Leader of the National Grand Coalition, Hon. Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, said if powers should be given to the Vice President, it should not be enshrined in the NaCSA bill as there has never been any of such.
“I see no need why the powers that should be given to the Vice President should be enshrined in this bill as there has never been any precedent. We want evidence to show us that such has happened. The office of the minister should be respected. We don’t want to see another situation wherein orders will not be taken from the minister. We have seen NRA Director General refused to take directives from the Minister of Finance and also RMFA Executive Officer refuses to take orders from the Minister of Works, we don’t want a repeat of such situation,” he said.
He stated that the President is free to give orders to anyone at any time, but that the respective ministers should be given the role to supervise NaCSA and not the Vice President.
He added that officials of NaCSA should take directives from the grassroots.
Independent Member of Parliament, Hon. Shiaka M. Sama, said in most part of Africa, the role of the Vice President is active only when he President is out of jurisdiction, which, he said was not good considering the fact that they are paid with tax payers money.
He said the VP is a focal person to the President hence should be empowered to do more work and not be limited.