September 23, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has spoken about the need for a new dimension in decentralization process by moving it from one that is excessively dependent on the central government to a process that is partial dependent, particularly when it comes to revenue mobilization and management.
“Decentralization could only work effectively if local councils have the capacity to mobilize resources and manage them very well. We have tried as a government to revitalize the institutional processes to make decentralization work,” he said.
The Vice President was speaking at the Bank of Sierra Leone Complex on Friday September 20, during the opening of a two-day workshop organized by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry on enhancing efficient revenue mobilization in local councils.
The workshop was intended to ensure that service delivery is effective at the local level with viable councils that are capable of delivering those services.
Dr. Jalloh stressed the need for councils to review or rethink a methodological shift as far too long, they have been doing business the same way by overtly dependent on government transfers.
He urged them to think about building local strategic partnerships around resource mobilization and strike a balance between dependent on government transfers and the capacity to mobilize and generate resources so that when revenue is bolster, it makes way for independence.
He stated that government was in the process of reviewing the legal framework, including the Local Government Act of 2004 and the Decentralization Policy which will no doubt enable them to define the functional roles of local and chiefdom councils to address some of the policy, administrative and management gaps.
“Let me emphasise that this government is serious about decentralization. We want to make it work because if you have viable social and ambitious programs, you need resources to move them but equally so effective management at the local level to drive them,” the vice president noted.
Earlier, Local Government Minister, Ambassador Tamba Lamina said the issue of revenue allocation, mobilization and administration has been at the center of many of the discussions he has had with local councils and chiefdoms.
He stated that funds disbursed to local councils for devolved functions are tied with the law and that has restricted local councils as these sector allocations may not necessarily correspond to local priorities
“Therefore, Sourcing out revenue is critical to enhancing the performance of both local and chiefdom councils. There has to be creative ways in raising revenue for local development,” he said.
He added that part of the constraint to home revenue mobilization is the weak relationship between the local and chiefdom councils.
Finance Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa stated that the government will not tolerate any resistant to decentralization as they will physically decentralized by providing the necessary funds and resources.
“The reliance on government transfers by local councils is not helping service delivery at the local level. Even the central government monies are not enough and so we have to generate more at the local level to support service delivery,” he said.
He maintained that whilst government remained committed to decentralization generally, local councils are required to make maximum effort to fully maximize their revenue potentials.
He added that strong local councils are vital in the delivery of service to their people in a more effective and efficient manner in supporting local economic development.