May 19, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED), with support from the World Bank Innovation Unit, has geo-coded at least 200 local and international aid projects that are being implemented across the country, as a way of ensuring data transparency and for citizens to have quick access to information with respect to the projects, according to lead Project Officer at the Innovation Unit, Robert Baker.
Baker, who paid a visit to the country last week, made the disclosure while meeting with workers at the Development Assistance and Coordination Office (DACO) in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
MoFED has also dedicated a desk to geo-coding as well as trained several officers to carry out the coding.
According to Baker, the project was part of a national registry which had been established to monitor and investigate all aids and grants to the country in a bid to enhance transparency.
He said geo-coding the projects meant that people would now be inclined to know the exact amount of aids and grants sent to the country and compare them with local implementation budget to determine whether the exact projects were being implemented.
He revealed that all the data were now available to the public, while plans were underway to train and geo-code more projects in the country, especially in the mining and agricultural sectors, in order that the public would be able to carry out an independent assessment of lease agreements and other payments made from private operating bodies.
A local consultant for the World Bank in Freetown, Peter Kaindeneh, said that as a result of the exercise, DACO was now able to track down most international projects undertaken in the country, noting that the issue of transparency and accountability was among the main reasons the process was initiated.
He promised that the World Bank would explore other areas to build and deepen relationships.