As 2019 fiscal year budget hearing commences…


Finance Minister says gov’t payroll to be harmonised  

September 13, 2018

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Minister of Finance J.J. Saffa

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development yesterday spoke about government’s determination to harmonise the payroll apparently after discovering lot of disparities in the system.

Jacob Jusu Saffa was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2019 budget hearing discussions, which is being hosted at the Bank of Sierra Leone complex in Freetown.

The two-week long process will enable key stakeholders to discuss and agree on policies that would guide resource allocations to various ministries departments and agencies for the next financial year.

Heads of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and parastatals will be required to present their proposals for expenditure and also explain how funds allocated to them for projects during the previous year were spent.

In his statement, Mr. Saffa disclosed that a biometric verification of all public servants on government payroll would be carried out as the first step towards the cleaning up and harmonisation of the entire system.

“We are going to harmonise the payroll. We have noticed lots of disparities. Salaries of some government workers are demotivating,” he said.

Recognising the urgent need to deliver performance in the area of domestic revenue mobilisation to finance the country’s physical and social infrastructure, the minister said a revenue mobilisation strategy would be developed in collaboration with development partners to help support domestic revenue mobilisation.

Mr. Saffa opined that as the government is poised to improve accountability, a lot of reforms would be made and reckoned that some could be bitter.

According to him, some reforms have already been resisted but assured that they were prepared for the fight as long as it is in the interest of the country and the framework of the law.

“Efforts will be made to improve on the adequacy, timeliness and predictability of transfers to local councils during the 2019 budget implementation. Actions will also be taken to support own revenue mobilisation at local levels and integration of local revenue with central government revenue to enable reporting of general government revenue,” he said.

He added that the Auditor-General’s office would be strengthened to ensure monies disbursed are properly accounted for by recipients.

Also speaking, Chief Minister Professor David J. Francis highlighted education, the economy, agriculture, health, energy, governance, water and security as the core priorities that will be driving the ‘New Direction’ agenda forward for the next five years.

He urged all MDAs to align programmes in their 2019 budget to the eight key priorities of the government in the ‘New Direction’ agenda.

He noted that all ministries were required to submit a year’s work plan, which would be used as performance management for five years as well as bankable projects to ensure the success of the ‘New Direction.’

“We want to transform Sierra Leone as the most successful model in West Africa. Let me assure you that we have the credible and experienced team to lead the change and transformation of this country,” he said.

On his part, Deputy Chairman of Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Finance, Hon. Moses A. Edwin, stated that it was the business of Parliament to prescribe the procedures of the presentation of the appropriation bill as provided for in the 1991 Constitution.

He reminded the Ministry of Finance that the state budget should be laid before the House of Parliament two months before the beginning of the financial year.

“Vault controllers of the various MDAs are required to provide the status of all projects or activities undertaken with the related costs for the period under review,” he said.