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As donors speak tough on corruption…

Koroma promises transparency in Ebola recovery implementation

July 27, 2015 By Alusine Sesay

Marshall Elliot from the UK Department for International Development (DfID) last Friday emphatically warned the Government of Sierra Leone against corruption, which he said could lead to non-fulfillment on pledges made recently to boost the country’s post-Ebola recovery plan. He was speaking at the launch of the post-Ebola recovery plan for Sierra Leone at the Miatta conference hall in Freetown.

The plan prioritizes four thematic areas: health, education, social protection and private sector development.

Marshall, however, commended the response mechanism of the country, which he observed was unique, with structures well coordinated from the presidency to community levels.

He called on the government to maintain such formula in the implementation of the recovery process.

Also, World Bank Country Manager, Francis Ato Brown, called on the government to eschew any inclination for corruption in the implementation of the recovery plan.

“You should curtail corruption and corruption perception so as to effectively implement the recovery plan and push the development of the country forward,” Brown said.

According to him, the plan would be as good as its implementation hence effective action was needed, while the government needed to work in tandem with all development partners.

He urged the government to consider the removal of trade barriers and increase access to finance and fully involve the private sector in the recovery process.

He expressed optimism that Sierra Leone would triumph in her struggle and that the World Bank would stand by the country to support the recovery process.

Delivering his keynote address at the ceremony, President Ernest Bai Koroma noted that the implementation of the plan would be purely based on mutual accountability, which he said would be the key watchword that should be taken into consideration by all and sundry.

“Nothing must be hidden and all must be accountable. Donor partners should ensure that partners they fund are directed in that direction,” said President Koroma. “We are committed to effective coordination and all ministries, departments and agencies should work in a transparent manner to fully deliver the recovery plan.”

He noted that delivery on the plan would be a matter of life and death, and that he has set up a delivery team at State House to ensure the plan was fully implemented.

He thanked donor partners and the international community for their support in the fight against Ebola, adding that access to energy and water would highly be prioritized in the next two years.

Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, Saidu Conton Sesay, did a presentation on the recovery plan and noted that the country has recognized the devastating effect of the Ebola virus disease as everyone has had a share of the impact, either directly or indirectly.

He also noted that although the country was still struggling to defeat Ebola, recovery process aimed at enhancing delivery in all the targeted priority areas should rather commence as soon as possible.

Mr. Sesay also mentioned the establishment of a delivery team that would be facilitating the implementation of the process at all levels, and that the approach would improve delivery in all sectors, thus allaying the fears of local councils that their position and functions would not be usurped during the process.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Centre, Retired Major Alfred Paolo Conteh, assured the gathering that the country would soon put Ebola behind and forge ahead with development.

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