State House Chief Legal Adviser says extractive sector is challenged
December 22, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Multi-Stakeholder Group of the Sierra Leone Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative has in collaboration with the National Advocacy Coalition on Extractive (NACE) validated the draft policy of SLEITI.
The validation of the policy, which seeks to address issues that characterised the operation of SLEITI, was hosted at the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown, with representatives from civil society, mining companies and parliamentarians in attendance.
During the opening of the validation on Monday (December 19), Legal Adviser in the Office of the Chief of Staff at State House, Ibrahim Yusuf Bangura stated that the extractive sector was very much challenged despite the opportunities.
He said benefits from the industry would only come to reality when the government, mining companies, local communities where mining activities take place and civil society organisations work collectively.
“The extractive sector presents many challenges and opportunities not only in Sierra Leone but also around the world. In Sierra Leone, the opportunities could outweigh the problems if we are committed to getting the management, governance and scrutiny of the sector right,” he said.
According to him, whilst the development of an EITI policy and law was not a mandatory requirement, countries were allowed to look into their local circumstances and determine the kind of environment they would need to create in order to sustain their EITI process.
“We need a SLEITI policy to begin with what will address the potential challenges that could arise. We have a chance this year to take some steps to strengthen the governance of the sector and effectiveness of SLEITI,” Mr. Bangura noted.
Also, Andrew Keili, who presented the draft policy, stated that there was need for a public understanding of government revenues and expenditure, as well as enhancing public financial management and accountability.
He noted that the ineffective communication channels between the state, mining companies and host communities were responsible for some of the challenges faced in the sector.