January 25, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development has strongly warned project managers in government ministries, departments and agencies to follow due process to obtain in public procurement and financial management.
Momodu L. Kargbo made the warning during the official launch of a project titled: “Smallholder Commercialization and Agribusiness Development Project (SCADeP)” at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown on Friday, January 20, 2017.
The five year project, which is being funded by the World Bank and the British Department for International Development (DFID) will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security and other line ministries.
Kargbo slammed what he referred to as “ineligible expenditures” by project coordinators, in that monies were being spent in a way that was not in conformity with project directives, urging that such trend should stop.
According to him, his ministry was often inundated with payment requests for ineligible expenditures due mainly to the reluctance of project managers to follow due process and laid down procedures in public procurement and financial management.
He also warned that he would be going through all withdrawals before appending his signature and in some instances, and that he would refuse to sign those with discrepancies.
The Finance Minister maintained that the agricultural sector was critical to the maintenance of a stable economy, noting that the country had been spending a significant proportion of its foreign expenditure earnings on the importation of food.
He opined that a major contributing factor to high inflation in the country was the increasing costs of basic food items, most of which are imported, mainly because domestic production was either inadequate or in most cases lacking.
He cautioned project managers as well as implementing agencies of the SCADeP project to exercise prudence in managing the finances of the project.