MCC engages civil society groups


February 23, 2017 By Victoria Naomi Saffa

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Unit has last week engaged civil society groups on the country’s scorecard.

The MCC threshold program focuses on addressing two of the four constraints identified in Sierra Leone’s constraints analysis.  These include lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity and the lack of access to clean water and sanitation.

The overall objective of the threshold is the qualification for the MCC Unit scorecard as well as to strengthen the financial viability of the electricity and water sectors.

Addressing civil society groups present at the meeting, Chief Executive Officer, MCC Unit, Ndeye Fatu Koroma, said the program seeks to establish effective and independent regulation of the water and electricity sector, including a framework for transparent tariff and improve sector, delineating institutional roles and responsibilities.

“It also to improve commercial practices, operational independence, and planning capacity in water and electricity sector institutions through targeted technical assistance and capacity building,” she noted.

 Koroma said the MCC scorecard presents information on a country’s performance across twenty indicators that are assessed by credible and independent third party institutions in the areas of ruling justly, economic freedom, and investing in people.

She noted that those indicators have broad country coverage, cross-country comparability and broad country consistency in result from year to year, as well as linkages to economic growth, poverty reduction, and government policies, adding that the scorecard is used to select countries that pass 10 out of the 20 indicators including that hard hurdle of control of corruption and the democratic right indicators for a compact.

She said Sierra Leone has not been able to qualify for the compact on the note that the country has only been able to achieve six indicators out of twenty and that even with the achievement of a number of indicators, she noted  that such was not enough if the country fail on corruption.

She said a number of progress have been made but most of the surveys done were based on perception, adding that “the perception about corruption and many other issues in the country present a negative picture about what is happening in the country and until we change those narratives it will be difficult for us to win the compact. People’s perception about corruption is still negative, and this is something we need to change.”

The MCCU Chief Executive Officer noted that there was need to identify constructive avenues to engage the government of Sierra Leone on challenges related to the scorecard, use indicators as outcomes on relevant programs, logical framework as a tool to contribute to national development.

She said civil society also needed to collaborate with government on communication strategy to engage citizens on the impact of the indicators on the national agenda especially, on control of corruption.

Abu Bakarr Kamara from the Budget Advocacy Network (BAN), in his response, said government needed to act on recommendations made over the years, especially in the area of the auditor General’s report.

He said the report comes out every year with recommendations but little or nothing has been done to address the problems.

“The audit report remains the same every year and nobody seems to be held accountable to the short falls. These are issues government need to address, and by that, we will be able to score more and achieve the indictors that will qualify the country for the compact,” he said.

“As a unit, you also need to engage civil society groups on thematic areas, and, by this, they will be able to engage government on monitoring of activities that will address a number of issues. There is also a problem with our law making body and until we fix our parliament much will not be achieved.”