May 13, 2019
By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
The Director of the National Authorizing Office (NAO), Amy Myers, has last Friday explained to journalists at their Tower Hill office how €376 million (about Le300 billion) European Union (EU) funds were expended on various projects across the country.
The NAO is a support unit to the National Authorising Officer, who is the Minister of Economic Development. The position is a creation of the cooperation agreement between EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP).
According to the Director, the office supports the minister in the operational activities of the coordination and supervision of schemes financed by the EU through the European Development Fund (EDF)
Madam Myers said the funding was as a result of the ACP-EU 20 years partnership agreement signed in Cotonou in June 2000 to support 79 developing countries in the ACP, adding that the agreement is due to expire in February 2020, but that negotiations for new contract were in the pipeline.
She stated that the EDF is the main hub for providing development support to ACP countries, thus noting that the multi-annual financial aid comes in five or more years cycle and that the current 11th EDF funding to Sierra Leone is laid out in the National Indicative Programme signed in 2014, which is meant to support cooperation activities in the field of economic, social and human development among others.
She said the €376 million was subdivided to support governance and Civil Society with (€179m), Education (€80m), Agriculture and Food Security (€60m), Transport intervention (€43m), and support measures (€14m).
For the Education project, the Director stated that they have partnered with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and that of Ministry of Technical and Higher Education, as well as the Teacher Service Commission to decentralise authorities and build 100 schools in four selected districts including Kambia, Kenema, Bo and Pujehun.
She noted that their special intervention in the transport sector has seen the upgrading of 100km of road between Sierra Leone and Liberia and the constructions of three new bridges, adding that the construction of 33km road and four bridges between Moyamba Junction and Moyamba was also in progress and due for completion earlier next year.
She disclosed that the four bridges will include the construction of two-lane bridges over the Rokel River (Magbele Bridge) and the Ribi River (Mabang Bridge).
The Director maintained that they have not only supported the Agriculture Ministry to increase their policy making capacity, but also enhance the productivity and profitability of cashew, coacoa and coffee farming and support agricultural research through Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI).
She said similar support has also been made to Governance and Civil Society, thus making an allusion to L100 million EU support to the Centre for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL)
Earlier in his welcoming address, NAO Deputy Director, Ambrose James, said the office is responsible to facilitate the process of development cooperation between the government of Sierra Leone and the EU, with the view that the two collaborate effectively over project implementation.
He said the briefing was organised to mark the Europe Day which is observed on May 9 each year, to recognise the peace and prosperity that the EU has achieved since its formation in 1950.
He said for this year’s celebration, they organised a photo exhibition to recognise the EU’s development cooperation with the Government of Sierra Leone, under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).