September 29, 2015 By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, says there’s need to strengthen the institutional capacity of her ministry to be able to improve on service delivery to the public and create the desired impact.
Mrs. Nancy K.S. Tengbeh was giving the welcome address at the Lands Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF) report validation workshop held at Santanno House, Howe Street, Freetown on Friday, 25th September.
“Our ministry is responsible for the management and administration of land, spatial and land use planning and sound environmental management, demarcation of parcels of land country wide, among others. But unfortunately, our institutional capacity is weak to efficiently and effectively play the leadership role in all land matters,” said Mrs. Tengbeh.
She lamented the inadequate logistics including vehicles, machines, tools, technical staff with the requisite qualification and skills to undertake “this huge assignment (to carry out between twenty to fifty field assignments per day)”.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I must confess that we are very much constrained to the point of undermining our efficiency and effectiveness,” she added.
However, despite the challenges, Mrs. Tengbeh proudly said they have fully supported and participated in key land reform initiatives including the LGAF, serving as host ministry for the VGGT Secretariat, formulation of the National Land Policy (which is currently awaiting Cabinet approval), production of a draft sand mining policy, and production of a second draft of revised Town and Country Planning Act in collaboration with the Law Reform Secretariat.
“This is just how much we have put in despite our constraints. Now, just imagine how much we can do if our ministry is adequately capacitated,” she reasoned.
Going forward, Mrs. Tengbeh thanked the World Bank, FAO and other partners for their ‘solid support to nation building in Sierra Leone’ and reiterated her appeal for assistance in building the capacity of the Lands Ministry for improved public service delivery.
“I wish to inform the World Bank and other good friends that our ministry is currently putting together a concept note for assistance in the following areas:-National Land Policy Implementation, Technical Assistance to attract and retain technical expert in the ministry, capacity building, including rehabilitation, refurbishment and equipment of the surveys and lands training school, machines, equipment, tools and vehicles to facilitate the work of our ministry,” she further appealed.
Developed by the World Bank, in partnership with FAO, IFAD, IFPRI, UN Habitat and the African Union Land Policy Initiative, the LGAF is a diagnostic instrument to assess the status of land governance at the country or sub-national level using a highly participatory and country-driven process that draws systematically on local expertise and existing evidence.
The LGAF process started in December 2014 when Sierra Leone was invited to participate. Other countries had started up to 6-7 months ahead of Sierra Leone. However, among these countries, only Sierra Leone has gotten to a validation of a country synthesis report.
On behalf of government, Mrs. Tengbeh thanked the all-Sierra Leonean team of experts, comprising the country coordinator, nine experts and 44 panel members who worked on the draft document.
“You deserve a medal because you forged ahead with your job observing all protocols, despite the threats of the enemy – the Ebola epidemic. May God bless you,” she said.