June 19, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Vice president Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has spoken about government’s drive to ensuring a new strategic shift in the way foreign missions are run, staffed and managed, as well as policy focus and relevance.
According to the vice president, the government is keen to knowing what foreign missions were making in a bid to reshape and reconstruct them.
He stated that it has been agreed upon during economic management meetings, chaired by President Julius Maada Bio, for foreign missions to be able to account for what they generate with some of the monies transferred to the Ministry of Finance to facilitate their running.
Vice President Jalloh was speaking on Monday June 17, 2019 in the conference room of Golden Tulip Kimbima Hotel in Freetown during the opening of a two-day retreat organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation to develop operational policies and practices for Foreign Missions to address critical challenges.
The retreat also discussed challenges facing the ministry with solutions proffered by participants, including ambassadors on how they could be effective and efficient in the discharge of their duties and responsibilities.
“I am a victim of poorly managed missions because for anytime I travelled I have to spend part of my limited imprest to give out to some certain foreign mission staff. During our weekly economic management meetings, these are issues that have been raised and we are looking at creative means to support foreign missions,” Vice President Dr. Jalloh stated.
He spoke about the need for discussion around the professional efficiency of foreign missions with concrete steps proffered on reforms that are essentially geared towards addressing those challenges.
He said the government was thinking strongly about moving from classical African foreign missions to ones that are very strategic and benefit oriented.
Dr. Jalloh added that for every time they had the opportunity of traveling, when they get down the airport, missions staff start complaining about logistics, timely payment and utility bills, doubting whether experience sharing was organized for them on those issues.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation, Nabeela Tunis said: “We are working as a ministry to perform the mandate we have been given to perform but the critical aspect of it is the finance and we need it to fulfill that mandate.”
She said they were committed to see how they can cooperate better with other entities, including ministries, departments and agencies, adding that cooperation was key and it has to be reciprocal.
She stated that they have been having challenges with some already addressed by the finance ministry but still have few that should be discussed during the retreat for lasting solution.
She also spoke about the ministry’s task to design a foreign policy which tells clearly how the country intend to relate, as well as stands on climate change and issues of migration.
“We have also spoken about career diplomat and we are quite concern that as a country we don’t have a pool of them. We need to learn from mistakes of the past and have that critical crop of people who are going to represent our country in the global arena,” madam Tunis noted.
Finance Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa underscored the importance of the retreat for ambassadors present to know amongst other things, the government’s foreign policy.
He said most of the embassies have not been providing adequate account of monies generated from consular services.