As Economic Dev. Minister Closes International Conference…  North-West Region Benefits from MoPED Engagement  

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Minister of Economic Development and Planning Dr. Francis Kai-Kai & hosts of other members

By Edward Vamboi

Officially the Minister of Economic Development and Planning Dr. Francis Kai-Kai closed the 3-day International Conference on Financing Social Protection at the Radisson Blu Hotel on 23 January 2020. The conference brought together decision makers and professionals from the private sector, academia and government.

It was geared towards bringing to the fore the importance of investing in social protection and also learning from other countries with best practices on harmonized or single registry, targeting and payment mechanism.

Dr. Suleiman Braimoh, Country Representative, UNICEF highlighted the support of UNICEF together with the World Bank in the safety net program targeting at the extremely poor population; noting that since 2013, the program reached about 30,000 households in 9 districts of which 95 percent of the beneficiaries are women. He said UNICEF, as a leading global partner on social protection will continue to work with Government and partners to translate social protection goals into laws and policies, generate evidence on child poverty and vulnerability and the impact of social protection programs on children and communities.

The Minister of State, Office of the Vice-President, Mrs Frances Alghali noted that social protection covers the range of policies and programs needed to reduce the lifelong consequences of poverty and exclusion. She said UNICEF, World Bank and other partners have demonstrated leadership in fighting economic hardship and social exclusion.

The Commissioner of NaCSA, Abu Kokofele, who doubled as the host, applauded attendants for developing recommendations that will help strengthen social protection laws and policies in the country. Mr Kokofele said that going forward the Government will always remain steadfast in addressing components of social protection in Sierra Leone.

Delivering the keynote address, the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai recognized all the key players, especially dignitaries from other countries for coming to share valuable experiences in the area of social protection. He said the conference always had a historic touch in bringing together thinkers and policy makers to address inequalities through social protection policies and actions. He confirmed that social protection will be a key issue to be discussed in the cabinet retreat in the coming days.

Minister Kai-Kai emphasized that the Government of President Dr. Julius Maada Bio is strongly committed to promoting community-based, demand-driven and sustainable social and economic activities leading to the alleviation of poverty.

“We have had different development plans, as a country that has over the years contributed to social protection programs. We will continue to operate as a viable and exemplary Government that will facilitate an efficient and effective pro-poor service delivery and good project governance, which ensures meaningful engagements and personalization of benefits of development by citizens especially vulnerable groups, as well as inspire the trust and confidence of other stakeholders in the country’s development endeavours,” Dr. Kai-Kai said.

Launching the three (3) documents, which include: (I) The Social Protection Policy, (II) The Social Transfer Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan and (III) The Fiscal Space Analysis and Business Case for Social Protection, Dr. Kai-Kai ended by recognizing the importance of the recommendations enshrined in the documents; stating its relevance to the socio-economic growth of the country.

In another development the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) on 24 January 2020 engaged key stakeholders together with representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and development partners to discuss the Zero Draft National Public Investment Management Policy (NPIMP) at the Port Loko District Council in Port Loko.

The consultation is aimed at reviewing the draft NPIMP, including streamlining the roles and responsibilities of key public investment actors, define the public investment cycle and design appraisal tools to guide and direct public investment decision making in Sierra Leone.

In his courtesy, the Deputy Development Secretary, MoPED, Umaru Conteh expressed his appreciation to participants for their participation; noting their efforts and commitments to ensuring Government addresses challenges that have over the years undermined efficiency in addressing the infrastructural challenges and gaps in the Public Investments sector.

Mr. Conteh stated that the National Public Investment Management Policy (NPIMP) when developed intends to assist the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) in identifying, selecting, financing, implementing and evaluating public investments projects/programmes in all sectors.

Addressing participants, the Director of Public Investment Management Department, MoPED, Alpha Bangura reiterated the significance of the consultation process; emphasizing that the preliminary consultative process will set the stage for MDAs to meaningfully contribute in developing a National Public Investment Policy that will reflect a national perspective on public investments across all sectors.

“In 2013, the Public Investment Management Unit (PIMU) was set up at MoFED to facilitate coordination, synergies, efficiency and effectiveness of public investment that will advance government priorities, ensure value for public money and promote socio-economic development,” he said

Mr. Bangura noted that the process will further cultivate transparency and accountability, ensuring ownership of the document when developed. He stated that the policy when developed will comply with the structural bench marks of development partners.

Welcoming discussants, the Paramount Chief, Mambolo Chiefdom, Kambia District, PC Bai Shebora Lion gracefully welcomed participants and assured them of their fullest support to the process.

Making his statement, Host Chairman, Port Loko District Council, Ibrahim S. Bangura expressed his appreciation to the process and noted that the NPIMP was timely and covered a range of policies and projects needed to increase economic growth and development opportunities. He recognized the efforts of Government, noting some challenges within the region and requesting a new dimension in the implementation of projects in their localities.

In his presentation, the Consultant, Osman Kamara, who gave an overview of the zero draft policy, noted that the process will be participatory and include valuable inputs and contributions from all relevant stakeholders. Mr. Kamara said the policy intends to provide the enabling environment for improved public sector management and private sector participation in public investments to ensure increased opportunities for economic growth and development.

The developed Policy is expected to be a guide that interfaces with other Government policies to ensure a robust and integrated system in the processing and delivering of public projects.

 

 

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