EDITORIAL

Will President Bio’s Performance Contract Be like Ex-President Koroma’s?

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When President Koroma launched his ‘Agenda for Prosperity’, to ensure its successful implementation, he signed performance contracts with his Ministers, telling them and heads of public agencies at a presidential retreat that delivery of this new agenda must not fail.
“The targets we set in the Agenda for Prosperity will be directly aligned to the Performance Contracts that I will sign with Ministers. My election as President was an act of performance contract signing with my employers – the people of this great nation. I must fulfil the objectives of my employment,” President Koroma affirmed.
In 2007 when he was first elected to office, President Koroma promised the people of Sierra Leone that his period in office will be marked by a new style of governance.
He said, “the key values and principles that will drive this Government and party are: transparency, openness, probity and accountability”.
To ensure that the management of all organs of state and public institutions are consistent with these values, the President said he will not only sign performance contracts with all Ministers, heads of departments and agencies, but most importantly – will publish an annual performance report.
The people of Sierra Leone are yet to see those annual performance reports – telling the people of Sierra Leone how well his Ministers are doing.
In order to achieve this, President Koroma pinned his hopes on his ministers and heads of departments to help translate his new Agenda for Prosperity into reality.
Many believe that had the President published the 2010 report on Ministers’ performance, he would have gone down in the history of Sierra Leone as the first leader to deliver what he promised.
They say that by entrusting the process in the hands of a selected few civil servants, without a broad-based national consultation – was a big mistake, and fell far short of development policy formulation best practice.
Speaking to Ministers and the Agenda for Prosperity Think-Tank at the retreat, President Koroma said:
“Many of you here present will recall that on assumption of office in 2007, I invited Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Heads of Government Agencies and other stakeholders to a retreat at Bumbuna where I outlined my priorities for my first term in office. Following the Bumbuna Retreat, we firmed up the aspirations of our people into the Agenda for Change.”
But President Koroma failed to mention that he and his APC party did not formulate that Agenda for Change.
The Agenda for Change was hurriedly put together by Tony Blair’s advisers, after Koroma had won the 2007 elections, using the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper 1 document; hence Ministers were unable to take ownership and deliver such an ambitious development program.
At his second inauguration in 2013, President Koroma said: “Drawing from the aspirations made known during the conference and determined to continue the transformation unleashed by the Agenda for Change, my Party and I, campaigned on the platform of ensuring greater transformation; we vowed to do more when re-elected; and we committed ourselves to implementing an Agenda for Prosperity.”
“With this retreat, we are continuing the process of firming up the promises we made during the elections; we are moving forward with the aspirations for the nation to become a middle income country; we are using the Agenda for Prosperity as the first five year road map towards achieving this goal.”
President Koroma told his Ministers; “If we are to become a middle-income country by 2035, we have to address the challenges. We must do more to bring down the poverty levels, reduce unemployment amongst youths and continue with the transformation in the health sector to further reduce infant mortality rates.”
“This time around, we want to ensure that the revenues from natural resources are properly managed and are utilised for the benefit of present and future generations. To that end, we will be establishing a Transformation Development Fund from the proceeds of our natural resources,” he went on.
Reminding Ministers of the important role they will play in achieving his Agenda for Prosperity, President Koroma said:
“It is important to note that we must all put greater emphasis on committed and regular collaboration and coordination among all Ministries, Departments and Agencies.”

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