By Foday Moriba Conteh
With the European Union’s financial support, District Councils in Sierra Leone’s predominantly rural areas are rolling out a new administration system to manage cadastres. New cadastre technologies offer ways to make land tenure more secure and economic activity more productive, thereby enhancing accountability, transparency and trust between the local authorities and the communities.
The system will enhance the sustainability of District Councils’ economic governance. It will help to deliver essential social services to local communities as a core objective of the EU’s investments in Sierra Leone.
This is especially true in extractive industries, such as mining and forestry.
This new innovative approach is already yielding fruits for district councils. Pujehun District Council’s new cadastral system increased revenue from 600 million Leones in 2019 to 1.24 billion in 2021. By the end of 2022, revenue increased by half over again, to 1.6 billion Leones.
The Council has already started investing this revenue into social services such as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities, market rehabilitation, and reconstruction of feeder roads in the district.
“The financial and technical contribution of the EU has aided the Pujehun District Council’s efforts to increase revenue. With the Cadastre system, the Council’s revenue has increased to over 1 billion old Leones. The Council is now projecting that in 2023, it will increase revenue to more than 2 billion old Leones. We always appreciate the EU’s support, which has helped to increase revenue significantly,” said Finance Officer, Sulaiman Kain.
The cadastre management system also supports efforts to strengthen governing capacity in the District Councils. Where previously councils would have struggled to oversee activities like mining, they will perform their oversight role more effectively with improved land and property management systems. Better district management of land and natural resources will lead to more inclusive, transparent and accountable economic activity that can be harnessed to generate revenue for investment in social services.
The EU is deeply committed to supporting this continuing build-up of local governing capacity with decentralization of decision-making through its Support to Civil Society and Local Authorities for the Local Development Programme in Sierra Leone.