Finance Minister Dilates on Govt’s Robust Economic Reforms

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Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa

By Amin Kef  Sesay

The Minister of Finance Jacob Jusu Saffa stated that since April 2018, the Bio led administration has implemented robust economic reforms that has increased domestic revenue generation and also strengthened expenditure management to the admiration of its international development partners.

He assured Sierra Leoneans that these funds will be used to implement programmes and projects that will impact on livelihoods to reduce poverty.

The Finance Minister noted that the World Bank recent approval of $100M support to Sierra Leone is a demonstration of confidence in the leadership of President Bio by development partners.

It must be recalled that the World Bank Group on the 17th June 2020, approved a $100 million grant to Sierra Leone for promoting sustainable and inclusive growth and building economic resilience. This windfall took place amidst the Corona pandemic and global challenge facing developing countries with Sierra Leone being no exception.

The $100 million grant is from the International Development Association (IDA) to support the Government of Sierra Leone in promoting sustainable and inclusive growth and building economic resilience. This Development Policy Financing (DPF) supports ongoing reforms to enhance macroeconomic stability, increase productivity in agriculture and fisheries, promote transparency in public procurement, and build an effective asset disclosure system to fight corruption and improve public sector accountability.

It has been ascertained that this is the first time that a grant of $100M support by the World Bank has been disbursed to the Sierra Leone Government and it came about when President Bio, visited both the President and Vice President of the World Bank in Washington where he called on them to increase the support to the country.

Gayle Martin, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone said:  “This financing will help address fiscal challenges and improve overall governance to build resilience and enhance the delivery of services to the people amidst this global COVID-19 pandemic.”

He added that Sierra Leone’s opportunities to eradicate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity rest on sustained macroeconomic stability, robust growth and a solid enabling environment for the exploitation of its abundant natural resources.

The program focuses on two primary objectives: creating the conditions for increased productivity in selected economic sectors; and improving transparency in selected Government decision making processes.

“The World Bank continues to support the Government’s commitment to tackle difficult and needed reforms to promote inclusive growth,” said Youssouf Kiendrebeogo, World Bank Senior Economist and Task Team Leader.

World Bank support has grown over the past two years which shows support to the Government of President Julius Maada Bio.

Between March to May of 2019, the World Bank has provided lot of support to the country including the $7.5 million International Development Association (IDA) grant to help towards the threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness, a $40 million International Development Association (IDA) grant to support key policy reforms to promote sustainable and inclusive growth and build economic resilience.

The World Bank has also provided $50 million International Development Association (IDA) credit for the Energy Sector Utility Reform Project (ESURP) to support improvement in the operational performance of the national electricity distribution utility.

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