IGR Critiques Pres. Bio’s Year of Delivery

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By Amin Kef Sesay

The Institute of Governance Reform (IGR) has taken a critical look at President’s Bio declaration of 2020 as a Year of delivery, first looking at the performance indicators. The organization stated that despite the emphasis on a “Year of Delivery” the performance targets Bio expects MDAs to deliver this year are unknown to the public (and perhaps unknown to some members of the administration).

IGR maintains that it remain clueless as to what results to expect from the Le9 Trillion investment this year, as well as the criteria for punishing and rewarding public servants across the delivery chain.

According to the organization, they are suggesting ways for Government to move beyond the rhetoric of year of delivery, partnering with citizens for concrete results, and working to reduce dependency on foreign aid. It said to do so, Government must tell ordinary Sierra Leoneans what is meant by delivery, so they know what to look for and how to measure it.

“Commitment to effective service delivery provides the opportunity for the Government to reach beyond its base; an improvement in development outcomes will be a win-win for all,” they asserted.

IGR underscored that to ground the abstract construct of delivery, they will discuss two sectors (agriculture and sanitation) just  to illustrate what delivery means to ordinary Sierra Leoneans.

“We argue that for delivery to occur President Bio should be courageous enough to dismantle the rent seeking infrastructure in MDAs and publicly declare resources provided to institutions as well as their performance targets,” the institution suggested adding that where performance targets and allocated resources are unclear, it will be
difficult to rally citizens around the laudable goal to manage meagre
resources to achieve better outcomes, moving citizens and parties out
of a blame game mentality.

Presenting critical perspectives of governance, IGR  said in almost all Government sectors in Sierra Leone, financial investment increased in the last 10 years yet productivity levels are significantly lower than the years before the war. For instance, Government of Sierra Leone and its donor partners spent at least US$60 million per annum on agriculture between 2009 to 2019 yet productivity levels for rice stands at 1.13 million tonnes in 2018 compared to 2.7 million tonnes per annum in 1970.

It went on to disclose that the same underperformance is reflected in investments in education and health where Sierra Leone is reporting some of the worst human development indicators in the world.

“In spite of these challenges, a blame game between the two major parties has persistently prevented elites from taking the country’s problems in their hands and tackling the root causes of State failure and underperformance, with blame shifting as power changes hands. Since SLPP assumed power in 2018, they consistently pushed the logic that ‘the opposition APC is collectively guilty for the state of Sierra Leone, while the ruling SLPP is collectively innocent,” it highlighted.

It said the reverse was the case under APC rule a few years ago stating that 2020 provides an opportunity to make a break with the past.

IGR stated that President Bio declared at the opening of the third Cabinet Retreat at the Bintumani Conference that 2020 is a Year of Delivery and called on Ministers and civil servants to focus on results.

“However, despite  it has been five weeks since the big declaration of a ‘ Year of Delivery’ unless concrete steps are taken to change business as usual, with true commitment to attacking partisan politics and policies that enrich the few, this new buzzword will yield little, like many others by past Presidents (Agenda for Change; Agenda for Prosperity),” it cautioned.

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