By Theresa Kef Sesay
A high-level delegation from the International Monetary Fund, IMF, led by its First Deputy Managing Director, Dr David Lipton, held a fruitful meeting with His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio at State House on 28 January 2020 where head of the delegation commended his efforts of promoting human capital development.
Presenting the team, Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, said he was pleased that the New Direction Government was able to win back the confidence of the Fund after it suspended its programmes with the previous Government, adding that the country is excited with its renewed partnership with the IMF, especially in the area of its technical advice to the country.
In his statement, President Bio welcomed the visiting team by saying that Sierra Leone deserves the visit because they had worked very hard as a Government to establish a very strong relationship with the IMF. He described the Fund as one of their strongest development partners, adding that despite having inherited a very challenging economic system they were able to institute reforms that would benefit the people.
He noted that his Government had chosen Human Capital Development, which included providing free quality education, health service and agriculture, as the thrust of its development process. He said that as part of its development agenda, the Government had worked extremely hard to fight corruption, which was one of the main obstacles to development.
“The main thrust of our economic management has actually been fiscal consolidation – to make sure that we mobilise enough revenue and also manage our expenditure and we have experienced some growth. We chose Human Capital – access to food, education, and health as the main pillars to support our development. We are also working hard and creating an ecosystem that is inviting for investment,’’ he said.
In his response, Dr Lipton expressed appreciation to the Government for the hospitality accorded him and his delegation, adding that they had a shared perspective with the Government on the situation in the country. He said that his meeting with school pupils in the country showed their eagerness to learn, saying that that was an indication of Sierra Leone’s tremendous potentials.
He said that they were in the country to help offer advice and guidance and to also help the Government in its fiscal consolidation as part of their partnership with the Government. He also noted that they were ready to work with Sierra Leone to be a helpful and responsive partner and added that they were impressed with the Government’s focus on human capacity building.
Dr David Lipton has been the First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF since 2011. Prior to joining the IMF, he was Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and served as Senior Director for International Economic Affairs at the National Economic Council and the National Security Council at the White House.