MoF Signs Transparency MoU with Port Loko Councils

710

The Port Loko District Council and the Chiefdom Councils Revenue Platform recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for the project titled, Increasing Transparency and Accountability on Revenue Mobilization and Reporting; Case of Port Loko District Council, funded by the World Bank, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) and the Non-State Actors (NSA) National Secretariat and facilitated by Democracy and Development Associates Sierra Leone (DADA-SL).
The MOU provides the framework for Local Councils and representatives of Chiefdom Councils to work together for the development of the District. The mandate of the Joint Revenue MOU will be reviewed at the end of each year while the role of DADA-SL/Non-State Actors and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) is to provide support and monitor the two parties for effective implementation of the MOU in ensuring increase in domestic revenue mobilization and reporting for more effective service delivery at community level.
The platform will be governed by the following principals: neutrality and impartiality, mutual respect, openness, discretion, participation in flat form activities, inclusion, diversity and support to strengthen the capacity of Council.
Furthermore, all stakeholders should openly share information that contributes to the effective mobilization of revenue, reporting, planning and monitoring of development initiatives and processes in the District, jointly assess the progress of the implementation of the Local Councils and Chiefdom Development Plans and progress on revenue generation.
Also, Local Councils and Chiefdom Councils to co-chair the Revenue Accountability Platform meetings on rotational basis with backup from DADA-SL/Non-State Actors and other CSOs within the District.
Chiefdom Councils and CSOs/NSAs should submit quarterly and/or annual activity plans and budgets for inclusion into council’s development plan.
The introduction of decentralization after 36 years saw the need for the establishment of Local Government structures to champion all development programs/activities at the same time to further coordinate all development partners’ intervention at the district level and municipalities as enshrined in the Local Government Act of 2004.
The Act places significant responsibilities on Local Councils in service delivery. This is done through the preparation and implementation of a Local Council budget, one of the most important processes of governance undertaken by Councils.
The MOU is for Local Councils in Port Loko District to post their financial statements on notice boards, make public monthly Council meetings, consult residents before approving and or reviewing development plans and more importantly to make council budgets a public document.
The project titled, Increasing Transparency and Accountability on Revenue Mobilization and Reporting; Case of Port Loko District Council, funded by the World Bank, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) and the Non State Actors (NSA) National Secretariat.
The MOU was established by the chiefdom councils of Bake Loko/Marforki, Lokomasama/Kamasondo and Kaffubulom Chiefdom Councils and Port Loko District Council, facilitated by Democracy and Development Associates-Sierra Leone (DADA-SL), in a bid to strengthen synergies, collaborations and partnership ties among and between the different councils in the areas of local tax and market dues collection and reporting, both at chiefdom and district levels.
The Executive Director of DADA-SL, Mr. Foday D.M. Sesay, lamented that the MOU is a relevant tool and mechanism that both partners would bank on as reference document which has clearly defined respective roles and responsibilities in revenue generation including other important portions that have more ingredients that provides the basis for including added value into the local tax and market dues collection within Port Loko District.
He assured the public and government that from the commitments obtained from the diverse duty bearers targeted by the project, Port Loko District Council and its allied chiefdoms have the potential to realize and enhance more cooperation and compliance of local tax and market dues payment this 2019 Financial Year.
The Executive Director concluded by acknowledging and thanking the World Bank, the Government of Sierra Leone, through the PFMICP Department of the Ministry of Finance and the Non-State Actors Component National Secretariat, the District NSAs of Port Loko, the Local and Chiefdom Councils of the project targeted Chiefdoms/communities, the media, the former Clerk of Parliament (currently CEO for Concern for Accountability), Mr. Ibrahim Sesay, the Local Government Finance Department of the Ministry of Finance, the respective Service Providers and the entire Board of Directors, management and staff of DADA-SL for their unflinching support and cooperation provided during the implementation of the NSA Grant project.
According to the Executive Director of DADA-SL, Mr. Foday Sesay, this transparency process of involving citizens is not properly carried out by Local and Chiefdom Councils although some efforts have been made underscoring that a lot more needs to be done to close the gaps.
He furthered that this lacuna has affected the revenue generation drive of Councils affirming that it is a now a prerequisite in the recently enacted Finance Act for an increase in local revenue generation in addition to bringing onboard the budget process for Chiefdom Councils as they are mandated to intensify revenue mobilization.
He continued that if the new Finance Act is fully adhered to by Councils, it would contribute to effective service delivery and financial prudence in addition to community ownership and project sustainability.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here