The European Union has expressed satisfaction in the implementation of its funded projects in Sierra Leone by offering more direct financial support to the country. The commitment of the President of this small West African country to see through internationally funded assistance programs has been remarkable. Not only has the international stakeholders been impressed with the dynamism of the country’s leadership, they have also shown recognition of the timely completion and efficient management of funds allocated for specific projects in the country.
The EU representative in the country, in a statement at the launch of the recently completed EU-funded Masiaka/Bo Road, said it was as a result of the trust and confidence they have on the leadership of President Koroma and his government that has made the EU decide to give more financial support to Sierra Leone’s post-war development. He went further to assure President Koroma that they will continue to extend assistance to the country especially in the construction and rehabilitation of roads within the country.
In his keynote speech at the launching ceremony, the country’s Head of State, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, expressed his country’s deep gratitude to the EU for the continued financial assistance provided to his government. The president reminded his audience that on assuming office, he inherited a terrible governance structure that had at its heart, poor awarding of contracts, lawlessness, unaccountability and systemic corruption. The Head of State then went on to say that after consulting with development partners throughout the world, he established an Agenda for Change that has made a significant impact on how the country is governed.
The government’s Agenda for Change has been introduced to employ a comprehensive structural change in the implementation of government policy with greater emphasis on accountability and good governance. It has seen an overhaul of the country’s Anti-Corruption commission which has been given a more wider scope and mandate to address the issue of graft that had threatened the economic fabric of the nation. Cabinet ministers are also expected to deliver annual reports of targets set out by the presidency. There is now proper regulation and administration of a more effective revenue collection system with the establishment of a National Revenue Authority that has seen a dramatic increase in the country’s revenue collection potential.
The government has set itself economic growth targets which it is slowly implementing amidst the challenges it faces. A new tax system that consolidates existing taxes has taken off with little or no glitch. The General Services Tax (GST) has enabled a more efficient and fairer tax system that will enhance the easy administration of business accounts across the commercial industry in the country.
It is not surprising that the European Union should express outright satisfaction in the country’s leadership. At the helm of government is a determined public servant whose quest to bring change to his country has re-kindled a new spirit of national awareness and expectation. The rest of the international financial community should offer their continued support and assistance to a government that has shown its resolve in the transparent administration of its country’s finances. One couldn’t ask for more from a leader who has invited stakeholders to have a hands-on in how the country’s economy is managed! Ernest Bai Koroma has indeed set a precedence that can only be the benchmark that will ultimately define how good governance is assessed throughout the African region.
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