Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma Friday October 9th disclosed that his government is committed to reducing our dependence on foreign aid by increasing internally generated revenue. He made this disclosure during the occasion of the State Opening of the Third Session of the Third Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone in the Chamber of Parliament Building
Tower Hill, Freetown
According to President Koroma, the National Revenue Authority is vital to revenue mobilization effort and that total revenue collected by the Authority in the first half of 2009 exceeded Le.300 billion an increase of over Le.27 billion compared to the same period last year. ‘There is no room for complacency’, he stated and further informed the nation that the Goods and Services Tax Unit of the National Revenue Authority has been strengthened, and the GST will be implemented in January 2010.
He also spoke that the project to transform the Customs and Excise department in to a modern department is in its final stage. Once completed, it is expected to minimize human influence and discretion.
Speaking on financial management reforms undertaken by his government, President Koroma said, his government continues to pursue public financial management reforms to ensure transparency and accountability. ‘Procurement plans and competitive bidding have been established in 43 MDAs in conformity with the National Procurement Act of 2004.’
He also stated that Sierra Leone needs a strong, lean, efficient and productive public service to lead our development efforts as laid out in the PRSP II and the Agenda for Change.
He said the fight against corruption has been making headways as a recent Global Corruption Barometer conducted by Transparency International indicated that 64% of Sierra Leoneans believed that the fight against corruption is effective. The government he also said has ‘prioritized the fight against corruption’ and is currently ‘implementing the National Anti-corruption Strategy’. In his two years in office. The President said, the Anti Corruption Commission has recovered over Le.3 billion mostly monies which were misappropriated between the years 2006-2007.
Speaking on the energy sector, he said, his government has formulated an energy policy with a detailed implementation plan. Along with this policy is an institutional framework that ensures a new professional planning unit, an environmental unit, and a project-management unit are established.
He spoke that his government has completed the Bumbuna Hydro Electric Project and preparations are under way for its full commissioning later this month. Plans are far advanced to ensure that towns situated along the Bumbuna line benefit from its supply.
On the health sector, President Koroma said, they have made some progress. ‘Over a thousand health facilities are now functional, a 22% increase in three years. Maternity wards have been built in Kabala, Kono, Bo and Kenema. A CAT scanner has been installed in Connaught Hospital to increase our diagnostic capabilities’. To address cases of malnutrition, he said, his government has developed an acute malnutrition programme, established more outpatient therapeutic feeding centres and treated thousands of malnourished children.
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