The Ministry of Finance (MoF) in collaboration with the World Bank has on Tuesday 15th February 2022 officially launched the Accountable Governance for Basic Services Delivery Project (AGBSDP) in a hybrid/Video Conference ceremony.
This is a $40 million IDA grant that was approved in 2021 and became effective on 25th January 2022.
The project has four components; systems and skills – USD$15.75M; local development financing – USD$19M; integrated data platforms and citizen engagement – USD$3.25M; and project management and implementation support – USD$2M.
According to World Bank Senior Public Sector Specialist, Lida Bteddini in an online presentation, this project is an added grant to improving resource management, transparency, and accountability on the governance system.
She added that the project seeks to address some issues identified as challenges to services at the local government level like fragmented institutional structures, weak coordination, limited or delay utilisation of local budget, data management systems for record-keeping, improved government ability for result and increase in public finances.
According to Lida Bteddini, the project would support public service delivery at a local level and advance key oversight mechanisms including services, feedback, and data management system, stating that a key component of the project is to improve citizens’ engagement at the local government level.
In his statement, Deputy Minister of Finance 1, Sheku F. Bangura said the project design is vast and meant to deepen the interventions in strengthening the capacity of local councils.
He added that he is delighted to launch solid and well-reformed interventions thereby touching critical areas identified as weaknesses in the effectiveness of delivery of basic services at the local level.
He added that the project has some critical support that is very crucial in building the country’s systems like the accountability structures, internal audit architecture within government, and others. Noting that even though, the project touches so many other ministries and agencies, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural should own the process in providing strong oversight within the Local Government System on delivery services across the board.
Deputy Minister Sheku Bangura added that the Ministry of Finance has played a central role in the effective coordination of all the agencies that are overseeing different components in the projects. Thereby commits the Ministry’s support the project is being executed effectively and efficiently.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Tamba Lamina appreciated the World Bank support and stated that they have been an integral part of the process.
As the supervising ministry, he noted that their system should be strengthened in monitoring the 22 local councils, especially on activities that are currently undertaken by the local councils.
The World Bank Country Manager, Abdu Muwonge said he is a firm believer of accountability, transparency, and service delivery hence the implementation of the projects.
The issue of weaknesses in the systems once tackled he said would lead to better service delivery for the citizens of Sierra Leone.
“I believe with the leadership at the Ministry of Finance and a strong steering committee we can deliver on all the components of the project in four years instead of the Six-year project timeline” he added.
Principal Deputy Financial Secretary Mathew Dingie statement on the effectiveness of the project stated that the government has met all project effectiveness conditions by recruiting core project staff through an open and competitive process and developing the annual work plan that has been approved.
He commits to the implementation of the project within the project timeline, stating that this Accountable Governance for Basic Services delivery Project is a taste case to show that government can implement a project within the project time frame.