The Minister of Finance Mr. Dennis K. Vandi has stated that the focus of the FY2022 budget would be to consolidate and complete all ongoing priority projects especially, those that have to do with roads, bridges, hospitals, water, energy, and human capital development programs in education and health.
He made this disclosure during the Financial Year 2022 policy hearing process that is going on at the Ministry’s main conference hall, George Street, Freetown.
He further discouraged submissions of new projects from Ministries Departments and agencies when ongoing projects have not been completed. He emphasized the challenges procurement of goods and services has been posing on the management of the scarce resources of the Country.
According to him, MDA’s should be mindful and have a re-look and re-think in creating extra-budgetary expenditures, he warned that MoF will not issue a certificate of approval to any MDA to enter into a new contract until unfinished programs/projects are completed.
“To support reliable and credible financing of the 2023 general Elections in the fulfillment of government commitment to implement recommendations of the elections observer report, the MoF with support from the National Electoral Commission has established an Election Basket Fund at the Bank of Sierra Leone to support the timely provision of funds to meet elections-related activities,” Mr. Vandi revealed.
He urged all revenues generating MDA’s to liaise with the MoF and NRA in the drafting of the 2022 Finance Bill to incorporate the relevant charges to tax rates, fees charged, and fines that would increase the tax revenue collection rate.
As the government is striving towards achieving the Abuja declaration of 15% of expenditure on health, during their presentation, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation desires Le 774 billion to continue its ongoing Public Investments Programs (PIP) across the Country.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. S.M Kenneh said that the ministry has spent more on the National Emergency Medical Services (NEMS) compared to what was budgeted for, noting that this cannot be compared to the expenditure in 2020, added that NEMS has responded to 15,000 calls within 8 months of service provision and that a total of 84 ambulances have been distributed and are actively used, with a backup of 16 ambulances (1 per district).
He highlighted some of the PIP Priority projects for 2022 which include: The Kerry Town Warehouse of 7000m2 of high-end storage space and the National Emergency Medical service response.
He updated the gathering on the key deliverables and achievements for 2021, which are the UHC road maps that were launch, school health policy, free health care initiative expanded to include nutrition items among others.
He further that a bill has been drafted by the law officers Department and public consultations on the draft bill have been completed and an electronic tracing of pregnant women which is a joint deliverable with DSTI has been instituted.
The Ministry of Basic and Senior School Education (MBSSE) is also desiring Le 57,496 Billion for FY2022.
According to the Ministry, in FY2022, they are focusing on deliverables like the development and approval of the new Education Act, operationalize the School Fees utilization and school approval policy, develop a new West Africa Examination council ACT, develop National Programme for post-birth support to pregnant girls, Construct three Hostels for girls in three districts, establish additional Learning Centres for literacy programs, develop and roll out the Senior Secondary Education Curriculum and syllabuses, equip additional schools with science laboratories, strengthen education service delivery through staff capacity building and additional recruitment and phase out double schooling in some selected schools.
The FY 2022 budget discussions will continue till 4th October 2021 and the FY 2022 budget is expected to be read in parliament in early November.